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Territory - History

Territory - History


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The Capital

This section (Article I, Section 8, clause 17 of the Constitution) anticipated the creation of the District of Columbia, and also insured that federal law applies to all Federal buildings and military installations, regardless of the state in which they are located."

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"The Congress shall have power ... to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings."


Mississippi’s Territorial Years: A Momentous and Contentious Affair (1798-1817)

After centuries of control by several European powers, the land that would become Mississippi became a part of the United States at the close of the 18th century. For the next twenty years, the Mississippi Territory featured international controversy, the arduous establishment of an American government, a flood of immigration, a bitter war, and a divisive path towards statehood. These events remain significant today for their importance in understanding both the state’s founding and their influence in shaping much of Mississippi’s early development.


Territory

We understand this is kind of new territory for many governments and companies.

Tech stocks have risen so far and fast in the past year, that even as they recently shrugged off a record-fast dive into correction territory , many on the Street have been positing this may be another tech bubble, akin to 2000.

The Nasdaq is roughly a half-percent away from returning to correction territory .

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed US financial data into extreme territory .

They may cut across roads and highways to get to the different parts of their territory .

“Altamirano has always been a disputed territory ,” said Father Javier.

When they invade new territory , populations are low, and the queen has limited mate options.

But there is a messy middle territory between demonization and idealization.

"We live on enormous territory , our eyes have different shapes, we believe in different religions," she said.

Assad-affiliated Christian militias skirt around the territory of rival groups aligned with the YPG.

If those jaspers flash any part of the roll in the Territory before snowfall, I'll get them.

Thus four thousand Indians at most roam through, rather than occupy, these vast stretches of inland territory and sea-shore.

The goods manager was not aggressive, and it was sometimes thought that Mathieson inclined to encroach upon his territory .

Poindexter and Cobb had now come back into the territory that was commanded by Colonel Guitar.

Their territory extended 400 miles on the Atlantic coast, and "from the Atlantic westward to the South sea."


Houston Territory

Throughout a majority of professional wrestling’s long history, the state of Texas has been home to some of the toughest brawlers, wildest personalities and most entertaining action that a wrestling fan could hope to find. Although there are records of pro bouts taking place in Houston as early as 1915, the rich tradition of professional wrestling in Texas essentially began in 1922, when promoter Julius Sigel first began holding events at Houston’s new City Auditorium. From the beginning, Sigel made sure that his events featured the best performers that the sport had to offer. Meanwhile, his business acumen and promotional techniques soon resulted in a large and loyal following for pro wrestling in the city of Houston. In 1925, Sigel brought his brother Morris into the business and wrestling’s popularity in the city continued to grow. With the Houston operation prospering, Julius Sigel eventually left to try his hand at promoting markets in Louisiana and Northern Texas. Upon his departure, he placed the Houston promotion in the capable hands of his younger brother Morris who, by 1929, had taken full control of the parent company for Houston wrestling, the Gulf Athletic Club.

Professional wrestling in Houston continued to thrive under the leadership of Morris Sigel, and over the course of the following three decades it maintained a position of one of the top ten markets in the country for the sport. While he did not have a background in wrestling, Sigel was an astute businessman and a creative thinker who simply compensated for any shortcomings in specific product knowledge by surrounding himself with men who were highly capable in all facets of the wrestling business. A prime example of this philosophy came in 1948, when Sigel hired former wrestler Paul Boesch. Having had his career in the ring cut short due to an auto accident, Boesch became a very popular TV announcer for Sigel, a position Boesch maintained for decades. However, unbeknownst to the large Houston fanbase, the majority of Boesch’s duties at the Gulf Athletic Club took place behind the scenes, where he worked as a matchmaker, trainer and promotional consultant. When Morris Sigel passed away in December 26, 1966, Boesch bought the Gulf Coast Athletic Club from his mentor’s widow and proceeded to take the promotion to even greater heights of popularity in “Space City.” Known to the public as a popular TV personality and local civic leader, Paul Boesch was regarded by those within the industry as a fair boss, a generous payoff man, and a highly respected promoter. Similar to Sam Muchnick’s business model in St. Louis, the Houston promotion did not meet the standard definition of a “territory.” Paul Boesch (and his predecessors) promoted only in the city of Houston and the company did not maintain its own roster of athletes. Furthermore, while there were countless championship matches that took place in Houston. including an NWA World title switch between Harley Race and Jack Brisco in 1973, the Gulf Athletic Club did not recognize its own championship titles. Instead, Houston’s promoters enlisted the aid of various booking offices within Texas while also supplementing their cards with cherry-picked talent from across the country.

Over the course of a twenty-year time period, Paul Boesch worked with Fritz Von Erich’s Dallas promotion, Joe Blanchard’s San Antonio group, Bill Watts’ Mid South/UWF and, finally, Vince McMahon’s WWF to provide talent for his cards at the Sam Houston Coliseum. By using an individual booking office while also negotiating on his own with in the biggest stars from promotions around the country, Boesch offered his fans “dream matches” on a regular basis and events that could be seen nowhere else but Houston. Whether he was affiliated with the NWA or, later, the AWA, it was not uncommon for Houston fans to be treated to a night of wrestling that featured the World champions from two or more leagues on the same card, as well as special appearances and rare inter-promotional matches between the biggest stars of the day. It was a formula that worked extremely well for more than two decades and Boesch’s popular KHTV program, Houston Wrestling, remained in its highly-rated timeslot for nearly forty years. Yet, despite the benefits, by depending on an outside booking office to supply the bulk of his talent, Boesch also set himself up for inevitable conflicts with that supplier, be it Adkisson, Blanchard, Watts or McMahon. Although the time he spent working with Bill Watts during the 1980s proved to be the most financially profitable years for Boesch’s promotion, his relationship with Watts eventually soured and when the UWF was purchased by Jim Crockett’s NWA group, Boesch instead made the unexpected choice of partnering with the World Wrestling Federation. However, his relationship with Vince McMahon and the WWF was plagued with issues nearly from the beginning. Believing that McMahon had broken multiple promises and feeling frustrated due to numerous no-shows by WWF performers, Boesch ended his partnership with Titan Sports after just four months. Following more than 20 years of promoting in Houston, Boesch announced his retirement and held his final card, a star-studded farewell show on August 28, 1987 before a sold-out crowd of over 12,000. Approximately a year later Boesch made a brief return to wrestling, helping Jim Crockett promote Houston and serving as a figurehead NWA Board member when Crockett’s company began holding events in the city. However, crowds were not large and the NWA quickly ceased running shows there. Paul Boesch retired once more, permanently this time, and the unique relationship that the city of Houston shared with professional wrestling was forever ended.


Territory - History

HOW IOWA BECAME A TERRITORY

For a number of years after the purchase of Louisiana in 1803 there were very few white men in the land we now call Iowa. Since there were so few white people really living in this country, the United States government did not pay much attention to it. At first all the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase was called the District of Louisiana. It was to be governed by the Territory of Indiana.

Most of the people who lived west of the Mississippi River lived south of what is now Iowa. They did not want to belong to the Territory of Indiana. You see, most of them wanted to won slaves to help them raise cotton, sugar, and tobacco. But the laws of Indiana did not permit slavery. To satisfy these people, the United States in 1805 created the Territory of Louisiana, including all of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 33d parallel of latitude. This gave people the right to take slaves into this western territory.

In 1812, Congress admitted the State of Louisiana into the Union. This included the southern part of the Louisiana Purchase. The northern part, which had been called the Territory of Louisiana, now became the Territory of Missouri. Soon Missouri, too, wanted to be admitted as a state. After a great deal of discussion, chiefly as to whether slavery should be permitted, Missouri was admitted to the Union in 1821.

All of the country north of the northern boundary of Missouri was left without any government at all. It was a political orphan and had no one to take care of it. The men at Washington did not think that settlers would cross the Mississippi. Indeed, the territory did not at this time have even a name. But some white settlers did cross the river, and after the Black Hawk War was over, many came over to the western side of the Mississippi River.

At Dubuque there were soon a number of miners, and there were some farmers and traders, too. But still there was no real government - no governor, no sheriff, no police, no judges, no legislature to make laws, no roads.

At first the settlers did not mind this lack of government. Each man worked the mine or farm he had chosen. He could not buy it, for the land still belonged to the Indians, but he could live on his claim and he expected to have the first chance to buy it when it was for sale.

But soon a terrible crime occurred at Dubuque. A miner was killed, and the murderer said that no one could punish him because there was no government and no law against murder. The other settlers decided to make a law of their own, so they held a trial and put to death the man who had committed the murder.

Then the officers at Washington decided that this new land needed some laws. Congress put all this western country north of Missouri under the government of Michigan Territory, which was organized in June, 1834. The land across the Mississippi River which the Indians had sold was called the Black Hawk Purchase. It was divided into two counties, the northern, called Dubuque County, and the southern, Demoine County. The governor of Michigan Territory appointed a chief justice and sheriff in each county so there would be some one to punish persons who committed crimes.

To help keep order along the frontier, the United States government also sent three companies of dragoons. They built a fort on the Mississippi River just above the mouth of the Des Moines River. They called this Fort Des Moines, but it was not the place we know by that name to-day. In the spring of 1835 these dragoons, you remember, made a long journey on horseback, going north into what is now Minnesota. It was Albert M. Lea, one of the officers of the dragoons, who applied the name Iowa District to the country he had seen.

By this time Michigan wanted to be admitted as a state. So all the country west of Lake Michigan, including Iowa, Minnesota, and even North and South Dakota, was made a separate territory and named Wisconsin. This was in April, 1836. The new governor of Wisconsin Territory was Henry Dodge. One of the first things he did was to order a census or count of all the white people in the territory. They found that there were 10,531 white people in Dubuque and Demoine Counties.

The first territorial legislature met at Belmont in what is now Wisconsin. Eighteen of the members came from west of the Mississippi River and nineteen from the part of the territory east of the Mississippi. This legislature soon organized some new counties in the territory west of the river. It also selected a capital for the new territory. After much discussion Madison was chosen, but while the capital was being built the legislature decided to meet at Burlington. So the first capital in Iowa was at Burlington, but Iowa was then part of Wisconsin Territory. In November, 1837, the legislature of Wisconsin Territory met at Burlington. This was the first legislative body to meet within the present boundaries of Iowa. A wooden building had been erected for the meetings of the legislature, but it burned and the sessions were held in the Methodist church, called Old Zion.

Not very much was done at this session. Every one knew that the territory west of the Mississippi River was to be separated from Wisconsin. Already a petition for a separate territory had been sent to Congress. Some of the senators and representatives in Congress did not want to form another territory. Men like John C. Calhoun of South Carolina objected, because he knew that nay territory organized north of Missouri could not come into the Union with slavery. He and his friends did not want any more free states. You know that each state always has two senators and at least one representative, and Calhoun was sure that the senators and representatives from a free state would vote against slavery.

But there were other men in Congress who did not agree with Calhoun. They thought that the pioneers west of the Mississippi River had a right to a government of their own. The new territory was to include all the land west of the Mississippi River and north of Missouri, as far as the Rocky Mountains and the northern boundary of the United States.

They they had to give this new territory a name. Some wanted to call it Washington. Others thought Jefferson would be a good name. Finally they decided to use the name of Albert M. Lea had given the country. They called the new territory Iowa.

On the twelfth day of June, 1838, President Martin Van Buren signed the bill which created the Territory of Iowa. It went into effect on the fourth of July. The President also appointed a governor and secretary for the new territory and three justices of the territorial supreme court. The people were to elect the legislature.

The new governor was Robert Lucas, who had been governor of Ohio. Governor Lucas was a man much like Andrew Jackson in appearance - tall and slender, with a sharp nows, thin lips, heavy eyebrows over deep-set eyes, and heavy gray hair combed back from a high forehead. He quarrelled with Secretary Conway and with the members of the legislature. But Governor Lucas was honest and intended to act for the benefit of the people.

The governor decided to make Burlington the capital of the new territory until the legislature selected another location for it. The first election was held on September 10, 1838. W. W. Chapman was chosen delegate to Congress. You know, each territory has a delegate who may speak for his territory but may not vote. The people also elected thirty-nine members of the Iowa territorial legislature.

There were many questions for the new legislature to decide. One of them was the location of the capital. Every town in Iowa wanted it. To settle the claims, the legislature decided to start a new city in Johnson County to be called Iowa City. The cornerstone of the new capitol building was laid on July 4, 1840. But it took a long time to build the stone capitol. In 1841 a man named Walter Butler built a frame building and here the legislature met in Iowa City for the first time in the fall of 1841. It was not until 1842 that the stone capitol could be used.

Robert Lucas served as governor of Iowa Territory from 1838 to 1841. John Chambers was governor from 1841 to 1845, and James Clarke from 1845 to 1846, when Iowa became a state. How Iowa became a state is another story.


Yukon

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Yukon, formerly Yukon Territory, territory of northwestern Canada, an area of rugged mountains and high plateaus. It is bounded by the Northwest Territories to the east, by British Columbia to the south, and by the U.S. state of Alaska to the west, and it extends northward above the Arctic Circle to the Beaufort Sea. The capital is Whitehorse.

The mineral wealth of Yukon has been known since the famous Klondike gold rush of the later 1890s, but the combination of an Arctic climate and remoteness from markets has limited the economic exploitation of such resources and the development of modern settlement. Instead, the territory remains among the few frontiers on the North American continent, a sparsely populated and largely unspoiled wilderness. Area 186,272 square miles (482,443 square km). Pop. (2016) 35,874 (2019 est.) 40,854.


The Oklahoma land rush begins

At precisely high noon, thousands of would-be settlers make a mad dash into the newly opened Oklahoma Territory to claim cheap land.

The nearly two million acres of land opened up to white settlement was located in Indian Territory, a large area that once encompassed much of modern-day Oklahoma. Initially considered unsuitable for white colonization, Indian Territory was thought to be an ideal place to relocate Native Americans who were removed from their traditional lands to make way for white settlement. The relocations began in 1817, and by the 1880s, Indian Territory was a new home to a variety of tribes, including the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Cheyenne, Commanche and Apache.

By the 1890s, improved agricultural and ranching techniques led some white Americans to realize that the Indian Territory land could be valuable, and they pressured the U.S. government to allow white settlement in the region. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison agreed, making the first of a long series of authorizations that eventually removed most of Indian Territory from Indian control.

To begin the process of white settlement, Harrison chose to open a 1.9 million-acre section of Indian Territory that the government had never assigned to any specific tribe. However, subsequent openings of sections that were designated to specific tribes were achieved primarily through the Dawes Severalty Act (1887), which allowed whites to settle large swaths of land that had previously been designated to specific Indian tribes.

On March 3, 1889, Harrison announced the government would open the 1.9 million-acre tract of Indian Territory for settlement precisely at noon on April 22. Anyone could join the race for the land, but no one was supposed to jump the gun. With only seven weeks to prepare, land-hungry Americans quickly began to gather around the borders of the irregular rectangle of territory. Referred to as 𠇋oomers,” by the appointed day more than 50,000 hopefuls were living in tent cities on all four sides of the territory.

The events that day at Fort Reno on the western border were typical. At 11:50 a.m., soldiers called for everyone to form a line. When the hands of the clock reached noon, the cannon of the fort boomed, and the soldiers signaled the settlers to start. With the crack of hundreds of whips, thousands of Boomers streamed into the territory in wagons, on horseback, and on foot. All told, from 50,000 to 60,000 settlers entered the territory that day. By nightfall, they had staked thousands of claims either on town lots or quarter section farm plots. Towns like Norman, Oklahoma City, Kingfisher, and Guthrie sprang into being almost overnight.

An extraordinary display of the American settler lust for land, the first Oklahoma land rush was also plagued by greed and fraud. Cases involving “Sooners”–people who had entered the territory before the legal date and time–overloaded courts for years to come. The government attempted to operate subsequent runs with more controls, eventually adopting a lottery system to designate claims. By 1905, white Americans owned most of the land in Indian Territory. Two years later, the area once known as Indian Territory entered the Union as a part of the new state of Oklahoma.


Territorial Period and Early Statehood

Mississippi Territory The early history of Alabama as a territory and a state was marked by an increasing number of Americans migrating into the region that, with the United States' continual expansion westward, became known as the "Old Southwest." As these migrants, rich and poor, white and black, free and enslaved, travelled southward, they brought with them traditions of government, labor, culture, and social order, all of which would shape life on America's southern frontier. The period was marked by turbulent relations with Native Americans, the development of a cotton-based economy dependent on enslaved labor, and political conflict between two political factions within state government, one based in the Black Belt region and the other centered in the northern hill country. Benjamin Hawkins and the Creek Indians Alabama's Native American residents, predominantly members of the Creek, Cherokee, and Choctaw nations, played a central role during the state's territorial period as conflicts between Indians and white settlers during the early 1800s paved the way for the creation of the state of Alabama. Indian frustrations over white land claims and the resulting Creek War of 1813-14 were rooted in the policies known as the "plan of civilization" initiated during Pres. George Washington's administration. With orders from the federal government, Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins pressed southeastern Indians to adopt white methods of education, agriculture, and labor systems that relied on enslaved African Americans and urged them to accept white clothing styles, gender roles, and Christianity. White expansionists felt that by accepting these and other characteristics, Native Americans would assimilate into mainstream American culture and abandon their vast hunting lands more quickly to white settlers. Not all Indian peoples resisted the transformation. One eighteenth-century Creek leader who embraced aspects of both European and Creek culture was Alexander McGillivray, the son of a prominent Creek woman and a Scottish deerskin trader who ultimately became one of Georgia's leading citizens. Well-read and affluent, McGillivray emerged in the 1780s and 1790s as an influential politician who bridged the divide between early American leaders and Creek peoples by centralizing Creek power and managing the affairs of the Creek Nation. Ultimately, he was recognized by the Washington administration as the most important of the Creek leaders. Yet, the opportunity to expose internal division in Indian societies over "civilization" presented itself as the War of 1812 between Americans and the British seemingly ran parallel with the internal Creek War in the southeastern United States. During the Creek War, the United States sided with the Lower Creeks led by men like McGillivray who had accepted and profited from the new order but who were directly challenged by Upper Creeks engaged in a religious revival movement centered on defending "traditional" Indian life. The pan-Indian leader Tecumseh and his Massacre at Fort Mims followers, known as Red Sticks, led this movement to reject white culture. Andrew Jackson's defeat of the Creek insurgency at Tohopeka, or Horseshoe Bend, in March 1814 won him national fame for subduing Indian opposition to white expansion. This and other engagements like those at or Burnt Corn Creek and Fort Mims demonstrated the complexity of the evolving relationships between white Americans, Indian residents, and their mixed-ancestry children on the Alabama frontier. Jackson's own presidency ensured that the Creek War was not the last time the Indian inhabitants of Alabama would be forced to deal with the federal government's support of white expansion. Treaty of Fort Jackson Whereas some historians have considered the land-hungry migrants from neighboring southern states such as Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas as "settlers," other historians view the settlement of Alabama differently. They perceive the migration phenomenon commonly referred to as "catching Alabama fever" as a second wave of in-migration that built upon roughly two centuries of European encroachment. Fueling this influx during the early 1800s was the idea commonly held among white migrants that this new territory represented a frontier filled with opportunity. In the Old Southwest, the possibility of a new beginning enticed migrants whose opportunities for land ownership had narrowed in older southern states. In addition to the poorer whites looking for cheap land came the sons of Virginia and South Carolina planters as well as those who had settled briefly in Georgia, such as members of the Broad River Group. These men carried with them the capital to establish themselves as the frontier's social and political elites. Emerging conflicts between these two classes of new migrants manifested themselves in land sales and the creation of the state's first constitution. William Wyatt Bibb In frontier Alabama, and throughout its formative period, political ideologies clashed and co-mingled as politicians attempted to form a state government that all members of the body politic could support. Alabama's early governors and party stalwarts embraced these ideological debates as interest-group politics emerged. The majority of elite Alabamians concentrated in the Black Belt and in Huntsville supported the "Georgia faction," led by the state's first governor, William Wyatt Bibb (1819-20), and his brother and successor Governor Thomas Bibb (1820-21) individuals from the middling and lower classes sided with governors Israel Pickens (1821-25) and John Murphy (1825-29) as they championed the interests of the "common man" versus those of the landed and monied elite. Early Alabama possessed an active journalistic culture that offered a venue for many of these early political debates to take place. Various newspapers like the Cahawba Press and Alabama Intelligencer and Huntsville's Alabama Republican and Huntsville Democrat demonstrated the regional splits that expanded during Alabama's early decades. This conflict for consensus seems to be most clearly expressed during the negotiations for the permanent seat of the state's capital. Nevertheless, early Alabamians could act collectively when the opportunity to fashion themselves as frontier yet civilized and cultured Americans presented itself. In April 1825, French nobleman and Revolutionary State Capitol at Cahaba war hero the Marquis de la Lafayette journeyed through Alabama and attended lavish balls held in his honor at Montgomery, Cahawba and Mobile, costing the fledgling state an estimated $17,000. Alabamians long delighted in retelling how they entertained the hero the American and French Revolutions even as the experience left the young state facing an exorbitant debt.

Vine and Olive Colony Although settlers of the upper and lower river valleys were involved in some form of agriculture, the centrality of slave labor evolved differently in the two regions. Farmers small and large in these districts had early on experimented with growing indigo, olives, small grains like wheat, and grapes (such as the French settlers of the Vine and Olive Colony), but they soon directed their attention to the emerging cotton culture. The degrees to which Alabamians did so exacerbated regional differences by the close of the 1820s. At the beginning of the 1830s, planters who staked out lands in lower Alabama began raising cotton with the assistance of slave labor, while in the hilly upcountry the majority of the inhabitants' interests centered on small-scale subsistence agriculture. These regional divisions and their continued evolution would go on to affect state politics and daily life for all Alabamians throughout the early nineteenth century.

Abernethy, Thomas Perkins. The Formative Period in Alabama, 1815-1828. 1965. Reprint, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1990.


Northwest Territory

The Northwest Territory, or Old Northwest, refers to the area that became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and a portion of Minnesota. The region comprises more than 260,000 square miles. The area was hotly contested by the major European colonial powers, France and Britain. The French needed access to the area to conduct their fur trade and ship their wares over the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The British viewed the region as the focus of the natural expansion of their seaboard colonies. American colonists formed the Ohio Company in 1747 to profit from the fur trade and western land speculation. The rivalry between the two great powers had been contested in a series of colonial wars, the last of which was the French and Indian War. The British victory in the Seven Years’ War was confirmed in the Treaty of Paris in 1763, in which, among many other things, the French surrendered their claim to the Old Northwest. Later, during the War for Independence, American interests in the area were advanced by the military exploits of George Rogers Clark. Control of the area passed from Britain to the new United States in the Treaty of Paris of 1783. One major bone of contention among the newly independent states in the 1780s was the fact that some of them maintained claims to portions of the West. The so-called “landless” states resented the potential advantages of the “landed” ones. Reluctantly, the landed states surrendered their claims during the 1780s—New York in 1781, Virginia (the Virginia Military District south of the Ohio River) in 1784, Massachusetts in 1785 and Connecticut (the Western Reserve in northern Ohio) in 1785. Once these lands were placed in federal hands, an effort was made to provide for establishing governments in the regions and setting the rules for future statehood. These aims were accomplished in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Despite the promises of Britain to withdraw from the Northwest following the War for Independence, many fur traders and trappers remained behind. During the 1780s, there were far more British citizens on this American soil than Americans. The natives, naturally enough, did not recognize the region as anyone’s possession but their own. The British frontiersmen, who did not present the major threat of widely settling the region, were highly successful in stirring up animosity between the natives and the American frontiersmen, who were a major threat. In the early 1790s, the Washington administration tried and failed to tame a growing Indian confederation effort in the Northwest, but “Mad Anthony” Wayne quieted matters with a victory in the Battle of Fallen Timbers (1794) and the ensuing Treaty of Greenville (1795).


Kansas Territory

This place we now call Kansas was "unorganized" territory prior to 1854. It was the home of numerous Indian peoples including the Plains tribes and less nomadic Indians such as the Kansas, Pawnees, and Osages. As part of "Indian Country," this land was shared after 1830 with about 20 different tribes from east of the Mississippi River, resettled west of Missouri under the federal government's Indian removal policy.

With the ever-increasing desire for further westward expansion, however, the federal government commenced the negotiation of another Indian removal in 1853. The U.S. Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Bill in May 1854. By the fall of that year, the tide of Euro-American settlement was rolling over the prairies of eastern Kansas&mdashdisplacing the native population. These emigrant tribes were, in large measure, removed to lands in the remaining Indian country, which later became Oklahoma.

At mid 19th century, the sectional division within the nation was becoming more and more pronounced. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise's ban on slavery in the northern portion of the old Louisiana Territory, sought yet another compromise to facilitate expansion. In the name of popular sovereignty, settlers themselves, not the U.S. Congress, were to decide the slave question. To the chagrin of Senator Stephen A. Douglas and other champions of this concept, the "compromise" settled nothing indeed, it exacerbated an already tense situation by creating a competitive arena focused on the slavery question. Immediately, partisans on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line targeted Kansas and the question whether it would be slave or free. As the settlers came, this "Kansas question" became the centerpiece of an emotionally charged national debate. In the territory soon called "bleeding Kansas," the two sides squared off in a sometimes-violent contest. Many historians have pointed to the events in Kansas at the time as the place where the Civil War began.

A substantial number of the early contestants came from the proslavery state of Missouri. David Rice Atchison, Missouri's senior senator from Platte City, and the brothers Stringfellow, John H. and Benjamin F., "urged their people to resist the abolitionist plot to surround their state with free territory," and helped establish the proslavery town of Atchison. Leavenworth was founded about the same time, and proslavery partisans gained the early advantage. Soon, however, antislavery forces organized to contest the area. The New England Emigrant Aid Company and other groups formed to promote and support free-state settlement. The first organized band of New Englanders arrived in the territory in July 1854 and founded the city of Lawrence. Before the end of the year, Cyrus K. Holliday and company established the present city of Topeka.

Although Kansas has been referred to as a "child of New England," most of Kansas' territorial settlers were not "Yankees." The majority came neither from the "North" nor the "South," but from the "border." Nearly 60 percent of Kansas' population hailed from the Northern (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, etc.) and Southern (Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, etc.) border states. Most of these folks were more concerned about bettering their economic situation and about available land rights than with settling their nation's slavery question.

Likewise, the territory's first governor, Andrew H. Reeder, could be characterized as ambivalent with respect to the issue of slavery. Events would soon force him to throw his lot with free state partisans, but upon his arrival in 1854, he directed his energies toward the business of land speculation and government. By early 1855 the first territorial census revealed a population of 8,500. The governor called a legislative election for March 30. On that day the infamous "Border Ruffians" appeared on the scene, crossing the border from Missouri to "help" the legitimate electorate make the "correct" political choices. The result was the so-called "bogus legislature." The freestaters' belief that this Missouri-dominated government was illegitimate led to the establishment of the Topeka movement, a shadow government that adopted its own constitution and elected its own legislature until its side took control of the federally recognized government in the fall of 1857.

The political turmoil that emerged from the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill caused serious conflict in Kansas. At the national level, the perception about what was going on in the territory was more important than the reality. Eastern newspapers gave sensational attention to "Bleeding Kansas." In fact, Kansas was not nearly so bloody as the appellation implies, notwithstanding the violent exploits of abolitionist John Brown, proslavery sheriff Sam Jones, and others. The print media did, however, fan the flames. The Kansas imbroglio changed the complexion of national politics. The Republican Party emerged in 1854 to oppose the expansion of slavery in the territories, and soon replaced the Whig Party as the main opposition to the Democratic Party.

During the course of the Kansas struggles, two events of special significance involving the western territories occurred in 1857. Both had a profound impact on the country's apparent inevitable journey toward civil war. The first was the Dred Scott decision, handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 6. This ignoble ruling held that slaves were not citizens of the United States, residency in a "free" state did not alter their status, and that Congress had no authority to ban slavery in the territories. The Missouri Compromise was therefore unconstitutional. The second 1857 event of note was the controversy surrounding the Lecompton Constitution and Kansas' second constitutional convention. This convention was authorized by the proslavery territorial legislature. It met at Lecompton in the fall of that year. In December the convention submitted a document to the voters. The vote of the people was to be on a special slavery article only: a choice between "the constitution with slavery" or "the constitution without slavery." Because a vote "for the constitution without slavery" meant Kansans could keep the slaves they already owned, freestaters refused to participate, and the "constitution with slavery" won 6,266 to 559. Months of controversy followed, featuring a bitter national debate that split the Democratic Party.

In the meantime, however, Kansans elected a new free-state legislature on October 5, 1857, ultimately defeated the Lecompton Constitution at the polls, and wrote and ratified the free-state Wyandotte Constituton in the summer and fall of 1859. As a matter of law, because of the Dred Scott decision, slavery remained legal in Kansas Territory until admission to the Union in 1861. By the time delegates assembled in Wyandotte, however, the central issue was all but decided, so the decision to make Kansas "free" was no surprise. To their credit, the delegates did not adopt a clause excluding any racial groups from participation, but they failed to remove "white" from several significant parts of the document. Thus, the new constitution reflected the common prejudices of 19th-century America in a racially "conservative" document. In other areas, too, the delegates moved forward cautiously for political and ideological reasons. Women, for example, were not granted equal voting rights, but the Wyandotte Constitution allowed them to participate in school district elections, granted them the right to own property, and instructed the legislature to "provide for their equal rights in the possession of their children."

The joy over the adoption of the Wyandotte Constitution and the imminent prospects for statehood were tempered somewhat in late 1859 and 1860 by a severe drought and famine. The big day of admission to the Union, January 29, 1861, was clouded by the prospects of war on the national horizon. The battle for Kansas was finally over, but the conflict, which for the past six years had caused bleeding in Kansas, now engulfed an entire nation.

Territorial era primary sources from the Kansas Historical Society are available online in the Bleeding Kansas portion of Kansas Memory and on a cooperative web site (Territorial Kansas Online) with the Kansas Collection, University of Kansas.

Entry: Kansas Territory

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: April 2010

Date Modified: July 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.


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