Bleeding Kansas

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History 201

In this paper I will point out some events leading to Bleeding Kansas, one of the cruelest wars in history. I would also like to include some facts about John Brown, an abolitionist who led his men to the Border Wars, which caused $400,000 worth of damage. I will also explain several wars that occurred leading up to the American Civil War. After reading my research paper readers will have a better understanding of the violence that occurred during these crucial times in Kansas.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 set the scene by allowing the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska to decide by popular sovereignty, an idea advocated by US Senator Stephan A. Douglas, if they would be free or slave states. The government assumed that few slave owners would attempt to settle in Kansas and make it a slave state, because it was thought to be too far north for profitable exploitation of slaves. Instead, it resulted in immigration to Kansas by activists from both sides, which began the bloody wars of slavery which lasted from 1854 to 1858.

In October 1855, John Brown traveled to Kansas territory to fight slavery. November 21, 1855 the “Wakarusa War” began when Charles Dow, a free-stater, was shot by a pro-slavery settler. May 21, 1856 a group of Border Ruffians entered the Free-State town of Lawrence, where they burned the Free-State Hotel, destroyed homes, stores, two newspaper offices, and their printing presses in an effort to wipe out this “hotbed of abolitionism.” The next day Republican Senator Charles Sumner was brutally attacked by Democratic Congressman Preston Brooks as a result from Sumner’s fiery speech called “The Crime Against Kansas.”

These acts inspired John Brown to lead a group of men into the Kansas Territory on an attack at a pro-slavery settlement at Pottawatomie Creek. Here, John Brown and his men dragged five pro-slavers out of their homes and hacked them to death. John Brown had the opportunity...
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