In 1855, Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state. However, due to the ongoing debate over slavery, there were actually two competing constitutions in Kansas at the time. One constitution allowed slavery and the other did not. This led to considerable violence and turmoil in the state, which was only resolved when the pro-slavery constitution was finally abandoned.
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The Kansas-Nebraska Act
In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed by Congress, which caused two constitutions to be drawn up in Kansas in 1855- the Topeka Constitution and the Leavenworth Constitution.
The Act’s impact on the issue of slavery
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 allowed for “popular sovereignty” in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. This meant that the settlers in these territories would decide for themselves whether or not slavery would be allowed. The act also repealed the Missouri Compromise, which had prohibited slavery north of the 36°30′ parallel.
The repeal of the Missouri Compromise angered many Northerners who saw it as a victory for the pro-slavery forces. Theact also led to violence in Kansas, as both pro- and antislavery settlers rushed into the territory to influence the outcome of the vote on slavery.
In 1855, two different constitutions were drafted in Kansas—one allowing slavery and one prohibiting it. The pro-slavery constitution was approved by a vote of the people, but it was never recognized by the federal government. In January 1861, after years of turmoil, Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state.
The Act’s impact on the issue of state’s rights
In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed by Congress. The Act’s passing had a profound impact on the issue of state’s rights. The Act allowed for the creation of two new states, Kansas and Nebraska. Prior to the Act’s passage, there was only one state west of the Mississippi River-Missouri. The Act also allowed for the expansion of slavery into these new territories. This aroused great controversy and led to violence in Kansas, which became known as “Bleeding Kansas.” The issue of state’s rights was further complicated by the fact that there were now two competing constitutions in Kansas-one that sanctioned slavery and one that did not. The issue was ultimately resolved by the Civil War.
The Lecompton Constitution
The Lecompton Constitution was a document created by pro-slavery supporters in Kansas in 1855. The constitution allowed slavery in Kansas and was opposed by many who wanted Kansas to be a free state. The Lecompton Constitution was eventually defeated, but the debate over slavery in Kansas continued.
The Constitution’s proslavery provisions
The Lecompton Constitution was a document drafted in 1857 to enact a proslavery constitution in the state of Kansas. It was named after the town of Lecompton, Kansas, where the constitutional convention was held. The constitutional convention was boycotted by free-state advocates, and therefore only represented the views of slaveholders.
The document contained numerous provisions that favored slavery, including a clause that protected existing slaveholder property rights and prohibited future interference with slavery. It also required that all new territory acquired by the United States be open to slavery, and that any attempt to ban slavery in any state or territory be declared null and void. In addition, the Lecompton Constitution allowed for the possibility of secession from the Union if Congress ever attempted to abolish slavery.
Despite being overwhelmingly rejected by Kansas voters, US President James Buchanan used his influence to get the Lecompton Constitution ratified by Congress. However, public opposition to the Constitution was so strong that it ultimately failed ratification in the US Senate. The episode was one of the key events leading up to the American Civil War.
The Constitution’s antislavery provisions
The Lecompton Constitution was one of two competing constitutions for the state of Kansas. It was written in 1855 and favored by pro-slavery interests. The other constitution, known as the Topeka Constitution, was more favorable to abolitionists.
The Lecompton Constitution included a number of provisions that were designed to protect slavery. For example, it prohibited Kansas from ever passing laws that would interfere with the “right” of slaveholders to bring their slaves into the state. It also required that any fugitive slaves who were captured in Kansas be returned to their owners.
However, the most controversial provision of the Lecompton Constitution was its clause on slavery itself. This clause stated that slavery could not be abolished in Kansas without the consent of the slaveholders themselves. In other words, even if a majority of Kansans wanted to abolish slavery, they would not be allowed to do so unless every single slaveholder in the state agreed to it.
Not surprisingly, this clause caused a great deal of uproar, both in Kansas and across the country. abolitionists denounced it as a betrayal of democracy, while pro-slavery activists defended it as a necessary measure to protect property rights. Ultimately, the Lecompton Constitution was rejected by both Congress and the people of Kansas, and it never went into effect.
The Topeka Constitution
The Topeka Constitution was created in 1855 in Kansas. The document was made in reaction to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The goal of the Topeka Constitution was to make Kansas a free state. The state would ban slavery and have power over its own people and resources.
The Constitution’s proslavery provisions
The Constitution of 1855 included several proslavery provisions. One of these was that only slaveholders could vote or hold office. This meant that free Soilers and abolitionists were effectively excluded from participating in government. The Constitution also required that fugitive slaves be returned to their owners and prohibited the legislature from passing any laws that would interfere with slavery.
The Constitution’s antislavery provisions
One of the most important features of the Topeka Constitution was its ban on slavery. This was in direct contrast to the proslavery Kansas-Nebraska Act, which had opened up Kansas Territory to slavery just a few years earlier.
The antislavery provisions of the Topeka Constitution were so strong that even many proslavery settlers in Kansas were willing to support it. They saw it as a way to keep slavery out of their state and prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for runaway slaves from Missouri.
The Constitution’s ban on slavery was one of the main reasons why it was not ratified by the US Congress. The pro-slavery forces in Congress were unwilling to allow Kansas to become a free state, and they used their power to block the Constitution.
The fight over slavery in Kansas continued for years, until finally the state was admitted to the Union as a free state in 1861.
The Impact of the Competing Constitutions
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 allowed for popular sovereignty in the territories, which led to two competing constitutions in Kansas in 1855. The first was the Topeka Constitution, which was antislavery, and the second was the Lecompton Constitution, which allowed for slavery. The Lecompton Constitution was eventually ratified by Congress, but it was later rejected by the people of Kansas. The competing constitutions had a significant impact on Kansas and the nation as a whole.
The impact on the issue of slavery
The issue of slavery was the primary cause of the split in the Democratic Party and the rise of the Republican Party in 1854. In light of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and allowed for popular sovereignty in the territories, slaveholders saw an opportunity to expand their institution westward. In response, antislavery advocates formed the Republican Party in 1854 on the platform of blocking the expansion of slavery into new territories.
The two competing constitutions drafted in Kansas in 1855 epitomized this sectional divide. The proslavery constitution, known as the Lecompton Constitution, was approved by President Buchanan and would have admitted Kansas as a slave state. The antislavery constitution, known as the Topeka Constitution, was drafted by free-state settlers in Kansas and prohibited slavery.
The impact of these competing constituions was significant. The Lecompton Constitution sparked a Northern backlash against President Buchanan and his pro-slavery policies, while the Topeka Constitution served as a model for future state constitutions that prohibited slavery. The issue of slavery would continue to divide Americans and lead to further conflict in subsequent years.
The impact on the issue of state’s rights
The conflict between the two constitutions was representative of the national debate over states’ rights. The proponents of the Topeka Constitution argued that it was a more democratic document that better represented the will of the people, while the opponents of the Topeka Constitution argued that it violated states’ rights by giving too much power to the central government. The issue of states’ rights would eventually lead to the Civil War.