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National Debate About Kansas

National Debate About Kansas > Issues and Ideas > Popular (squatter) sovereignty
6 Topic Specific Items
Pamphlet, Miscellaneous State Legislative Resolutions
Author: No authors specified.
Date: 1855-1856

Includes Resolutions from various State Legislatures concerning the extension of slavery into Kansas Territory, disturbances in Kansas Territory, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the admission of Kansas into the Union as a state.

Keywords: Iowa; Kansas Nebraska Act; Legal documents; Maine; Massachusetts; National politics; New Hampshire; Ohio; Rhode Island; Slavery; Statehood (see also Admission, Kansas); Texas; Violence

Pamphlet, "The Coming Struggle: or, Shall Kansas Be a Free or Slave State?"
Author: No authors specified.
Date: 1856

This pamphlet, authored anonymously by "One of the People" directs the question "Slavery or Liberty?" primarily to a Northern audience. The context of the argument supports Kansas achieving status as a free state, though it pointedly states that "the Free States desire not to control the internal arrangements of their sister States; but while they are willing that State rights should be respected, they will not submit to the nationalization of Slavery".

Keywords: Catholic Church; Democratic Party (U.S.); Missouri compromise; National politics; Popular sovereignty; Republican Party (U.S.: 1854- ); Secession; Sectionalism (United States); Slavery

Concurrent Resolutions, New York State Senate, Relative to Territorial Legislation
Author: New York State Senate
Date: January 5, 1858

This resolution proposes guidelines for the creation of a constitution in Kansas Territory, stating that any adopted constitution must not conflict with laws of the "general government" [United States federal government], but also that it must be fairly approved by the voters of the territory and not imposed upon them by any governing body.

Keywords: Constitutions; Kansas Territory. Legislature; National politics; New York; New York State Senate; Popular sovereignty; United States Government

Concurrent Resolutions, New York State Senate, Relative to a Constitution for Kansas
Author: New York State Senate
Date: January 6, 1858

This resolution proposed to support the creation, by peaceful and just electoral means, of a state constitution in the Kansas Territory. The resolution also suggested that if a constitution could be approved by the voters of the Kansas Territory, that the U. S. Congress accept the territory as a state.

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Constitutions; Elections; National politics; New York; New York State Senate; Popular sovereignty; Statehood (see also Admission, Kansas); Violence

Letter, S.T. Learnard to Dear Son [Oscar Learnard]
Author: Learnard, S. T.
Date: June 9, 1858

S.T. Learnard wrote from Bakersfield, Vermont, to his son, Oscar Learnard of Kansas Territory, in this transcribed version of his letter. S.T. mentioned his recent trip to Illinois and his efforts to obtain land warrants. He also requested that Oscar send him word on the status of his crops and mill, as his own friends were urging him to stay in business in Vermont. The author also referred to the upcoming August vote in which the English Bill, which essentially re-submitted the once-rejected proslavey Lecompton Constitution to a vote in Kansas Territory, would be approved or rejected by popular sovereignty.

Keywords: Antislavery perspective; Business enterprises; Daily life; English Bill; Learnard, Oscar E., 1832-1911; Learnard, S. T.; Lecompton Constitution; National politics; Vermont

Statement, U.S. Constitution and Slavery . . .
Author: No authors specified.
Date: April 9, 1859

Letter Press Book #3 began with an alphabetical, name index to the letters that follow, but the first document therein was a statement dated April 9, 1859, composed of three principles regarding the U.S. Constitution, governance, and slavery in the territories: "1st. We hold that the constitution of the U. States does not carry slavery into the Territories . . ." The second and third points asserted the rights of the people of the territories to govern themselves.

Keywords: Popular sovereignty; Slavery; United States. Congress; United States. Constitution

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Kansas Territorial Seal
Authors: No authors specified.
Date:  May 30, 1854
The Kansas territorial seal supposedly was engraved by Robert Lovett of Philadelphia from a design developed by Andrew H. Reeder, the first Territorial Governor of Kansas. Encircling the border of the two-inch brass die is the text, "SEAL OF THE TERRITORY OF KANSAS / ERECTED MAY 30, 1854." The face features a pioneer holding a rifle and hatchet opposite Ceres (the goddess of agriculture) who stands next to a sheaf of grain. At their feet lie a tree and the axe that felled it. Between these two figures is a shield with a plow in the top compartment and a hunter stalking a buffalo below. Above the shield is a banner reading, "POPULI VOCE NATA." This Latin motto has been translated to read "Born by the voice of the people" or "Born of the popular will." The motto speaks directly to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, creating the territory and establishing popular sovereignty whereby voting residents would decide if Kansas became a slave or free state.

Keywords: Agricultural implements; Agriculture; Kansas Nebraska Act; Kansas Territory; Objects; Popular sovereignty; Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864; Territorial government


Letter, W. A. Gorman to Speaker of the House of Reps [Minnesota Territory]
Authors: Phillips, Wendell
Date:  February 18, 1856
In response to a January 22, 1856, appeal from free-state leaders in Kansas, the governor of Minnesota Territory, Willis A. Gorman (St. Paul, February 18, 1856), conveyed the appeal to his territory's House of Representatives and encouraged Minnesota officials to follow a policy of "Non intervention." Governor Gorman refused to recognize Lane and Robinson as "officers in the Territory of Kansas, under any authority of the laws of the United States or of that Territory."

Keywords: Border ruffians; Free State Party; Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Gorman, Willis A.; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Miller, Josiah; Minnesota; Missouri; Popular sovereignty; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement)


Letter, [I. Sabin] to Chad Kellogg
Authors: Sabin, I.
Date:  August 8, 1856
I. Sabin wrote to Chad Kellogg regarding real-estate transactions and troubles along the Missouri-Kansas border. Sabin, the commander of a 40-man company against pro-slavery forces, described the amount of firearms needed by each fighting man and his lack of money with which to purchase them. The letter is written on a printed circular "Appeal of Kansas to the Voters of the Free States," which enumerates various offenses done to free state men, focusing particularly on the contested election of 1856.

Keywords: Barber, Thomas W.; Brown, Frederick; Buford, Jefferson; Free state perspective; Guns; Kellogg, Chad; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869; Popular sovereignty; Sabin, I.; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Sharps rifles; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Topeka, Kansas Territory; Wakarusa War, November-December 1855; Weapons (see also Guns)


Letter, draft of, written by Amos Lawrence for Sara Robinson
Authors: Lawrence, Amos Adams; Robinson, Sara T. L. (Sara Tappan Lawrence), 1827-1911
Date:  1856
According to Frank W. Blackmar, who reprinted this document in the appendix of his book, The Life of Charles Robinson (1901), it was "a draft of a letter sent by Amos A. Lawrence to be re-written and signed by Mrs. Robinson and addressed to Mrs. Lawrence, [a "relative" of President Pierce and] the mother of Amos A. Lawrence. The letter," which concerns Charles Robinson's imprisonment (May 10-Sept. 10, 1856 ) in K.T., was sent by Mrs. Lawrence to Mrs. Pierce, wife of the President who gave it to the President to read."]

Keywords: Abolitionists; Atchison, David Rice, 1807-1886; Bogus legislature; Election fraud; Free state cause; Lawrence, Amos Adams, 1814-1886; Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869; Popular sovereignty; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Robinson, Sara T. L. (Sara Tappan Lawrence), 1827-1911; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Treason


Pamphlet, "The Coming Struggle: or, Shall Kansas Be a Free or Slave State?"
Authors: No authors specified.
Date:  1856
This pamphlet, authored anonymously by "One of the People" directs the question "Slavery or Liberty?" primarily to a Northern audience. The context of the argument supports Kansas achieving status as a free state, though it pointedly states that "the Free States desire not to control the internal arrangements of their sister States; but while they are willing that State rights should be respected, they will not submit to the nationalization of Slavery".

Keywords: Catholic Church; Democratic Party (U.S.); Missouri compromise; National politics; Popular sovereignty; Republican Party (U.S.: 1854- ); Secession; Sectionalism (United States); Slavery


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