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Territorial Politics and Government > Constitution Making > Lecompton (Sep. 1857)
12 Topic Specific Items
To the people of Leavenworth County
Author: No authors specified.
Date: June 3, 1857

Opposition ticket in support of having the people of Kansas vote on the Lecompton Constitution before it is sent to Congress.

Keywords: No keywords specified.

Proclamation, To the People of Leavenworth County
Author: Halderman, John Adams
Date: June 3, 1857

J. A. Halderman appeared to have penned this handwritten proclamation, signed by numerous other "residents and citizens" of Leavenworth County, calling on the people of the county "to support at the coming election for members of the constitutional convention" at Lecompton a slate of twelve named delegates. The document assured the citizenry that the "undersigned" and their chosen delegates were committed to a fair process that would allow the people to vote to accept or reject any proposed constitution and to vote separately on the question of slavery.

Keywords: Elections; Halderman, John Adams; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857; Slavery

Poll List, Leavenworth, Topeka Constitution
Author: Anthony, Scott A.
Date: August 3, 1857

On August 3, 1857, the free-state legislature gave K. T. voters another chance to vote the Topeka Constitution (first approved, December 1855) when they went to the polls to elect new legislators. Few, if any, proslave voters participated and the territory-wide tally was 7,257 for the constitution, 34 against. The polling list for Leavenworth contains the names of 721 voters, "seven hundred and six (706) being in favor of said Constitution and two (2) against."

Keywords: Constitutions; Election, Topeka Constitution, August 1857; Elections; Free state; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Topeka Constitution

Lecompton Constitution (as printed in D.W. Wilder's Annals of Kansas (1868)).
Author: Lecompton Constitutional Convention
Date: November 7, 1857

The Lecompton Constitution, the second constitution drafted for Kansas Territory, was written by proslavery supporters. The document permitted slavery (Article VII), excluded free blacks from living in Kansas, and allowed only male citizens of the United States to vote. There were three separate votes on the Lecompton Constitution: December 21, 1857, January 4, 1858, and August 2, 1858. In the final vote, residents of Kansas Territory rejected the Lecompton Constitution.

Keywords: Constitutions; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitution; Lecompton, Kansas Territory; Proslavery; Slavery

Lecompton Constitution (manuscript version)
Author: Lecompton Constitutional Convention
Date: November 7, 1857

The Lecompton Constitution, the second constitution drafted for Kansas Territory, was written by proslavery supporters. The document permitted slavery (Article VII), excluded free blacks from living in Kansas, and allowed only male citizens of the United States to vote. There were three separate votes on the Lecompton Constitution: December 21, 1857, January 4, 1858, and August 2, 1858. In the final vote, residents of Kansas Territory rejected the Lecompton Constitution.

Keywords: Constitutional conventions; Constitutions; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitution; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857; Lecompton, Kansas Territory; Proslavery; Slavery

Speech of Senator Douglas, of Illinois, on the President's Message
Author: Douglas, Stephen
Date: December 9, 1857

Senator Stephen Douglas delivered this speech in the United States Senate, responding to President Buchanan's decision to let Congress determine whether or not to admit Kansas into the Union. Douglas approved of the decision, as he believed it was not an Executive matter. Douglas reiterated the point that the members of the Lecompton Constitutional Convention were appointed to frame a sample government, subject to the approval of the Territory's citizens, not to make a government themselves. Although he disapproved of the means used to submit the Lecompton Constitution to Congress, Douglas judged that the free state government in Topeka was an unlawful legislative body.

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Douglas, Stephen Arnold, 1813-1861; Election fraud; Free state legislature; Kansas Nebraska Act; Lecompton Constitution; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857; Missouri compromise; Popular sovereignty; Slavery; Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869

Letter, Chas. Robinson (on behalf of the citizens of Lawrence) to Hon. F. P. Stanton
Author: Robinson, Charles
Date: 1857

This letter by Charles Robinson, free state leader and future Governor of the state of Kansas, appears here in published form. Robinson wrote to F. P. Stanton, the acting governor of Kansas Territory, expressing his opinion that the people of the Territory were not getting their fair say in electing officers or administrating territorial laws. He referred to the upcoming Lecompton Constitutional Convention, which would take place in September 1857, and outlined some procedural guidelines by which the Convention should be run if the free state men were to participate.

Keywords: Free state perspective; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Stanton, Frederick Perry, 1814-1894

Minority Report of Senator Douglas of Illinios on the Kansas-Lecompton Constitution
Author: Douglas, Stephen
Date: February 18, 1858

Senator Stephen Douglas, as a member of the Committee on the Territories, presented this report, which analyzed the Lecompton and Topeka constitutional rivalry, for the consideration of the President. Douglas found that, under the Kansas-Nebraska Act, no government of Kansas, Territorial or otherwise, had the power to draft any constitution without the intital consent of Congress; the territories, though "self-governed" were not sovereign entities, and still were to defer to the direction of the federal government. He argued that even the recognized territorial government had no right to convene a constitutional convention without Congressional approval, and the vote the Lecompton Convention presented to the people offered no opportunity to fully reject the Lecompton Constitution, but only to accept or reject the slavery provision; a person could not vote against making Kansas a slave state unless he was also willing to vote for the Lecompton Constitution. Douglas, however, in his report likened this unauthorized act of Lecompton Constitutional Convention as much "revolution" and "treasonable pertinacity" as those actions of the free state government in Topeka; neither group held legitimate authority to draft or present their constitutions.

Keywords: Douglas, Stephen Arnold, 1813-1861; Free state legislature; Illinois; Kansas Nebraska Act; Lecompton Constitution; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857; Popular sovereignty; Slavery; Topeka Constitution; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869

Letter, T. J. Robinson to Governor [James W. Denver]
Author: Robinson, Thomas J.
Date: March 3, 1858

Thomas J. Robinson, writing from Washington D.C. to Governor James W. Denver, speculated that Kansas would be admitted as a state under the Lecompton Constitution. Robinson suggested that Denver's future political prospects would improve from such an occurrence.

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Democratic Party (U.S.); Denver, James William, 1817-1892; Herndon, Lou; Lecompton Constitution; Robinson, Thomas J.; Statehood (see also Admission, Kansas); Town promotion

Speech of Hon. James H. Hammond of South Carolina on the Admission of Kansas under the Lecompton Constitution
Author: Hammond, James H.
Date: March 4, 1858

Senator James Hammond offered this speech as a rebuttal to those recently presented by Senators in oppositon to his perspective, questioning their argument that the Lecompton Constitutional Convention was a tool of the Territorial Government to maintain the dominance of proslavery policy. Hammond maintained instead that the Convention was "an assembly of the people in their highest sovereign capacity" and thus acted with the will of the majority of Kansas citizens. He also indicated that the South did not feel threated by the possibility of Kansas becoming a free state, as their exports and businesses were well off even without the increased foreign slave trade that Kansas potentially could bring.

Keywords: Adams, Zu; Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Business enterprises; Hammond, James H.; Kansas Nebraska Act; Lecompton Constitution; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857; Popular sovereignty; South Carolina; Southerners; Speeches, addresses, etc.; Territorial government

Letter, Jo. P. Vaughn to Genl. [Governor James W. Denver]
Author: Vaughn, John P.
Date: March 4, 1858

John P. Vaughn, writing from Sacramento, California to Governor James W. Denver, about his efforts to get the California legislature to support Kansas' admission as a state under the Lecompton Constitution.

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); California; Denver, James William, 1817-1892; Lecompton Constitution; Statehood (see also Admission, Kansas); Vaughn, John P.

Speech of Hon. R.M.T. Hunter, of Virginia, on the Admission of the State of Kansas
Author: Hunter, Robert M. T.
Date: March 12, 1858

Senator Robert M.T. Hunter delivered this speech on the floor of the Senate in support of adopting Kansas into statehood under the Lecompton Constitution. Hunter argued that the Lecompton Constitutional Convention had been formed under the consent and election of the people of Kansas, not as an instrument of the Territorial Government. He also stated that those accused of being "foreign" Missouri voters were nothing more than settlers who had staked their claims in the fall of 1857 and left them to return the following spring. Hunter added that it would have been impossible to ascertain the true will of the people if the entire Lecompton Constitution would have been put to a vote, as it would be unlikely that voters would approve or disapprove of every single provision it might include. Ultimately, Hunter believed that "white men should have the continent, not as equals of the Indians or the negros, but as their masters."

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Hunter, Robert M.T.; Virginia

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Photograph, James Henry Lane
Authors: Rohe, A.
Date:  1857
Photograph of an illustration of James Henry Lane "shouting defiance into the convention's ears and the battery's muzzles at Constitution Hall," Lecompton, Kansas Territory. The illustration is copied from Life of General James H. Lane by John I. Speer.

Keywords: Book illustrations; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857; Lecompton buildings; Lecompton, Kansas Territory; Photographs and Illustrations


Proclamation, To the People of Leavenworth County
Authors: Halderman, John Adams
Date:  June 3, 1857
J. A. Halderman appeared to have penned this handwritten proclamation, signed by numerous other "residents and citizens" of Leavenworth County, calling on the people of the county "to support at the coming election for members of the constitutional convention" at Lecompton a slate of twelve named delegates. The document assured the citizenry that the "undersigned" and their chosen delegates were committed to a fair process that would allow the people to vote to accept or reject any proposed constitution and to vote separately on the question of slavery.

Keywords: Elections; Halderman, John Adams; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857; Slavery


Letter, T. [Thomas] J. Marsh to George L. Stearns, Esq.
Authors: Marsh, Thomas J.
Date:  September 12, 1857
To George Stearns on September 12, 1857, Thomas Marsh wrote that he was leaving Lawrence on a trip to "the Southern part of Kansas" for several days. He believed the "Free State men were getting into good shape for the election," which would go well if there was no "invasion" or "fraud." He also talked about some Democratic activity and mentioned the adjournment of the Lecompton Constitutional Convention.

Keywords: Atchison County, Kansas Territory; Democratic Party (U.S.); Election fraud; Election, Territorial Legislature, October 1857; Free State Party; Free state cause; Free state supporters; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857; Marsh, Thomas J.; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Webb, Thomas H. (Thomas Hopkins), 1801-1866


Letter, William Hutchinson, Secretary to Dear Sir [Cyrus K. Holliday]
Authors: Hutchinson, William , 1823-1904
Date:  October 26, 1857
William B. Hutchinson, an abolitionist from Lawrence, Kansas Territory and secretary of the Freemen of Kansas, wrote to Cyrus K. Holliday, free state activist and president of the Topeka Town Association, informing him of his appointment to a secret committee. The fifty-two members were to gather and turn in evidence against those responsible for election fraud. Holliday had also been appointed to the fund-raising subcommittee. In a later written response, Holliday refused these appointments, referring to time-consuming family and business responsibilities.

Keywords: Election fraud; Free state activities; Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900; Hutchinson, William, 1823-1904; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory


Letter, Wm. Hutchinson to Dear Sir [James Abbott]
Authors: Hutchinson, William , 1823-1904
Date:  October 21, 1857
William Hutchinson, Secretary of the Kansas Central Committee, informed James Abbott of his appointment to an investigative committee created to "expose the recent frauds upon the elective franchise, and to provide for the summary punishment of all those who are implicated therein." The committee, which was appointed "privately", was conceived by a resolution passed in a meeting of the Freemen of Kansas in Mass Convention of October 19.

Keywords: Abbott, James Burnett; Bogus legislature; Election fraud; Election, Territorial Legislature, October 1857; Free state activities; Hutchinson, William, 1823-1904; Kansas Territory. Legislature - Lecompton; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857


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