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  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.

Location of Original: KSHS         Call Number: 978.1 Kansas History Pamphlets, v.4, no. 18
Item Number: 102875              Number of images: 16
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
 
 

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