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Women of bleeding Kansas
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In 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Kansas Territory was opened to settlement, and the those that emigrated to populate it would decide if it was to become a slave state. This popular sovereignty caused many struggles for power in the early history of the state. As Free-State antislavery emigrants began to travel to Kansas from the Northern United States, Missouri and other slaveholding Southern states responded, staking claims in Kansas Territory. Both sides intended to win at the ballot box, and widespread vote tampering and border skirmishes give this period in the state’s history the title of Bleeding Kansas. While the role of Kansas in the antebellum years is often cited in Civil War historical scholarship, Women who came to Kansas during the period have been overlooked. Traveling both from the North and South, they traded their homes and comforts for a new life and new struggles. The examination of these women’s lives and contributions can only serve to enhance the historical record. The historical record offers many diaries, letters and published books written by women who came to Kansas as Free-State supporters. These sources, along with more limited examples from Missouri women, offer insight to the role that the Women of Bleeding Kansas occupied. Ultimately, this research attempted to examine the lives of women in Kansas during the period, and identify and assign meaning and importance to their struggle. Women were an important part of the struggle for Kansas. Kansas entered the Union in 1861 as a Free State, due it part to the real contributions made by Kansas women.
Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Dept. of History
Includes bibliographic references (leaves 106-110)