This week, we’ve looked back at the Border War between Missouri and Kansas. Blood shed from the battlefield has been replaced by more civil forms of competition. The sports rivalry between the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas is one of the most spirited in the nation. The two schools met for the first time on the football field in 1891. Basketball has also been a mainstay of interest for fans of both schools. But Mizzou football historian Todd Donoho says if the Tigers and Jayhawks are playing, there is no trouble getting supporters of either side up for the event.
When people today look back on the Missouri-Kansas Border War of 150 years ago, they probably think the know where the players on each side stood all Missourians were in favor of maintaining slavery while Free State Kansans wanted to abolish slavery and live equally with blacks. But Virgil Dean with the Kansas State Historical Society says that was not the exactly the case. Dean says, in fact, most Free Staters were white supremacists and did not want any Blacks – slave or free – in Kansas. Gary Kremer with the State Historical Society of Missouri says not all Missourians were in favor of slavery continuing. And, Kremer says German settlers’ influence would spread to the point where Germans led an effort to create an anti-slavery stronghold called Upper Jefferson, right next to the capital city – a slave-holding stronghold. Tomorrow, we’ll look at how a sports rivalry has replaced actual fighting. The Missourinet will also air an hour-long feature called The Border War: Where It All Began… tomorrow evening at 7:06 (with re-airings Saturday night at 7:06, Sunday morning at 7:06 and Sunday afternoon at 5:06)
Many people know about the infamous “Sacking of Lawrence, Kansas” by pro-slavery, Missouri forces on May 21, 1856, but a Kansas history professor says there’s another raid that might be just as important. University of Kansas history professor Rita Napier says there was, in her opinion, a raid by pro-slavery forces on Leavenworth, that played a much bigger role in the overall conflict than most people realize. She says on August 31, 1856, pro-slavery forces rounded up those they believed didn’t support their side in the town. The anti-slavery forces were driven from town so that a majority of slavery supporters would vote in the coming election. Napier says the pro-slavery forces were successful in installing a pro-slavery government in Leavenworth. But she says it also galvanized support for the Free State movement, which eventually won the day, but not before much blood would be spilled on both sides of the border, starting 150 years ago this week during the Missouri-Kansas Border War. Tomorrow, we’ll look at how some things in the Border War might not be as they appear on the surface. The Missourinet will also air an hour-long feature called The Border War: Where It All Began this Friday evening at 7:06 (with re-airings Saturday night at 7:06, Sunday morning at 7:06 and Sunday afternoon at 5:06.)
150 years ago this week, Missourians and Kansans would move beyond the decades of rhetoric over the debate on slavery and move to actual fighting to try to resolve the issue. On May 21, 1856, pro-slavery forces, mostly from Missouri, would hit the Free State stronghold of Lawrence, Kansas. Grady Atwater is the curator for the John Brown State Historic Site in Osawatomie, Kansas. He says that raid would enrage abolitionist John Brown. Brown and his men would retaliate by hacking to death with broadswords five pro-slavery settlers near the Pottawatomie Creek in Eastern Kansas. Atwater says they used swords for two reasons: They were quieter and they were in-line with Brown’s Old Testament views that often times had people being smited with swords. Retaliations on both sides of the border would continue for many years to come in what many see as the real start of the Civil War. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the characters and how did their personalities affected the course of events. The Missourinet will also air an hour-long feature called The Border War: Where It All Began this Friday evening at 7:06 with re-airings Saturday night at 7:06, Sunday morning at 7:06 and Sunday afternoon at 5:06.
150 years ago this week marks the start of what many experts agree is probably the real start to the U.S. Civil War – the Border War between Missouri and Kansas. Historians trace the roots of the conflict back to the earliest days of the young United States, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. That act would establish states south of the Ohio River would be slave-holding ones, while those north would be free. That balance would hold until after the Louisiana Purchase when Missourians would petition to enter the union.
Many wanted to see Missouri as a slave-holding state, despite the fact that it sat above that Ohio River line. Virgil Dean, research historian with the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka says the Missouri Compromise of 1820 would try to settle that dispute. Everything within the Louisiana Purchase territory north of Missouri’s southern border would be free. Missouri would be the lone exception until more compromises later would introduce the idea that the people in each new state could decide if they wanted to be slave or free. That concept of popular sovereignty would be put to the test in the newly formed Kansas Territory in 1854 as each side used trickery, election rigging, and all out war to keep the other from getting what they wanted the Border War between Missouri and Kansas.