ROAD TO CIVIL WAR!

 

Back to the Interactive Road to Civil War Timeline

 

 

 

The Kansas Nebraska Act seemed fair to many people at the time.  After all, it was the democratic way of doing things by allowing the people in a particular territory to vote on whether or not they want to permit slavery.  However; the Kansas Nebraska Act created a powder keg out of which violence would be spawn.
     Kansas would soon vote to answer their own slavery question; however Kansas would become a testing ground to see if popular sovereignty could work and a precursor to the Civil War.  People who were both Abolitionists and Pro-Slavery began to move to Kansas for the sole purpose of voting in the election and furthering their point of view.  Abolitionist organizations in New England purchased land for those willing to move to Kansas and vote against slavery.  Likewise, many pro-slavery people from Missouri began to move to Kansas simply to vote for slavery in the election.

     In 1855, the election was held in Kansas.  There were only 2,000 people in Kansas eligible to vote, but when the votes where counted there were over 6,000 votes cast.  Hundreds of people form Missouri called Border Ruffians, crossed the border simply to vote in the election.  The governor of Missouri organized "daytrips" for his citizens to pack a lunch, cross the border into Kansas, vote for slavery, and return home that night.  President Pierce did nothing to resolve the election improprieties.  

     The pro-slavery group claimed to have won the election and set up a government in Lecompton.  The anti-slavery or "Free Soilers" group claimed that the election had been illegal and set up another government in Topeka.  Kansas now had two governments with both claiming to be in charge.  As a result, for the next 10 years prior to the Civil War, these two governments would fight a mini-civil war within "Bleeding Kansas".

     During the conflict, free soilers and pro-slavery groups attacked and killed on another.  At one point a pro-slavery mob attacked and burned the city of Lawrence.  Another more famous battle is associated with an abolitionist named John Brown.  Brown and his men raided a pro-slavery town called Pottawatomie Creek where Brown was said to have hacked 5 people to death with a broad sword.  The pro-slavery retaliation for this event later that summer cost the lives of over 200 abolitionists.

     In the end over ????? people were killed in Bleeding Kansas.  Eventually a federal governor and federal troops were brought in to enforce an uneasy peace.  Bleeding Kansas was a preview of the violence and the carnage that was to come during the Civil War.