This book explores the multiple dimensions of the antebellum Kansas tempest as a microcosm of the larger history of sectional conflict and reconciliation. It shows, through an examination of the antislavery ends and means of the American Missionary Association, the American Home Missionary Society, and the New England Emigrant Aid Company, that the northeastern free-state contingent in Kansas represented a wide spectrum of opinion on black bondage, ranging from racially egalitarian Christian abolitionist absolutism on the one hand to free labor pragmatism on the other. Nevertheless, Yankee confrontations with the allegedly parallel unprogressive forces of "slavery, rum, and Romanism" in the territory evoked compelling public images of civilization and savagery, freedom and dependence that broadened the appeal of antislavery politics in the free North on the eve of the Civil War.
At the same time, the book analyzes the ideology and dynamics of proslavery activism in Kansas, demonstrating how clashing conceptions of republicanism and capitalism helped frame the terms of debate over slavery. It pays special attention to the discrepancy between the strident optimism of proslavery rhetoric on the one hand, and the actual operation of the "peculiar institution" in the territory on the other--a discussion that incorporates a detailed study of Kansas slavery not found elsewhere.
Finally, the book argues that the sharp polarities of slavery discourse in Kansas obscured a more ambiguous reality. Southerners resorted to fraudulent voting, and appealed to anti-abolitionism, nativism, and racism to battle not only northern elements but to score points over their proslavery whiggish rivals as well. Schisms within a competitive, business-minded pro-southern elite contained the seeds of Mammon's triumph over political ideology in some proslavery circles, and facilitated a sectional truce at the African American's expense even before the slavery question had faded from the political horizon of the territory.
This work is unique in antebellum Kansas literature in that it employs census data in an attempt to reconstruct the reality of the rank-and-file lives--both slave and free, northern and southern, native-born and foreign--that lay behind the stirring public images conjured by "Bleeding Kansas."
SenGupta's book adds to the understanding of the interplay of evangelism and entrepreneurship in territorial Kansas. Her research is thorough, her knowledge of the appropriate literature impressive, and her style felicitous.--Civil War History
|List of Tables|
|Map of Electoral Districts|
|Map of Principal Towns|
|Appeal to the Census versus Appeal to the Conscience||p. 10|
|"Wolves of the Border" and Other Men of the "Wrong Stripe": The South in Kansas - 1||p. 28|
|From the Pulpit and the Plow to the Sharps Rifle: Pioneer Life in the "Eden of the World"||p. 41|
|"A Model New England State"||p. 79|
|"White Men Can Never Be Slaves"||p. 95|
|A Slave State without Masters or Slaves: The South in Kansas - 2||p. 116|
|Kansas Bleeds On||p. 130|
|A "Rehearsal for Redemption"?||p. 139|
|Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Contributions in Legal Studies; 78
Number Of Pages: 216
Published: 1st March 1996
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.57