The National Debate about Kansas
Kansas Territory was officially established in 1854 with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
Congressional debate on the act continued discussion of the question of whether or not slavery would be allowed to expand into newly opened territories. The act provided that each territory would decide the issue through the constitution under which it would enter the union. Kansas Territory, because of its proximity to Missouri, a slave state, became a political and literal battleground for pro- and antislavery forces. Contested elections, armed conflict, and recruitment of and support for settlers from both the North and the South contributed to the label of “Bleeding Kansas.” But just as importantly, the battle for Kansas was waged in the halls of Congress, the national press, and just about anywhere in the country where people gathered to discuss or debate the issues of the day. All of this increased the tensions between the North and the South, which eventually led to the outbreak of the Civil War.
Territorial Kansas Online: 1854-1861
Kansas State Historical Society
Kansas Collection, University of Kansas
This exhibition highlights the scholarship and resources of the University of Kansas in partnership with the Kansas State Historical Society and the Spencer Museum of Art.
KU Libraries is honored to highlight the work of its partners and of KU scholars.
1861 | Kansas from Statehood to Civil War
February 4 through April 1, 2011