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Territorial Politics and Government > Constitution Making > Leavenworth (Mar.-Apr. 1858)
21 Topic Specific Items
Broadside, "To the People of Leavenworth County"
Author: No authors specified.
Date: 1857

A printed announcement "To the People of Leavenworth County" nominating delegates to attend, most likely, the Lecompton Constitutional Convention. According to the letter, the candidates named would support that the clause that included the slavery question be put to the people of Kansas Territory for their vote.

Keywords: Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitutional Convention, September 1857; Nominations for office; Popular sovereignty; Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869

Letter, [Samuel] Tappan to Gen. T. W. Higginson
Author: Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913
Date: March 15, 1858

In this letter, written from Lawrence, Kansas Territory, Samuel Tappan informed Thomas W. Higginson of the state of affairs in Kansas. He began the letter by mentioning the constitutional convention that would soon meet at Minneola, and the hope that the free state side will be triumphant. Tappan also mentioned the recent election for mayor of Lawrence, stating that Carmi Babcock won over James Blood. The last page, tacked on as if it were a separate note, gave a brief summary of where influential leaders were currently located, so Higginson would know of their whereabouts.

Keywords: Babcock, Carmi William; Blood, James; Branscomb, Charles H.; Constitutional conventions; Conway, Martin Franklin; Free state perspective; Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 1823-1911; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Lecompton Constitution; Minneola, Kansas Territory; Plumb, Preston B., 1837-1891; Roberts, William Young; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913

Journal, Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, Afternoon Session
Author: Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913
Date: March 26, 1858

Kansas's third constitutional convention, convened at Minneola, Franklin County, on March 23, 1858, elected officers (including Samuel F. Tappan, secretary), and then adjourned to reconvene at Leavenworth on March 25. During the afternoon session, March 26, 1858, some interesting debate occurred regarding the viability of the Topeka Constitution, and a minority of the Leavenworth delegates reaffirmed their support for the 1855 instrument. (The Leavenworth Convention nevertheless drafted and adopted a new constitution, and adjourned on April 3, 1858.)

Keywords: Arny, W. F. M. (William Frederick Milton), 1813-1881; Constitutions; Conway, Martin Franklin; Free State Party; Goodin, Joel Kishler; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Topeka Constitution; Winchell, James M., 1823-1877

Journal, Leavenworth Constitutional Convention
Author: Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913
Date: March 31, 1858

During the course of the convention's business on Wednesday, March 31, 1858, the delegates took up the article on "elective Franchise reported back from Committee on Phraseology." Samuel N. Wood's motion "to strike out the word 'male'" failed, 21 to 35, but interestingly, the yeas and nays were recorded. The votes for the unsuccessful effort to insert the word "white" were also recorded.

Keywords: Constitutions; Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Plumb, Preston B., 1837-1891; Ritchie, John, 1817-1887; Suffrage; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Thacher, Timothy D., 1831-1894; Wood, S. N. (Samuel Newitt)

Journal, Leavenworth Constitutional Convention
Author: Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913
Date: April 1, 1858

The delegates considered the "Homestead Exemption" during the morning session, April 1, 1858. The provision was amended so as to make the basic exemption 160 acres or not over $2,000. The vote on this was recorded, and the yeas and nays are followed by numerous explanations--delegates who voted nay but not because they opposed the concept.

Keywords: Constitutions; Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896; Homestead exemptions; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Ritchie, John, 1817-1887; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Thacher, Timothy D., 1831-1894; Winans, A. L.; Wood, S. N. (Samuel Newitt)

Journal, Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, April 1, 1858
Author: Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913
Date: April 1, 1858

On Thursday afternoon, April 1, the delegates began considering the proposed constitution in its entirety. When they reached Article II, the elective franchise, Hampton P. Johnson of Leavenworth, "moved to insert the word 'white' before the word 'male'." Jim Lane's motion to refer the matter to a special committee failed, as did B.B. Newton's motion to table "the whole subject"--yeas 35, nays 41. The yeas and nays were recorded. Among those voting to table, and thus to stifle the effort to add the word "white," were Lane, Ritchie, Preston B. Plumb, Thacher, and Amasa Soule.

Keywords: Constitutions; Johnson, Hampton P.; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Newton, B. B.; Plumb, Preston B., 1837-1891; Ritchie, John, 1817-1887; Soule, Amasa; Suffrage; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Thacher, Timothy D., 1831-1894; Winchell, James M., 1823-1877

Journal, Leavenworth Constitutional Convention
Author: Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913
Date: April 2, 1858

When the convention considered Article 7, Education, near the end of the afternoon session on Friday, April 2, James Davis of Leavenworth moved to insert "white" before "child," but Sam Wood's motion to table passed 44 to 36. The yeas and nays were recorded.

Keywords: Adams, F. G. (Franklin George), 1824-1899; African Americans; American Indians (see also Native Americans); Arny, W. F. M. (William Frederick Milton), 1813-1881; Constitutions; Davis, James; Education; Goodnow, Isaac T., 1814-1894; Harvey, Henry; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Ritchie, John, 1817-1887; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Thacher, Timothy D., 1831-1894; Winchell, James M., 1823-1877; Wood, S. N. (Samuel Newitt)

Journal, Leavenworth Constitutional Convention
Author: Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913
Date: April 2, 1858

At the beginning of the afternoon session, Friday, April 2, 1858, suffrage was briefly discussed, with Samuel N. Wood moving to strike "male" wherever it occurred in the instrument and "to insert after the word 'he' the words 'or she' . . ." The motion failed, but 20 delegates supported what arguably amounted to an equal rights amendment for women. The yeas and nays were recorded.

Keywords: Adams, F. G. (Franklin George), 1824-1899; Arny, W. F. M. (William Frederick Milton), 1813-1881; Constitutions; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Ritchie, John, 1817-1887; Suffrage; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Thacher, Timothy D., 1831-1894; Winchell, James M., 1823-1877; Women; Womens rights; Wood, S. N. (Samuel Newitt)

Journal, Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, April 2, 1858
Author: Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913
Date: April 2, 1858

After considering a few other issues, such as the selection of Topeka as "the temporary seat of Government," the convention took up the motion from the previous day on the elective franchise, with T. D. Thacher explaining that his select committee had considered the insertion of the word "white" and "unanimously report against its insertion." After some debate over procedure, Thacher offered an amendment that instructed the first legislature to put "the question of universal suffrage to the people at the general elections." The amendment passed, 50 to 29.

Keywords: Arny, W. F. M. (William Frederick Milton), 1813-1881; Capitals (cities); Constitutions; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitution; Roberts, William Young; Suffrage; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Thacher, Timothy D., 1831-1894; Topeka, Kansas Territory; Winchell, James M., 1823-1877

Leavenworth Constitution (manuscript version)
Author: Leavenworth Constitutional Convention
Date: April 3, 1858

The Leavenworth Constitution was the most radical of the four constitutions drafted for Kansas Territory. The Bill of Rights refers to "all men" and prohibited slavery from the state. The word "white" did not appear in the proposed document and therefore would not have excluded free blacks from the state. Article XVI, Section 3 directed the general assembly to provide some protection for the rights of women. The Leavenworth Constitution was ratified on May 18, 1858 but the U.S. Senate did not act to approve the document.

Keywords: African Americans; Constitutional conventions; Constitutions; Conway, Martin Franklin; Free state activities; Leavenworth Constitution; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Suffrage; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Womens rights

Address of the Constitutional Convention to American Public
Author: Address committee. John Morgan Walden, James Fletcher, et al
Date: April 3, 1858

A committee made up of John M. Walden, James Fletcher, Thomas Ewing, Jr., Isaac T. Goodnow, Henry J. Adams, T. Dwight Thacher, and Addison Danford prepared this eleven-page manuscript "address to accompany the instrument" adopted at the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. The statement essentially laid out the philosophical foundations and rationale for the new document. It argued that the facts showed the overwhelming majority of Kansans desired admission as a free state.

Keywords: Adams, Henry J.; Danford, Addison; Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896; Fletcher, James; Free State Party; Goodnow, Isaac T., 1814-1894; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Lecompton Constitution; Proslavery activities; Slave power; Thacher, Timothy D., 1831-1894; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); United States. Congress; Walden, John Morgan

Journal, Leavenworth Constitutional Convention
Author: Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913
Date: April 3, 1858

At the final session, Saturday afternoon, April 3, 1858, all the delegates signed the convention's proposed constitution, but several took the opportunity to make one last protest of the inclusion of "negro suffrage" because they believed their constituents opposed it and/or insisted that the instrument did "not extend the right of suffrage to negroes." This protest included Caleb May of Atchison County, the entire Linn County delegation (Addison Danford, Robert B. Mitchell, Thomas H. Butler, and Robert Ewing), and A. W. McCauslin of Jefferson County. The latter also expressed concern about the Education clause, "which appears to permit colored children to go to Common Schools with white children" and "the subject of negro immigration."

Keywords: African Americans; Atchison County, Kansas Territory; Butler, Thomas H.; Constitutions; Danford, Addison; Education; Ewing, Robert; Jefferson County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Linn County, Kansas Territory; May, Caleb; McCauslin, A. W.; Mitchell, Robert Byington; Suffrage; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913

Leavenworth Constitution as published in D.W. Wilder's, The Annals of Kansas (1886)
Author: Leavenworth Constitutional Convention
Date: April 3, 1858

The Leavenworth Constitution was the most radical of the four constitutions drafted for Kansas Territory. The Bill of Rights refers to "all men" and prohibited slavery from the state. The word "white" did not appear in the proposed document and therefore would not have excluded free blacks from the state. Article XVI, Section 3 (p. 227) directed the general assembly to provide some protection for the rights of women. The Leavenworth Constitution was ratified on May 18, 1858 but the U.S. Senate did not act to approve the document.

Keywords: African Americans; Constitutional conventions; Constitutions; Conway, Martin Franklin; Free state activities; Leavenworth Constitution; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Suffrage; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Womens rights

Letter, Sam F. Tappan to Dear Friend [Thomas W. Higginson]
Author: Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913
Date: April 7, 1858

Samuel F. Tappan of Lawrence wrote this letter to Thomas Higginson, informing him that the last letter he received from Higginson was lost in the Kansas River while Tappan was crossing it on horseback. Tappan also told Higginson that he had been elected secretary of the Leavenworth constitutional convention meeting that month. He discussed in detail the turn out of the votes concerning negro suffrage and women's suffrage, and mentioned the joyful reaction to the defeat of a Senate bill. According to Tappan, the border warfare had ceased and "it is almost impossible to excite a war spirit in Kanzas," further stating that "we rely wholly upon numbers now, and not upon Sharp's rifles." He expressed interest in having more women emigrate to Kansas, writing that "the fact is, women are scarce in Kansas and unmarried men numerous."

Keywords: African Americans; Constitutional conventions; Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 1823-1911; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Slaves; Suffrage; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Voting; Women Suffrage

Letter, E. B. Whitman to George L. Stearns
Author: Whitman, E. B.
Date: April 13, 1858

Whitman wrote a rather lengthy update on the Kansas situation for Stearns, focusing on the political machinations of the previous few and the uncertain situation created by the Lecompton debate. Of territorial leadership, Whitman observed: "While Kansas is blessed with many of the truest men of the age, men who are fully up to the emergency, she is also cursed with some of the most unprincipled demagogues that ever afflicted any country." There was much confusion and disagreement about the best course of action for free state men to take, now that many acknowledge the death of the Topeka movement. He then turned to the work of the Minneola/Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March 1858.

Keywords: Conway, Martin Franklin; Denver, James William, 1817-1892; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Free State Party; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Lecompton Constitution; Minneola, Kansas Territory; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); United States. Congress; Whitman, E. B.

Letter, E. B. Whitman to Geo. L. Stearns Esq.
Author: Whitman, E. B.
Date: April 30, 1858

Whitman's April 30, 1858, letter to Stearns described the harmonious work conducted by the "State Convention" and its nomination of state officers under the Leavenworth Constitution. That movement, he told Stearns, would probably not "amount to much if the Lecompton Constitution is rejected. He also mentioned continued tension in Bourbon County and the route of U.S. troops by "the free State boys" of Fort Scott.

Keywords: Adams, Henry J.; Conway, Martin Franklin; Denver, James William, 1817-1892; Fort Scott, Kansas Territory; Free State Convention; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Leavenworth Constitution; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Lecompton Constitution; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Territorial government; United States. Army; Whitman, E. B.

Photograph, Franklin G. Adams
Author: No authors specified.
Date:

F. G. Adams was a member of the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. He also served as an election judge for the second vote on the Lecompton Constitution, living in Atchison at the time. In 1875, he became the first secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society.

Keywords: Adams, F. G. (Franklin George), 1824-1899; Atchison County, Kansas Territory; Atchison, Kansas Territory; Cabinet photographs; Constitutions; Photographs and Illustrations

Photograph, Addison Danford
Author: Jacoby
Date:

Addison Danford was a free state supporter and served as a delegate to the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. At the time, he lived in Linn County. He moved to Fort Scott, Bourbon County, and served as Adjutant General of Kansas after the Civil War.

Keywords: Cabinet photographs; Danford, Addison; Jacoby; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Linn County, Kansas Territory; Photographs and Illustrations

Photograph, Robert B. Mitchell
Author: Nichols, A. C., Photographer
Date:

Robert B. Mitchell settled in Paris, Linn County, Kansas Territory, in 1856. He was born in Ohio and studied law. He was active in free state territorial politics. He served in the territorial House of Representatives in 1857 and 1858, was a member of the Leavenworth constitutional convention, and was appointed territorial treasurer on February 11, 1859. He was part of the free state supporters who followed Charles Hamilton and his band after the Marais des Cygnes massacre. After the territorial period he served as a brigadier general in the Second kansas volunteer cavalry and held the appointive post of governor of Nnew Mexico from 1866 to 1869.

Keywords: Constitutional conventions; Free state supporters; Kansas Territory. Legislature; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Linn County, Kansas Territory; Marais des Cygnes Massacre; Mitchell, Robert Byington; Paris, Kansas Territory

Photograph, Samuel F. Tappan
Author: No authors specified.
Date:

Samuel F. Tappan was born in Massachusetts and came to Kansas when he was in his twenties. He listed his occupation as a journalist but was best known as secretary at the Leavenworth and Wyandotte Constitutional conventions. He was a free state supporter and settled in Lawrence. This image was taken a number of years after the territorial era.

Keywords: Constitutions; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth Constitution; Photographs and Illustrations; Tappan, S. F. (Samuel Forster), d. 1913; Wyandotte Constitution

Photograph, Charles A. Foster
Author: Skinner, photographer
Date:

Charles A. Foster was a delegate to the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. He came to Kansas from Massachusetts.

Keywords: Card photographs; Foster, Charles A.; Leavenworth Constitution; Photographs and Illustrations; Skinner, photographer

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Photograph, William Frederick Milton Arny
Authors: No authors specified.
Date:  Circa 1856
W. F. M. Arny was active in numerous territorial Kansas activities, serving as an agent for the National Kansas Committee and as a delegate to the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. He was a member of the 1858 territorial legislature and the Topeka legislature. The identification on this photograph indicates that this is a disguise he used in Missouri in 1856.

Keywords: Arny, W. F. M. (William Frederick Milton), 1813-1881; Card photographs; Free state supporters; Kansas Territory. Legislature; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; National Kansas Committee; Photographs and Illustrations


An Act to provide for the election of Delegates to a Convention to frame a State Constitution
Authors: Deitzler, George W.
Date:  1858
This act pertains to the election of delegates to the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention.

Keywords: Babcock, Carmi William; Deitzler, George W.; Election, Leavenworth Constitution ratification, May 1858; Kansas Territory. Legislature; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Voting


Beware of frauds! Down with the disorganizers!
Authors: Central Committee
Date:  1858
Discussion of the slate of candidates for a constitutional convention (Leavenworth?), cautioning free state men to beware of attempts to divide them and thus weaken their ability to challenge the pro-slavery force. It also warns about split Free State tickets.

Keywords: Abbott, James Burnett; Emery, James Stanley; Free State Convention; Free State Party; Johnson County, Kansas Territory; Kansas Central Committee; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Wood, S. N. (Samuel Newitt)


Letter, I. T. Goodnow to Friend Sherman
Authors: Goodnow, Isaac T., 1814-1894
Date:  April 1 & 3, 1858
Isaac Goodnow wrote from Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, to a friend, expressing his excitement and support for the Leavenworth Constitution. The status of the Lecompton Constitution was currently being debated in Congress, but Goodnow predicted its "destruction". Goodnow described the events of the Constitutional Convention, which had first convened in Minneola, but had been removed to Leavenworth. He stated that the finished constitution was" the best Constitution in existence", and remarked at James Lane's leading role in its development.

Keywords: Conway, Martin Franklin; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitution; Minneola, Kansas Territory; Prohibition; Topeka Constitution


Letter, E. B. Whitman to My dear friend [Franklin B.] Sanborn
Authors: Whitman, E. B.
Date:  January 16, 1858
E. B. Whitman wrote Sanborn this lengthy letter from Lawrence, describing the political events that had unfolded in the territory since the October 5, 1857, election. Among many other things, he mentioned the split that took the "National democrats" out of the movement over the issue of participation in the state elections under the Lecompton Constitution, January 1857. This "Free State ticket" was, according to Whitman, "a disgrace to the cause," but it attracted a good number of votes and won "a good working majority in both houses and so our people proclaim a victory." Whitman, who had long been a faithful supporter, was seemingly losing confidence in John Brown, as were "the people."

Keywords: Bogus laws; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Calhoun, John; Conway, Martin Franklin; Democratic Party (U.S.); Education; Election fraud; Election, Lecompton Constitution ratification, December 1857; Elections; Free State Party; Free state legislature; Herald of Freedom; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Lecompton Constitution; Massachusetts State Kansas Committee; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Territorial government; United States. Congress; United States. Senate; Whitman, E. B.


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