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Kansas - Nebraska Act / Bleeding Kansas / John Brown

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Jason Symes

on 7 April 2014

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Transcript of Kansas - Nebraska Act / Bleeding Kansas / John Brown

Kansas-Nebraska Act
Popular Sovereignty

Border Ruffians
Free Soilers
Pro Slavery
View From the South
Charles Sumner
Massachusetts Senator
...our principal duty was to keep watch and ward over the river and stop all passing steamboats to search them for Free Soilers and their arms. Those that did not stop when ordered were promptly brought to by a field battery we had posted on the river, commanding the passage. All suspected Free Staters were taken out and kept under guard, and of course all their arms were confiscated.

Our excuse for this rather high-handed proceeding was that " The Massachusetts Emigrants' Aid Society," with great resources at its back, was pouring men and arms into Kansas, with the avowed object of conquering and dominating the Territory, by fair means or foul, for the Free State party.

Southern Response to Charles Sumner
It leaves the subject of slavery where every other local question is left - - in the hands of the people directly interested. If they elect to have slavery, the responsibility is with them. If they elect not to have it, they in like manner set upon their own responsibility. -- But whatever their decision may be, it cannot be rightfully interfered with by any other power.
The honor of the South, therefore, cannot be trusted where the interests of Slavery are involved, because on such occasions the voice of honor and truth is always silenced by the clamor of low, brutal and selfish passions.
But the wickedness which I now begin to expose is immeasurably aggravated by the motive which prompted it. Not in any common lust for power did this uncommon tragedy have its origin. It is the rape of a virgin Territory, compelling it to the hateful embrace of Slavery; and it may be clearly traced to a depraved longing for a new slave State, the hideous offspring of such a crime, in the hope of adding to the power of slavery in the National Government.
At Lawrence about a thousand Missourians took possession of the polls & threatened to hang one of the judges who was formerly from Missouri but antislavery if he refused to take their votes & he refused to serve at all. ...leaving the field to our enemies & they all voted who chose –No free soil man could get near the polls till late in the day when a few of our men voted –
Where should slavery be allowed in the new territories. Missouri Compromise had previously excluded slavery from LA Purchase lands north of the 36'30 line of latitude. Did the federal government have the power to determine where people could or could not bring their property?
Popular Sovereignty is literally the people
have the power. In this case the theory was that the people of the Kansas and Nebraska Territories should decide for themselves whether slavery should be allowed or banned in their states.
The compromise was crafted by Stephen Douglass,
a northern senator with the southern senators. In
exchange for opening up the possibility of slavery
in the Nebraska and Kansas territories, he secured
the promise that a railroad from the east to the west
would start in Chicago, rather than the southern
preference of New Orleans.
View of the North
New York Tribune Editorial (14 January 1854)

Detroit Free Press, “Slavery in the New Territories” (15 January 1854)

Charles Sumner's "The Crime Against Kansas" (may 1856)

On May 22, Preston Brooks, cousin of Butler and Congressman from South Carolina entered the Senate chambers, outraged by Sumner's words. Brooks proceeded to violently attack Sumner, beating him mercilessly with a cane. When the attack finally ended, Sumner was badly injured.
Excerpt from With the Border Ruffians: Memories of the Far West, 1852-1868 by R.H. Wilson (1908)

Free Soilers
But I must close, for want of time - Can not your Secret Society send us 200 of Sharps rifles as a loan till this question is settled? also a couple of field pieces? – If they will do that I think they will be well used & preserved.
Letter from Charles Robinson to Eli Thayer Concerning Voting Irregularities of Territorial Legislative Body (April 2, 1855)

John Brown
Out of the conflict in Kansas, comes a character who believes in his religious principles so strongly concerning the wrongs of slavery that he sees violent uprising as the only cure for the disease of slavery upon our nation
"I, John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood."
"Caution, Sir! I am eternally tired of hearing that word caution. It is nothing but the word of cowardice!"
"If it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments-I submit; so let it be done."
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