OT: “Bleeding Kansas: Where the Civi l War Began”
“Bleeding Kansas: Where the Civil War Began”
From the Kansas Humanities Council Website
A Festival of Learning
Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Kansas Territory June 2004
Why Commemorate the 150th Anniversary?
From Bleeding Kansas to Brown v. Topeka, Kansas has played a central role in the struggle for human dignity and national identity.
In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act opened the territory for white settlement and gave settlers the right to vote on whether the Kansas Territory would enter the Union as free or slave state. The eyes of the nation turned to Kansas, and the territory became the first battleground for the issues and ideas that eventually engulfed the nation. The state motto "Ad Astra Per Aspera" aptly describes the seven-year struggle that led to Kansas entering the Union as a free state in January 1861.
The 150th anniversary provides opportunity for deeper and broader interpretation of that turbulent and important period. Kansans—young and old—can become more familiar with the events of the period, learning how the conflict affected the lives of ordinary settlers, politicians, slaves, and Native Americans. Abolitionists, border ruffians, underground railroad conductors, and jayhawkers come alive and gain new meaning as today’s Kansans understand the complex issues of these volatile years.
The story of the Kansas Territory is the story of our nation.
What occurred in Kansas helped to shape the direction of our nation. It also has international significance. In parts of the world today, slavery continues to exist, so that the issues and values for which Kansans fought still resonant.
Kansans and the State of Kansas should commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Kansas Territory in ways that help Kansans and people around the nation and world understand this important historical period and how the struggle for freedom carries historic and contemporary meaning
Find out more about the event, or learn about different periods in the Kansas Territory Historical Timeline (1854-55, 1856-58, or 1859-61).