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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Hundreds of Missourians crossed into Kansas

a bill for opening the Territory

of Nebraska. All land west of Iowa and Missouri had been closed against immigrants, so that it was impossible for them to secure a farm. By "Nebraska" was meant all territory north of Texas westward to the Rocky Mountains. On January 23, Douglas introduced his second bill, repealing the provisions of the Missouri Compromise for the proposed two Territories. This reopened the slavery discussion, which President Pierce six weeks before had declared to be closed forever. At the East, Mason and Dixon's line between Pennsylvania and Maryland had been regarded as separating freedom from slavery. At the West, the parallel of 36 deg. 30', agreed on in 1820, was regarded as the border line. To cross this boundary, and remove all obstacles against slavery, promptly became the determination of the South. Douglas's bill now declared that the Compromise of 1850 left the question of slavery to the people within the Territory. General Cass gave to this doctrine the title of "Squatter Sovereignty." The bill passed by 113 to 100, and was taken up by the Senate, May 24, and passed by 35 to 13. President Pierce signed it on May 30. By the provisions of the bill, the country in question was to be organized into the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska; the slavery question was to be settled by the residents; the Supreme Court was to determine the title to slaves, if appeal was taken from the local courts, and the Fugitive Slave law was to be enforced. The Whig Party was destroyed and the Republican
Party rose in its place. On July 6, a State Convention of all anti-Nebraska citizens irrespective of former political affiliations assembled. This Convention designated the fusion of Whigs, Free Soilers, "Know Nothings," and Democrats who opposed the extension of slavery, by the name "Republicans."

[Sidenote: Opening of Kansas]

[Sidenote: Fraudulent elections]

Within the three months immediately preceding, treaties had been quietly made with a half score of Indian nations in Kansas, by which the greater part of the soil for 200 miles west was opened. In June, within a few days after the act had been passed, hundreds of Missourians crossed into Kansas, took up quarter-sections and claimed the right of pre-emption upon the eastern region. In Massachusetts and other Eastern States, societies were meanwhile formed for the purpose of making Kansas a free State. All the Northwest was eager to furnish squatters. In the East, Eli Thayer organized immigration to Kansas. When the country was thrown open to settlement, the company which he had organized took up claims at Lawrence. A population of 8,000 pressed in from the North. Meetings were held in Missouri in the slave interest, which pledged that State to send men to Kansas and remove all the Free State immigrants. A bloody election was held in Kansas. The pro-slavery Legislature made it a felony to circulate anti-slavery publications, or to deny the right to hold slaves. Reeder, the newly appointed first Governor, arrived. An election was ordered to choose a delegate for Congress. Armed Missourians from across the border took possession of the polls, and by methods of intimidation elected Whitfield, a slave-holding delegate, to Congress. At a second election 13 State Senators and 26 members of a Lower House were declared elected. For this purpose 6,320 votes were cast--more than twice the number of legal voters.

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