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Bleeding Kansas & the Missouri Border War

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Come on, then, gentlemen of the slave states. Since there is no escaping your challenge, we accept it in the name of freedom. We will engage in competition for the virgin soil of Kansas, and God give the victory to the side which is stronger in numbers, as it is in right.


-- Senator William Seward, on the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, May 1854





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What an interesting piece of history to explore! Did you know that most historians believe that the Civil War began as a result of what has become known as "Bleeding Kansas?" When the Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed the Kansas Territory to be settled and eventually become a state, there were a lot of people who fervently believed that by the state becoming a "Free-State," the tides could be turned in the ongoing issue between pro-slavery advocates and abolitionists. No sooner had the territory been approved for settlement when eastern anti-slavery groups began to populate the area with supporters. Alternately, southern supporters saw the same opportunity and a flood of pro-slavery supporters rushed in from nearby states, especially Missouri.

What is even more interesting was doing the research for this article. Upon visiting the site of the Mine Creek Civil War Battle, we were told that the hostilities between Missouri and Kansas still exist to this day, albeit to a much lesser degree. Though Legends of America is based in Missouri, we are not native to the area and were surprised to hear this. However, when we began to do our research on this fascinating story, we found evident disparities, where the sentiments of the Civil War  generation have been passed down for well over a century.

For instance, when doing an internet search, you will get a very different story when searching for "Bleeding Kansas" than you will get if you search on "Missouri Civil War ." Many of the books that are available are no different. Though most lean toward the Kansas side of the conflict due to its anti-slavery sentiment, Missouri cannot be ignored in its contribution to history and its heavy losses during the Civil War . Officially, a Union State, Missouri was internally divided between its pro-slavery sentiments and its obligation as a Union State. Never officially entering the Civil War , Missouri fought its own internal battles between the Federal Officers and its own State Forces.

Even when we visit the historical sites of Kansas and Missouri, we get a different impression in the "telling." Kansas sites will focus on the great battle of Mine Creek, where the Union Forces won the skirmish against the Confederates at immense odds; the Lawrence Massacre by Quantrill's Raiders, or, upon John Brown, the fanatic abolitionist, and his actions to defeat the Missouri Bushwhackers.

In Missouri we heard the stories of the burning of Osceola by Lane's Kansas Brigade, the attack upon the Missouri building that killed many innocent women and children, and the forcible evacuation of Kansas City area counties that displaced many Missourians and turned the area into a desolate "No Mans Land."


The "war" between Kansas and Missouri began almost immediately when Kansas was opened for settlement in 1854, seven years before the Civil War  officially began. No doubt, both sides were ugly -- it was a "war" between people that had strong opposing sentiments and lifestyles at stake.

Here, you will read both sides of the story. 

P.S. This is not a short snippet -- but the full story with several pages. Put on your reading glasses and hunker down!




Continued Next Page





Related Articles:


Bleeding Kansas/Missouri Border War Timeline

Battle at Fort Blair

Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence, Kansas

General Order #11 - Devastating Northwest Missouri

Jesse James - Member of Quantrill's Raiders

Lawrence, Kansas - From Ashes to Imortality

Lawrence Massacre

The Sacking of Lawrence, Kansas

William Quantrill - Renegade Leader of the Missouri Border War

William Quantrill - The Man, the Myth, the Soldier by Paul R. Petersen




Bleeding Kansas

Jayhawkers and Bushwackers fight it out over Kansas

becoming a Free-State or a pro-slavery state.


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