The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 7 The Deed

This post completes the series, “The Sacking of Lawrence May 21, 1856.” Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, and Part 5 here, Part 6 here. Free-State men wounded Douglas County sheriff Samuel J. Jones when he returned to Lawrence to serve arrest warrants in the spring of 1856, […]

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The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 6 The Wakarusa War

David Potter suggests that much of the discord between Kansans and Missourians was less about slavery and more about land claims.(i) The territory had not yet completed land surveys even six months after it opened for settlement so people squatted on land they wanted. Disputes over those claims, largely between Missourian and new Kansan settlers, […]

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The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 5 Beecher's Bibles

The potential for violence after passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and indeed episodes of violence, increased on the border between Missouri and Kansas as both Free Soiler and pro-slavery factions began actively arming themselves. An agent of the New England Emigrant Aid Society in Kansas, Charles L. Robinson, requested with some urgency a shipment of […]

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The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 4

The actual number of free-state settlers that made it to Kansas was far more modest than the expectations set in the press but the perception was in the public psyche. When the Kansas Territory’s first governor, Andrew Reeder, called for elections of the Kansas Territorial Legislature on March 30, 1855, pro-slavery Missourians crossed the border […]

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The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 3

Eli Thayer of Massachusetts, who had been “aroused very early in the course of the battle in Congress,” incorporated the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company with the intent of assisting emigrants who were willing to move west.(i) Details of his “Plan of Operation” found their way into “Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune where, despite the fact […]

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The Sacking of Lawrence, May 21, 1856 – 1

One of the most surprising things I learned from reading Michael F. Holt’s exceptional book, The Political Crisis of the 1850’s, was that the “Sacking of Lawrence” was not the murderous affair I had always thought it was. It led to further research on my part and the realization that I was guilty of combining […]

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On Know Nothings and Secret Societies – 4

Historian David H. Bennett contends, “Only in extraordinary times could nativism shape the policies of and give its name to a major party. Such was the situation from I852 to 1854” as regards the Know Nothing Party. Men of political prominence began to join. In several New England states, the Know Nothings became a formidable […]

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