• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What was the short term significance of settlement in Kansas in the 1850s and 1860s?

Extracts from this document...


What was the short term significance of settlement in Kansas in the 1850s and 1860s? The USA had become divided over the 'great issue of the age', the issue of slavery. Slavery first caused divisions on a political level which then seeped, like a virus, out across America to become a serious social issue. In the 1850s and 1860s the events which transpired in the Kansas territory echoed throughout America and signified the beginning of the bleakest moment in the country's history; the American Civil War. Kansas showed the first signs of physical violence between Northern and Southern Americans. Furthermore it was Kansas' admission into the Union that would upset the balance of power within Congress, thus emphasising the enormity of the short term significance of the settlement in Kansas. The American Congress became more and more divided by the power struggle between the North and the South over the major issue of the age, this was the significant problem of slavery. 'From morning to night, day after day, and week after week, nothing can get a hearing that will not afford an opportunity to lug in something about Negro slavery...'1. This rift in politics was particularly problematic when it came to deciding whether Kansas should become a 'Slave State' or a 'Free State'. Senator Douglas proposed the Kansas-Nebraska Bill in 1854; this proposed that the slave status of Kansas would be decided by popular sovereignty, therefore revoking the Missouri Compromise of 1820. ...read more.


'Whatever apologies may be offered for the toleration of slavery in the States, none can be offered for its extension in the Territories where it does not exist. Let us all protest loudly, by whatever was may seem suitable against this enormous crime.'6 Had the Independent Democrats succeeded in preventing the bill and found a new method of dealing with Kansas they may have been successful in, at least, preventing the violence within Kansas and possibly even preventing the Civil war that followed. However, this was far from achieved. Douglas' bill, that aimed to create a fair state, merely divided America further and created enormous tensions both politically and socially over the settlement of Kansas. An event of serious significance caused by the settlement within Kansas was the bloodshed that came from the splitting of the governances and the conflict within the territory, the major bloodshed took place between 1854 and 1857, this was known as 'Bleeding Kansas'. This was of such high significance as it showed that the American people were willing to kill for their cause. Bleeding Kansas was, in effect, a mirror image of the American Civil War that was to soon follow, only on a smaller scale. The violence and hatred that was displayed within Kansas ruined both the economy and what little hope there had been for political unification. Kansas was torn apart by the fierce fighting that took place within its borders. ...read more.


The settlement, or rather lack of settlement, of Kansas was extraordinarily significant both socially and politically. The Unions inability to create an effective means of implicating Kansas as a free or slave state led to the mass influx of outsiders into the area which flared the hatred of the Northerners and Southerners. Furthermore, it showed signs of America becoming sectionalised as two opposing constitutions were formed within the territory. The events also highlighted the fragility of the Union and consequently led to the collapse of it. Above all the events within Kansas were highly significant for foretelling what would soon unfold across America. 1 Taken from 'The American Destiny volume 6 'A house divided', page 91 2 Taken from 'The Kansas-Nebraska Act: A Century of Historiography' Vol. 43, No. 2 (Sep., 1956), pp. 187 3 Sumner's "The Barbarism of Slavery" Speech - June 4, 1860 http://dotcw.com/sumner%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cthe-barbarism-of-slavery%E2%80%9D-speech-june-4-1860/ 4 Sumner's "The Barbarism of Slavery" Speech - June 4, 1860 http://dotcw.com/sumner%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cthe-barbarism-of-slavery%E2%80%9D-speech-june-4-1860/ 5 Transcript of Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) Located 02/03/11 http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=old&doc=28&page=transcript 6 From 'The American Civil War and its Origins, 1848-65 Third edition', page 76. Written by, Alan Farmer Hodder Murray. 7 From 'The Atlantic Monthly Volume 0001 Issue 4 (February 1858)' Title 'Review of the Kansas Usurpation [pp. 492-500] 8'Bleeding Kansas' Located 10/03/2011 http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h84.html 9 Farmer, Alan 'The American Civil War and its origins 1848-65' page 55. 10 Picture from 'The American Destiny' volume 6 'A House Dividing' page 103 Commager HS 11 Taken from 'The American Destiny' Volume 6 'A House Divided', page 104 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 essays

  1. Describe the methods used by the Abolitionist movement in their campaign against slavery in ...

    He also brought the issue of anti-slavery forwards. A much more practical abolitionist was Harriet Tubman. She wasn't as concerned with how to deal with the problem of slavery in the future, as helping slaves there and then. She herself was an escaped slave, and she devised an organised system of helping slaves to escape - 'The Underground Railroad'.

  2. Why had Slavery become so Important to the Southern way of life, by 1860?

    The cotton industry soon outstripped all other plantation crops of economical importance. Slave labour did not only benefit the slave owners economically, but also the slave traders. During the 16th and 19th centuries according to the best current estimates a total of 10 to 11 million slaves crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

  1. Assess the significance of the influence of internal migration on social and political tensions ...

    'The Border Ruffians were widely applauded in the South... In the North the murders committed by Brown and his followers were ignored by most and lauded by a few.'3 These events were symbolic of what would soon occur across

  2. What in your view was the short term significance of Malcolm X?

    This showed that Malcolm X was gaining more support, and this in turn was helping the civil rights movement to advance further. Although this source may be bias, Alex Haley being fond of Malcolm X says himself how as a young writer he was very interested by X and was in his words 'bordered on fascination'.

  1. Revision notes - the USA 1945 to 1980

    political history. defeating Senator George McGovern and garnering over 60% of the popular vote. Watergate The one thing that Nixon will be remembered for long after his successes are forgotten is the Watergate scandal. The term Watergate has since been used to describe a huge amount of illegal and secret activities undertaken by Nixon or his aides during his administration.

  2. Why did Lincoln's election in 1860 lead to Civil War in 1861?

    One could claim it was because they felt it was pointless, or more cynically, because the South could then claim with more legitimacy that they were being ruled by a completely foreign government. The exclusion of Lincoln from many ballot papers, however, could be used as evidence when arguing the case that secession was inevitable after Lincoln's election.

  1. Missouri Compromise 1820.

    Robinson says " The Two things that are most despised and hated in the South are masters that abuse and starve and ill-treat their slaves, and abolistionists, who sieze upon every isolated case of the kind..." As stated before, abolitionist kept on exagerateing the slave situation in order to attempt

  2. What was the short term significance of Malcolm X?

    quote was to stop further support for the black panthers.Furthermore Malcolm's quotes are perhaps contradictory when he spoke at different times, for example in one quote he claims he is not racist "I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism"7and in another he says, "The common enemy is the white man"8.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work