THREE YEARS ON THE KANSAS BORDER, REV. JOHN MCNAMARA (1824-85) SIGNED NOTE, "McNamara" 3.25 x .6, by the author and clergyman who was a strong anti-slavery missionary of the Protestant Episcopal Church who served 1851-52 in the Plate Purchase section of Missouri and then from 1854 in Kasnas in a turbulant era. In full: "I am sure your people will excuse me. It will be all the better Sunday week." Probably agreeing to make a speaking appearance at a church. Found in an old autograph album, the note is age toned and slightly cropped at the top but still very easy to read. A great piece of American history by a man who witnessed it and recorded it in his book.
Bleeding Kansas, Bloody Kansas or the Border War was a series of violent civil confrontations in the United States between 1854 and 1861 which emerged from a political and ideological debate over the legality of slavery in the proposed state of Kansas.
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was an effort by Congress to defuse political rivalries and maintain the balance of power between North and South. In the years leading up to the Missouri Compromise, tensions had been building between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions across the country and within the U.S. Congress. When Missouri requested admission to the Union as a slave state in 1819, it threatened to upset the delicate balance between slave states and free states. At the time, the United States contained 22 states, evenly divided between slave and free.
At about the same time, the state of Maine was also requesting admission to the Union and to keep the peace, the Missouri Compromise was reached that granted Missouri’s request and also admitted Maine as a free state. The compromise also drew an imaginary line across the former Louisiana Territory, which prohibited slavery north of the 36°30′ parallel, excluding Missouri. The Missouri Compromise remained the law of the land until it was negated by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.
Bleeding Kansas or the Kansas-Missouri Border War was a series of violent civil confrontations between the people of Kansas and Missouri that occurred immediately after the signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. The border war began seven years before the Civil War officially began and continued into the war. The issue was whether or not Kansas would become a Free-State or a pro-slavery state, which resulted in years of electoral fraud, raids, assaults, and retributive murders carried out by pro-slavery "Border Ruffians" in Missouri and anti-slavery "Jayhawkers" and "Redlegs" in Kansas.
On May 30, 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was signed, which opened the two territories to white settlement primarily so that a railroad could be built across the vast plains to the Rockies.Though the area was reserved for the Indians, the treaty was disregarded with the coming of the steam engine. Little did those long ago legislators realize the chain of events they had set in motion that would end in the Civil War and usher in an era of violence that would plague the plains for the rest of the century.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act also repealed the Missouri Compromise and reopened the issue of extending slavery north, allowing the two territories to decide the matter for themselves. As a result, settlement of the state was spurred, not so much by westward expansion, as by the determination of both pro-slavery and abolitionist factions to achieve a majority population in the territory.