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National Debate About Kansas

National Debate About Kansas > Federal Government > Congressional actions
25 Topic Specific Items
Letter, Marc [Parrott] to Dear Edd [Edwin Parrott]
Author: Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879
Date: January 26, 1856

Marcus Parrot wrote from Washington, D.C., to his brother, Edwin Parrott, in Dayton, Ohio. Marcus, on a political trip to discuss the 'Kansas Question" with members of the U.S. Congress, told him that the "dead-lock in the House has paralyzed [Washington] society" and that social engagements had been "quiet". He wrote Edwin of his surprise to hear an abolitionist speech as a Sunday sermon, and of his desire to speak with Tom Hendricks, Commissioner of the Land Office, regarding the prospective decline in availability of land warrants.

Keywords: Hendricks, Thomas A.; Kansas question; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Parrott, Edwin A.; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869; Real estate investment; Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864; Shoemaker, Tom C.; Violence

Letter, Marc [Parrott] to Dear Edd [Edwin Parrott]
Author: Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879
Date: January 26, 1856

Marcus Parrot wrote from Washington, D.C., to his brother, Edwin Parrott, in Dayton, Ohio. Marcus, on a political trip to discuss the 'Kansas Question" with members of the U.S. Congress, told him that the "dead-lock in the House has paralyzed [Washington] society" and that social engagements had been "quiet". He wrote Edwin of his surprise to hear an abolitionist speech as a Sunday sermon, and of his desire to speak with Tom Hendricks, Commissioner of the Land Office, regarding the prospective decline in availability of land warrants.

Keywords: Kansas question; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Lecompton, Kansas Territory; Parrott, Edwin A.; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869; Real estate investment; Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864; Shoemaker, Tom C.; United States. Congress

Letter, N. P. Banks to Gov. [Charles] Robinson
Author: Banks, Nathaniel Prentice, 1816-1894
Date: March 19, 1856

U. S. Congressman Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts wrote Robinson from Washington on March 19, 1856, to forward John Fremont's letter (see document, #101103) and to encourage that letter's publication in Kansas Territory. The newly elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives believed Fremont was a good friend of Kansas and that he would make a solid, electable candidate for president. Banks also wrote that he was "hopeful the Kansas question will meet its first decision in the House this week." He was confident something positive would be done for the cause. (Perhaps he was speaking of the Howard Committee, which was authorized that very day.)

Keywords: Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss, 1816-1894; Congressional Report 200 (see also Howard Committee); Election, Presidential, 1856; Fremont, John Charles, 1813-1890; Howard Committee (see also Congressional Report 200); Kansas question; Republican Party (U.S.: 1854- ); Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; United States. Congress. House; Washington, D.C.

Letter, Charles Sumner to My Dear _______
Author: Sumner, Charles , 1811-1874
Date: March 24, 1856

Addressed from the "Senate Chamber," Washington, D.C., this brief note appeared to be a letter of introduction for Mark W. Delahay from Charles Sumner, the famed Republican, abolitionist senator from Massachusetts. Interestingly, since the federal government never recognized the elections held under the Topeka Constitution, the senator introduced "Col. Delahay" as a "member of Congress elect from the state of Kansas."

Keywords: Delahay, Mark W.; Massachusetts; Republican Party (U.S.: 1854- ); Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874; Topeka Constitution; United States. Congress. Senate; Washington, D.C.

Report of the Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the Troubles in Kansas; With the Views of the Minority of Said Committee. Report No. 200, 34th Congress, 1st Session, 1856.
Author: United States. Congress
Date: 1856

An extensive report, giving majority and minority views of activities in Kansas during 1855 and 1856. The digitized version of the report is available at the University of Michigan Library's Making of America web site.

Keywords: Border disputes and warfare; Congressional Report 200 (see also Howard Committee); Howard Committee (see also Congressional Report 200); United States. Congress

Letter, Marcus J. Parrott to H. Miles Moore
Author: Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879
Date: January 12, 1857

Parrott, the representative of Kansas Territory to the U.S. Congress, wrote to Moore from Washington offering his assessment of the upcoming session of Congress. Parrott predicted that the Congress would reject the Lecompton Constitution. He also offered Moore, a Free State advocate recently elected to the Kansas Territorial House of Representatives, advice on activities to pursue in the Territorial Legislature.

Keywords: Constitutions; Kansas Territory. Legislature; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitution; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; United States. Congress

Letter, J. [John] W. Whitfield to Dear [John A.] Halderman
Author: Whitfield, John W. (Wilkins), ca. 1826-1879
Date: February 1, 1857

John W. Whitfield, the Kansas Territory's delegate to Congress to March 3, 1857, wrote to Halderman from "Washington City" regarding the "H__l of a fight" they had had "over Lecompte." (Samuel D. Lecompte, chief justice of the KT from December 1854 to March 1859; President Pierce had appointed James O. Harrison to replace Lecompte in December 1856, but Congress refused to confirm him.) Whitfield thought it likely that it would be left to "Old Buck" (President elect James Buchanan) to settle things. He also wrote concerning his own political prospects and what he was accomplishing for Kansas (e.g. railroad legislation).

Keywords: Buchanan, James, 1791-1868; Chief justice; Harrison, James O.; Kansas Territory. Supreme Court; Lecompte, Samuel D. (Samuel Dexter), 1814-1888; Pacific railroads; Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869; United States. Congress; Washington, D.C.; Whitfield, John W. (John Wilkins), ca. 1826-1879

Jacob Collamer, Washington, D.C. to William Hutchinson
Author: Collamer, Jacob
Date: December 17, 1857

Collamer, a U.S. senator from Vermont, cautioned Hutchinson against an attempt to establish a Kansas state government under the Topeka Constitution without the consent of Congress.

Keywords: Collamer, Jacob; Hutchinson, William, 1823-1904; Lecompton Constitution; Topeka Constitution

Letter, J. Thompson to My Dear [James W.] Denver
Author: Doniphan, J.
Date: January 29, 1858

J. Thompson wrote to James W. Denver from the U. S. Department of the Interior regarding the current debate over the Lecompton Constitution. Thompson advised Denver to stand his ground in support of it, regardless of what the President might say; "to turn aside now is downright weakness" and a show of cowardice. Thompson's opinion was that a Territorial decision to abolish slavery would be against the Dred Scott decision, and therefore unconstitutional.

Keywords: Buchanan, James, 1791-1868; Calhoun, John; Denver, James William, 1817-1892; Doniphan, J.; Dred Scott decision; Elmore, Rush; Indian Affairs, Commissioner of; Lecompton Constitution; National politics; Proslavery perspective; United States. Commissioner of Indian Affairs

Letter, S. C. Pomeroy to Dear [Thaddeus] Hyatt
Author: Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891
Date: March 6, 1858

This letter from Pomeroy to Hyatt was written from the Planters House hotel in Leavenworth on March 6, 1858 (not 1859, as marked) and deals with a variety of subjects, financial and political. Pomeroy began with comments on banking, property, and railroad promotion, and ends with observations about Kansas politics and the Lecompton Constitution, which he believed was finished. "Kansas is as sure to freedom as Plymouth Rock." Even if the proslave constitution passed Congress, all it would do is re-ignite the forces of freedom: "Kansas is safe to the free state party. So don't spend any more time , strength or money about it. The victory is won! . . .The millennium for the free labor interests of the Country will begin in 1860!"

Keywords: Atchison, Kansas Territory; Banks and banking; Free State Party; Free labor; Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872; Hyatt, Thaddeus; Kansas Territory. Legislature; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitution; Quindaro, Kansas Territory; Railroads; Squatter Sovereign; Town lots

Letter, H. J. Marshall to Governor [James] Denver
Author: Marshall, H.J.
Date: March 15, 1858

H. J. Marshall wrote from Washington, D. C. to Governor Denver regarding recent Congressional proceedings. Marshall supposed that the Lecompton Constitution would be defeated, and that the election returns of the past January 4 would be thrown out due to fraudulent activities. He also expressed the majority support for Denver's proclamation of February 26, which denied James Lane's authority to organize the territorial militia, and "show[ed] the base conduct of the same and his party of out-laws."

Keywords: Calhoun, John; Denver, James William, 1817-1892; Election fraud; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Lecompton Constitution; Marshall, H.J.; United States. Congress

Letter, Brad [A. G. Bradford] to [Governor James H.] Denver
Author: Bradford, A. G.
Date: March 18, 1858

A. G. Bradford, writing from Washington, D.C. to Governor James H. Denver, suggested that the effort to admit Kansas as a state under the Lecompton Constitution likely would fail in the U.S. Congress. Bradford also sought Denver's support for his attempt to receive an appointment as Superintendent of Indian Affairs and commented upon Denver's future political opportunities in California.

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Bradford, A. G.; Calhoun, John; California; Denver, James William, 1817-1892; Lecompton Constitution; Patronage, political; Washington, D.C.

Letter, Brad. [A. J. Bradford] to [Governor James W.] Denver
Author: Bradford, A. G.
Date: April 1, 1858

A. G. Bradford, writing from Washington, D.C. to Governor James W. Denver, reported upon the U.S. House of Representative's passage of the Crittenden-Montgomery resolution, which proposed to resubmit the Lecompton Constitution to a vote in Kansas Territory. Bradford predicted, however, that a House-Senate conference committee would endorse the Senate's version of the Lecompton Constitution bill, which proposed the admission of Kansas as a state under the Lecompton Constitution. Bradford added that he believed both houses of Congress would agree to admit Kansas under the Lecompton Constitution.

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Bradford, A. G.; California; Crittenden, John J. (John Jordan), 1787-1863; Lecompton Constitution; Statehood (see also Admission, Kansas); United States. Congress

Letter, R. S. Stevens to J. W. Denver
Author: Stevens, Robert S.
Date: April 3, 1858

Robert S. Stevens, writing from Washington, D.C. to Governor James W. Denver, reported upon the U.S. House of Representative's passage of the Crittenden-Montgomery resolution, which proposed to resubmit the Lecompton Constitution to a vote in Kansas Territory. While Stevens, and by implication Denver, supported the Crittenden-Montgomery resolution, he contended that it was in the Democratic Party's best interests for Kansas to be admitted under the Lecompton Constitution. Stevens also commented on his efforts to get New York Indian lands in Kansas opened to preemption.

Keywords: American Indians (see also Native Americans); Democratic Party (U.S.); Denver, James William, 1817-1892; Land sales; Lecompton Constitution; Native Americans; New York Indian Reserve; Stevens, Robert S.; United States. Congress

Letter, S.T. Learnard to Dear Son [O. E. Learnard]
Author: Learnard, S. T.
Date: April 3, 1858

S.T. Learnard, a farmer and occasional state legislator from Bakersfield, Vermont, wrote from Granville, Ohio, to his son, Oscar E. Learnard, in Kansas Territory. S.T. Learnard requested that his son meet him upon his arrival in Lawrence. He also referred to the defeat of the Lecompton Constitution in the U. S. House of Representatives, a move which he dubbed "a victory for freedom."

Keywords: Free state perspective; Learnard, Oscar E., 1832-1911; Learnard, S. T.; Lecompton Constitution; Travel; United States. Congress. House

Letter, R. S. Stevens to My Dear Sir [Governor James W. Denver]
Author: Stevens, Robert S.
Date: April 25, 1858

Robert S. Stevens, writing from Washington, D.C. to Governor James W. Denver, reported that Congress had passed the English Bill, which essentially resubmitted the Lecompton Constitution to a vote in Kansas Territory. Stevens predicted that Kansans would vote against it and that Kansas' admission as a state would be delayed until at least 1860. Stevens commented that legislators in Washington failed to understand "the real situation in Kansas," particularly the strength of the antislavery group in the territory.

Keywords: Denver, James William, 1817-1892; English Bill; Lecompton Constitution; Popular sovereignty; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Stevens, Robert S.; United States. Congress

Pamphlet, Report of the Committee on Federal Relations Relative to the Admission of Kansas Into the Federal Union
Author: No authors specified.
Date: 1858

This pamphlet includes the Resolutions proposed by the Texas Legislature's "Committee on Federal Relations relative to the Admission of Kansas into the Federal Union", produced in response to the Congressional debate whether or not to adopt Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton Constitution. This document proposed that Kansas be adopted into statehood under the Lecompton Constitution as it was, supporting slavery or not, and have Kansans amend the document later as necessary. The intention of the Texas Legislature was to remove the Kansas question from the national platform, for they feared that Congressmen from Northern States, acting in their own interests, would never vote to adopt another proslavery territory into statehood.

Keywords: Buchanan, James, 1791-1868; Kansas question; Lecompton Constitution; National politics; Popular sovereignty; Statehood (see also Admission, Kansas); Texas; United States. Congress; Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869

Letter, Marc [Parrott] to Dear Edd [Edwin Parrott]
Author: Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879
Date: January 11, 1859

Marcus Parrott wrote from the House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., to his brother, Edwin Parrott. Marcus told his brother of his experience in Washington: "awfully dull, nothing like an exciting party or an interesting debate thus far". He discussed to his social life and upcoming trips to Cuba, and also to Boston to meet with the Directors of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. Marcus did elaborate on one message that had been clearly communicated to him in the House: that opponents of the "Lecompton party" were not encouraged to unite.

Keywords: Douglas, Stephen Arnold, 1813-1861; Ewing, Hugh Boyle; Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad Company; Lecompton Constitution; National politics; Parrott, Edwin A.; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; Stringfellow, Benjamin F.; United States. Congress. House; Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869; Washington, D.C.

Letter, Tho. Ewing Jr to Dear Gov'r [Charles Robinson]
Author: Ewing, Jr., Thomas , 1829-1896
Date: March 30, 1860

In response to a letter of March 27 from Charles Robinson, Lawrence, Ewing wrote regarding the governor's forthcoming trip to Washington. Ewing mentioned several issues but was mainly concerned about the lobbying effort for the railroad bill and the future state's federal land grant.

Keywords: Babcock, Carmi William; Deitzler, George W.; Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896; Land grants; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth Times; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Railroad promotion; Railroads; Railroads finance; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; United States. Congress; Vaughan, John C.; Washington, D.C.

Letter, Henry J. Adams to William Hutchinson
Author: Adams, Henry J.
Date: June 4, 1860

Henry Adams was in Washington D. C. as a special agent of Kansas Territory attempting to convince the U. S. Congress to pay claims for damages suffered by Kansas citizens during episodes of violence in the territory. Adams complained of not receiving enough financial support from Kansas to meet his expenses.

Keywords: Adams, Henry J.; Damage claims; Hutchinson, William, 1823-1904; United States. Congress; Violence

John A. Halderman to Eds. of the Constitution
Author: Halderman, John Adams
Date: June 6, 1860

While in Washington, D. C., Halderman followed the congressional debate regarding Kansas admission and informed the "Constitution" that Senator [Louis T.] Wigfall, a Texas firebrand, had reportedly "assailed the character of the people of Kansas Territory". Halderman regretted that, since he was not "privileged" to take the floor of either house, he could not officially denounce these "unwarranted accusations" and feared if he and others were silent they might be accepted as truth.

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Halderman, John Adams; Texas; United States. Congress; United States. Congress. Senate; Washington, D.C.; Wigfall, Louis T. (Louis Trezevant), 1816-1874

Henry J. Adams, Washington, D.C. to William Hutchinson
Author: Adams, Henry J.
Date: November 14, 1860

Adams was in Washington as a special agent of Kansas Territory attempting to convince the U.S. Congress to pay claims for damages suffered by Kansas citizens during episodes of violence in the territory. Adams reported on the prospects of getting the claims paid during the upcoming session of Congress as well as on his concerns about being compensated for his lobbying efforts. He expressed particular concern that Charles Robinson intended to cheat him out of his pay. Adams also commented on Abraham Lincoln's election as president and the possible secession of Southern states in response to the election results.

Keywords: Adams, Henry J.; Claims (see Damage claims or Land claims); Damage claims; Hutchinson, William, 1823-1904; Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894

Letter, C [Charles Robinson] to My dear S [Sara Robinson]
Author: Robinson, Charles
Date: December 7, 1860

From Washington, D.C., December 7, 1860, Charles Robinson wrote his wife regarding the likelihood of secession and the government's response should this happen. He expected Kansas to be admitted to the Union, perhaps as soon as some of the Southern states withdrew their members from the Senate, and also believe the chances were good that Congress would authorize payment of Kansas' claims against the government for damages--such payments would provide some help for those presently in need of relief assistance.

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Lawrence, Amos Adams, 1814-1886; Railroad land grants; Relief; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Robinson, Sara T. L. (Sara Tappan Lawrence), 1827-1911; Secession; Thayer, Eli, 1819-1899; United States. Congress

Letter, Marc [Parrott] to Dear Edd [Edwin Parrott]
Author: Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879
Date: January 26, 1861

Marcus Parrott wrote from Washington, D.C. to his brother, Edwin Parrott, in Ohio. Marcus began his letter berating his brother for his inconsistent correspondence; he himself, though very busy, managed to write Edwin regularly. Marcus also voiced his frustration with Congress, declaring this to be his last week as a Delegate, and predicted that both Republicans' and Democrats' stubbornness would cause the country to permanently divide. Kansas would become a state on January 29, only three days later.

Keywords: Abolitionists; Blair, Frank; Brown, Thomas; Democratic Party (U.S.); National politics; Ohio; Parrott, Edwin A.; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; Republican Party (U.S.: 1854- ); Secession; United States. Congress; Washington, D.C.

Photograph, Charles Sumner
Author: No authors specified.
Date:

Charles Sumner served in the United State Senate from Massachusetts during the Kansas territorial era. He was an outspoken abolitionist and helped the Free-Soil party in 1848. He was opposed to the Fugitive Slave Law and the Kansas Nebraska Act. After making his well known speech "The Crime Against Kansas" on May 20, 1856, he was assaulted (caned) by Preston Brooks, a Representative from South Carolina. He was unable to return to his Senate duties until December, 1859.

Keywords: Abolitionists; Cartes de visite; Massachusetts; Photographs and Illustrations; Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874; United States. Senate

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Missouri Compromise
Authors: United States. Congress
Date:  March 1, 1820
This legislation admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a non-slave state at the same time, so as not to upset the balance between slave and free states in the nation. It also outlawed slavery above the 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude line in the remainder of the Louisiana Territory. With the purchase of the Louisiana Territory and the application of Missouri for statehood, the long-standing balance between the number of slave states and the number of free states would be changed. Controversy arose within Congress over the issue of slavery. Congress adopted this legislation and admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a non-slave state at the same time, so that the balance between slave and free states in the nation would remain equal. The Missouri compromise also proposed that slavery be prohibited above the 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude line in the remainder of the Louisiana Territory. This provision held for 34 years, until it was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The document featured here is the conference committee's report on the Missouri Compromise. Images, transcription, and document description courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration, Our Documents web site, http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=22.

Keywords: Kansas Nebraska Act; Missouri compromise; United States. Congress


Polling Book, delegate election, Wyandott nation, Nebraska Territory
Authors: Andrews, Benjamin ; Walker, William
Date:  October 12, 1852
This three-page document represented the "return of votes polled at the election held in the Wyandott nation, Nebraska Territory, October 12th 1852, for a delegate to represent the aforesaid Territory in the thirty-second Congress of the United States. Abelard Guthrie, who is also on the voter roll, received all 35 votes cast. Guthrie, who married into the Wyandot tribe, was later involved in the development of Quindaro. With one or two exception--e.g.., Thomas Coon Hawk--the names on the roll appear to be Anglo-American in origin.

Keywords: American Indians (see also Native Americans); Congressional delegate; Election, Nebraska Territory, October 1852; Elections; Guthrie, Abelard; Native Americans; Nebraska Territory; United States. Congress; Walker, William; Wyandot Indians; Wyandotte County, Kansas Territory


Kansas-Nebraska Act
Authors: United States. Congress
Date:  May 30, 1854
Officially titled "An Act to Organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas," this act repealed the Missouri Compromise, which had outlawed slavery above the 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude in the Louisiana Territory and reopened the national struggle over slavery in the western territories. In January 1854, Senator Stephen Douglas introduced a bill that divided the land west of Missouri into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. He argued for popular sovereignty, which would allow the settlers of the new territories to decide if slavery would be legal there. Antislavery supporters were outraged because, under the terms of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, slavery would have been outlawed in both territories. After months of debate, the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed on May 30, 1854. Images and document description courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration, Our Documents web site, http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=28. Transcription courtesy of the Avalon Project at Yale Law School, http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm.

Keywords: Kansas Nebraska Act; Missouri compromise; Slavery; United States. Congress; Westward expansion


Letter, J. Z. Goodrich to Dear Sir
Authors: Goodrich, J. Z.
Date:  June 29, 1854
This printed letter, on letterhead from the House of Representatives in Washington, D. C., was written by John Zacheus Goodrich, a representative from Massachusetts. He informed the recipient that members of Congress and regular citizens of the city had formed the Union Emigration Society--these citizens opposed both the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the opening of the territories to slavery. It included details about the Missouri Compromise, the designs of Slave Power, and stated that "our watchword is Constitutional Freedom everywhere within the jurisdiction of the United States."

Keywords: Antislavery; Antislavery movements; Antislavery perspective; Goodrich, J. Z.; Kansas Nebraska Act; Kansas question; Missouri compromise; Nebraska Territory; Sectionalism (United States); Slave power; Slavery; United States. Congress. House


Letter, J. [John] W. Whitfield to My Dear Sir [J. A. Halderman]
Authors: Whitfield, John W. (Wilkins), ca. 1826-1879
Date:  February 25, 1855
John W. Whitfield was a proslave man from Tennessee who would subsequently move to Texas to fight for the Confederacy. He was a congressional delegate for Kansas Territory when he wrote this letter to J. A. Halderman from Washington, D.C., regarding pending legislation "regulating town sites." It had been difficult to build a consensus for this law, but Whitfield hoped it would pass the current session.

Keywords: Halderman, John Adams; Speculation; Town sites; United States. Congress; Washington, D.C.; Whitfield, John W. (John Wilkins), ca. 1826-1879


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