The 1856 Kansas Summer: What Happened?

The 1856 Kansas Summer Blog is about what happened in Kansas during the summer of 1856.

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It was the summer of 1856, and the nation was on the brink of civil war. The question of whether slavery would be allowed in Kansas Territory had driven a wedge between the North and the South, and tensions were running high. That summer, violence erupted in Kansas, with proslavery and antislavery forces battling for control of the territory. Bloodshed continued throughout the fall and winter, until finally, in early 1857, Congress stepped in and admitted Kansas to the Union as a free state.

The Border War

The 1856 Kansas Summer was a time of violence and disorder. The violence was caused by the debate over the issue of slavery and the admission of Kansas into the Union as a slave state or a free state. The summer began with the election of a pro-slavery legislature in Kansas and ended with the seizure of the U.S. arsenal at Harper’s Ferry by anti-slavery forces. In between, there were a number of skirmishes and battles, most notably the Battle of Bull Run.

The “Bloody Kansas” nickname

“Bloody Kansas” is a nickname for the period of violence during the territorial days of Kansas prior to statehood. The violence was caused by the disagreement over whether Kansas would be admitted to the Union as a free state or a slave state. The nickname is particularly associated with the period between May 1856 and November 1858, which saw some of the most brutal fighting of the entire American Civil War.

The election of 1856

The election of 1856 was a turning point in American history. The issues at stake were chiefly those of slavery and states’ rights, and the election saw the rise of the Republican Party as a viable political force. In Kansas, the election was a particularly bloody affair, with violence erupting between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions. This violence would come to be known as “bleeding Kansas” and would eventually lead to the outbreak of the Civil War.

The Dred Scott Decision

The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford is one of the most controversial in the Court’s history. The case was a pivotal moment in the nation’s struggle over the issue of slavery and its expansion into the western territories. The decision also had a profound impact on the development of the constitutional law of federalism.

The case of Dred Scott v. Sandford

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), also known simply as the Dred Scott case, was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held that African Americans, whether enslaved or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court. The Court also held that the U.S. Congress lacked the constitutional authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories, and that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional as it exceeded Congress’s power under the Constitution’s commerce clause.

The ruling of the Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court ruled that African Americans, whether enslaved or free, could never be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court. The Court also ruled that the federal government could not regulate slavery in the federal territories and that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. This decision emboldened slaveholders and caused many northern states to abandon their commitment to gradually end slavery.

The Lecompton Constitution

The Lecompton Constitution was a proposed constitution for the state of Kansas. The constitution was written at the Lecompton Constitutional Convention in Lecompton, Kansas, and was signed by members of the convention on October 4, 1857. The Lecompton Constitution was rejected by the people of Kansas, but it was later ratified by the U.S. Congress. The constitution was a source of great controversy and played a major role in the events leading up to the American Civil War.

The pro-slavery movement in Kansas

The Lecompton Constitution was a pro-slavery constitution created in 1857 to admitted Kansas into the Union as a slave state. The conflict over the constitution led to violence and division in the Kansas Territory and was one of the main events that led to the outbreak of the Civil War.

The Lecompton Constitution was drafted by a constitutional convention that met in the town of Lecompton, Kansas from September 4 to November 21, 1857. The delegates to the convention were elected in a special election held on August 2, 1857. The election was boycotted by many anti-slavery settlers in Kansas, who refused to vote or participate in what they saw as a rigged process. Of the 5,426 votes cast in the election, 3,288 were from pro-slavery districts and 2,138 were from districts where slavery was opposed.

The constitution itself was strongly pro-slavery and included several provisions that favored slaveholders and protected slavery in Kansas. It declared that slaves would be considered property and could not be freed without their owner’s consent. It also prohibited slaves from testifying against whites in court and allowed for slaveholders to bring slaves into Kansas for up to 60 days at a time. In addition, the constitution barred free blacks from living in Kansas and required all residents of the territory to support slavery.

Anti-slavery settlers in Kansas strongly opposed the Lecompton Constitution and worked to have it rejected by Congress. In January 1858, they succeeded in getting a vote on the constitution postponed indefinitely. This victory was short-lived, however, as pro-slavery forces succeeded in getting Congress to pass a bill admitting Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton Constitution on March 30, 1858.

President James Buchanan publicly supported the Admission of Kansas Act and used his powers as President to try to ensure that Kansas would become a slave state. He appointed a proslavery governor for Kansas and sent federal troops to maintain order in the territory. In response, anti-slavery settlers established their own government forKansas known as “Free State” or “Topeka” government.

The conflict over slavery in Kansas continued until 1861 whenKansas was admitted into the Union as a free state afterthe outbreak of the Civil War. The Lecompton Constitution playeda significant role in stoking sectional tensions between Northand South that led to war.

The Lecompton Constitution

The Lecompton Constitution was a document drafted in 1857 to articulate the rules for governing the new state of Kansas. It was hotly contested, with both pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions vying for control. The resulting document was flawed, and it ultimately failed to gain ratification by the US Congress. Nevertheless, the Lecompton Constitution served as an important rallying point for both sides in the growing conflict over slavery in America.

The Panic of 1857

The Panic of 1857 was a financial crisis in the United States caused by the collapse of the New York banking firm Jay Cooke & Company. The panic caused a nationwide economic downturn that lasted until the Civil War. The firm’s failure triggered a run on banks and a decrease in the supply of credit, which led to a decrease in the demand for goods and a decrease in the prices of commodities. The panic also caused a decrease in the employment rate and an increase in the number of bankruptcies.

The financial crisis

The Panic of 1857 was a financial crisis that hit the United States in 1857. The panic was caused by a number of factors, including the failure of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company, which caused a run on banks and a credit crunch. The crisis resulted in the closure of more than 2,000 businesses and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. The panic also caused a drop in land values, and many farmers were forced to sell their farms.

The effects of the Panic

In the fall of 1857, the nation was hit by a financial crisis. Banks failed, businesses closed, and people lost their jobs. The Panic of 1857 was one of the worst economic disasters in American history.

The panic began on October 24, 1857, when the New York Stock Exchange plummeted. The crash spread across the country, and within weeks, banks were failing and businesses were closing. By December, the panic had reached its peak. By that time, more than 5,000 businesses had closed and 100,000 workers had lost their jobs.

The panic lasted for more than a year. It was not until 1859 that the economy began to recover. Even then, the recovery was slow and uneven. Many Americans were left with a deep distrust of the banking system and the stock market.


In conclusion, the 1856 Kansas Summer was a pivotal moment in American history. The violence and bloodshed that took place during this time period would serve as a prelude to the Civil War. The events of the 1856 Kansas Summer also helped to galvanize both northern and southern supporters of slavery, ensuring that the issue would be one of the major points of contention in the years leading up to the war.

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