January 29

This Day in History

Civil War

Jan 29, 1861:

Kansas enters the Union as a free state

On this day in 1861, Kansas is admitted to the Union as free state. It was the 34th state to join the Union. The struggle between pro- and anti-slave forces in Kansas was a major factor in the eruption of the Civil War.

In 1854, Kansas and Nebraska were organized as territories with popular sovereignty (popular vote) to decide the issue of slavery. There was really no debate over the issue in Nebraska, as the territory was filled with settlers from the Midwest, where there was no slavery. In Kansas, the situation was much different. Although most of the settlers were anti-slave or abolitionists, there were many pro-slave Missourians lurking just over the border. When residents in the territory voted on the issue, many fraudulent votes were cast from Missouri. This triggered the massive violence that earned the area the name "Bleeding Kansas." Both sides committed atrocities, and the fighting over the issue of slavery was a preview of the Civil War.

Kansas remained one of the most important political questions throughout the 1850s. Each side drafted constitutions, but the anti-slave faction eventually gained the upper hand. Kansas entered the Union as a free state; however, the conflict over slavery in the state continued into the Civil War. Kansas was the scene of some of the most brutal acts of violence during the war. One extreme example was the sacking of Lawrence in 1863, when pro-slave forces murdered nearly 200 men and burned the anti-slave town.

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This Week in History, Jan 29 - Feb 4

Jan 29, 1861
Kansas enters the Union
Jan 30, 1816
Nathaniel Banks born
Jan 31, 1865
House passes the 13th Amendment
Feb 01, 1861
Texas secedes
Feb 02, 1803
Albert Sidney Johnston born
Feb 03, 1865
Hampton Roads Conference
Feb 04, 1861
Provisional Confederate Congress convenes

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