When Did Kansas Become a State?

Kansas became a state on January 29, 1861. It was the 34th state to join the United States.

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Kansas was first settled by Native Americans over 12,000 years ago. Spaniards were the first Europeans to visit Kansas, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that American settlers began moving west into the state. Kansas became a territory in 1854, and several years later, the debate over slavery began to tear the nation apart.

Kansas Territory

In May of 1854, a bill was passed in the United States Congress that created the Kansas Territory. The land for the territory was acquired through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and it originally belonged to the Kansas and Nebraska Indian Tribes. The Territory stretched from the Missouri River on its eastern border to the Rocky Mountains on its western border. White settlement was allowed in the Kansas Territory in 1854, and many people moved there in hopes of finding gold or free land.

Border Wars

In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and opened new lands for settlement. The idea was that residents of these territories would vote on whether or not to allow slavery within their borders. This idea, known as “popular sovereignty,” led to conflict between residents who supported slavery (pro-slavery) and those who opposed it (anti-slavery).

The resulting violence, known as “Bleeding Kansas,” culminated in the1856 election of anti-slavery delegate John W. Geary as territorial governor. Pro-slavery forces responded by forming their own government in Lecompton, Kansas. In 1858, pro- and anti-slavery delegates met in Wyandotte, Kansas (now part of Kansas City, Missouri) to draft a state constitution. The resulting document prohibited slavery but was rejected by Congress.

The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 brought an end to efforts to admitted Kansas as a state. However, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill admitting Kansas into the Union as a free state.


In 1861, Kansas became the 34th state of the United States. The statehood process began in 1854 with the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This act allowed the settlers in Kansas to choose whether the state would be a free state or a slave state.

Kansas-Nebraska Act

The Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed by the United States Congress on May 30, 1854. This act created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and was the first time that the concept of “popular sovereignty” had been codified into American law. “Popular sovereignty” is the idea that the people who live in a territory should be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to allow slavery within their borders.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act was a direct response to the passage of the Missouri Compromise in 1820. The Missouri Compromise had banned slavery in all future territories north of latitude 36°30′ N (the southern border of Missouri). Many Americans believed that this compromise had settled the issue of slavery once and for all. However, with the rise of the anti-slavery movement in the North and the pro-slavery movement in the South, tensions over the issue of slavery began to increase.

In 1854, Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act as a way to diffuse these tensions. The act repealed the Missouri Compromise and instead left it up to the people who lived in each territory to decide whether or not to allow slavery. This resulted in an influx of both proslavery and antislavery settlers into Kansas Territory, which quickly descended into violence. The conflict would eventually come to be known as “Bleeding Kansas.”

Although it was meant to ease tensions over slavery, The Kansas-Nebraska Act actually served to further divide North and South and helped set the stage for secession and civil war.

Civil War

The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a civil war in the United States of America. Eleven Southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America, also known as “the Confederacy”. Led by Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy fought against the United States (the Union), which was supported by all twenty-three Northern states. Missouri and Kentucky were neutrality states that did not join either side.


Kansas became a state on January 29, 1861, when it was admitted to the Union as the 34th state. The statehood of Kansas followed a long period of territorial disputes between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States. These disputes culminated in the American Civil War, which resulted in the freedom of all slaves in the United States.

Growth and Development

The years following statehood were difficult ones for Kansas. The new state was beset by droughts, grasshoppers, and floods. Despite these natural disasters, the population of Kansas grew steadily, reaching 1,311,686 by 1900. This growth was based largely on immigration from other states, especially from the South. At the same time, African Americans were migrating to Kansas in search of freedom from slavery and racial oppression.

During the early 1900s, Kansas became an important center of the progressive movement. Progressive reforms were aimed at correcting some of the problems created by industrialization and urbanization, such as monopolies, unsafe working conditions, and political corruption. In 1912 Kansas voters elected Progressive Republican William Allen White as governor. White and other Progressives worked for such reforms as stronger child labor laws and workers’ compensation for industrial accidents.

In the 1920s Kansas underwent a period of economic growth. Farm incomes rose as demand for wheat increased during World War I (1914-1918) and again in the 1920s. The invention of barbed wire and windmills made it possible to farm previously unusable land in western Kansas. New industries also developed in cities such as Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City during this period.

Modern Kansas

Kansas was admitted as a state on January 29, 1861. The state’s population was slave-free, but many Kansas families owned slaves in neighboring Missouri. The Civil War began just a few months after statehood, and Kansas was hotly contested territory throughout the conflict.

After the war, Kansas experienced a period of intense economic growth. This was spurred by the construction of railroads, which brought new settlement and industry to the state. Unfortunately, this growth also led to increased tensions between settlers and Native Americans, leading to several wars in the late 1800s.

Today, Kansas is a thriving Midwestern state with a diversified economy. Agriculture remains important, but manufacturing, healthcare, and education are also major contributors to the state’s economy. And while there are still some tensions between settlers and Native Americans, Kansas is now a peaceful and welcoming place to live.

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