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Journal, Topeka Constitutional Convention, Afternoon Session
Authors: Smith, Samuel C.
Date: November 9, 1855
During the course of the proceedings recorded for the afternoon of November 9, 1855, discussion turned to the effort by Jim Lane to first include a provision for the "removal" of all blacks and then all "slaves" from Kansas by July 4, 1860. Charles Robinson supported an amendment which changed the effective date to July 4, 1857. All other provisions were to take effect immediately upon the adoption of the constitution.

Keywords: African Americans; Constitutions; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Exclusion, African Americans; Free State Party; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Slavery; Smith, Samuel C.; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Constitutional Convention, October 1855; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Topeka, Kansas Territory


Topeka Constitution (as printed in D.W. Wilder's Annals of Kansas (1868)).
Authors: Topeka Constitutional Convention
Date: November 11, 1855
The Topeka Constitution, the first one written for Kansas Territory, was drafted by free state supporters in reaction to contested elections that gave the proslavery party initial control of Kansas' territorial government. Free-staters gathered in convention at Lawrence on August 14 and Big Spring on September 5, 1855 and delegates assembled at Topeka on October 23, 1855, to draft a constitution. The document was approved on December 15 by a vote of 1,731 to 46. The Topeka Constitution prohibited slavery and limited suffrage to white males and "every civilized male Indian who has adopted the habits of the white man." Congress rejected this constitution and the accompanying request for Kansas to be admitted to the Union. This version of the document was published December 26, 1855 in the Kickapoo Pioneer newspaper.

Keywords: Constitutions; Free state movement (see also Topeka Movement); Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Slavery; Smith, Samuel C.; Suffrage; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Constitutional Convention, October 1855; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Topeka, Kansas Territory


Letter, [Josiah Miller] to Dear Father and Mother
Authors: Miller, Josiah
Date: Nov 11 1855
Josiah Miller, having recently bought out his business partner, Robert G. Elliott, from their jointly owned newspaper, the Kansas Free State, wrote to his parents in South Carolina about his recent business ventures. He stated that "papers don't pay" and expressed his interest in land claims and real estate, which would earn him more money. Miller also told his parents that he was continuing to search for a farm in Wyandotte County for them to settle on when they arrive in Kansas Territory. He hoped that Congress would approve the constitution that the Free State men had recently submitted.

Keywords: Banks and banking; Constitutions; Free state legislature; Kansas Free State (newspaper); Land acquisition; Land claim disputes; Miller, Josiah; Sawmills; Squatters; Topeka Constitution; Town development


The Vote on the Constitution
Authors: No authors specified.
Date: c. December 15, 1855
This article, printed in the Kansas Freeman newspaper, gave a preliminary count of the votes cast in the election to ratify the Topeka Constitution. The other two issues on the ballot were whether or not slaves should be excluded from the territory, and whether or not the territory should have a general banking law. The returns from Lawrence, Topeka, and Tecumseh are all listed, but not all the returns had been tallied.

Keywords: African Americans; Banks and banking; Constitutions; Elections; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Slaves; Tecumseh, Kansas Territory; Topeka Constitution; Topeka, Kansas


Photograph, Topeka, Kansas Territory, 1856
Authors: No authors specified.
Date: 1856
An illustration showing Topeka, Kansas Territory, 1856. Constitution Hall is visible on the left side of the illustration.

Keywords: Cities and towns; Constitutions; Photographs and Illustrations; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Topeka Constitutional Convention, October 1855; Topeka buildings; Topeka, Kansas Territory


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