Saturday, November 17, 2018

Bleeding Kansas

I was reading Limbaugh on the Democratic refusal to accept that they lost - honestly and fairly - in the recent elections. Rush touched on the shenanigans of the multiple voters, the ineligible voters, the imported voters, and all of the other irregularities that the Dems seem to have no problem with.

It reminded me of something in history - the time before the Civil War, in the elections before the two sides reached the point of a formal split.

The territories were not yet fully settled. People resided there, but in relatively small numbers. That was about to change, after the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which changed the so-called Missouri Compromise.

After that act, which allowed the people of that proposed state, which was above the Mason-Dixon Line, to choose whether they wanted to enter the union as Slave or Free, both sides flooded into the territory to try to use proponents to force the residents to choose their side.

In truth, if the actual residents of that territory, along with the majority of those who wanted to settle there had been the only ones counted, Kansas would likely have entered as a Free state. The rabid pro-slavery side would have none of that, and flooded the state from nearby Missouri and Arkansas.

The pro-Abolition Northerners, seeing that rapid influx of Slavery advocates, eager to sway the choice, came in quickly, as well. Both sides were armed with weapons, although, surprisingly, there were few actual deaths, at first.

The next level of escalation occurred when the Pro-Slavery forces out-voted the Free-Staters. In what is perhaps a foreshadowing of the future of voting, the Pro-Slavery Democrats "found" votes, and got Kansas declared a Pro-Slavery State.
Fewer than half the ballots were cast by registered voters, and at one location, only 20 of every 600 voters were legal residents. The pro-slavery forces won the election. While Kansas had approximately 1,500 registered voters at the time, not all of whom actually voted, over 6,000 votes were cast. More significantly, the Border Ruffians repeated their actions on March 30, 1855 when the first territorial legislature was elected, swaying the vote again in favor of slavery.
John Brown's infamous slaughter of his political enemies came later - interestingly, he was never prosecuted for that crime. Officially, he claimed not to have been responsible for the Pottawatomie Massacre; most historians think that was untrue.

Brown later died at Harper's Ferry, where he hoped to spark off a Slave Revolt - it was stopped, unsuccessful in its aim.

Mind you, this prelude to the actual Civil War was in 1855 - just 6 years before the attack on Fort Sumter.

I've noticed that very few history texts deal in any depth with this topic, one that would be of interest to modern students, involving, as it does:

  • Voter fraud
  • Refusal to accept results of elections
  • Dirty tricks in voter eligibility
  • Willingness to destroy the local area to gain political capital
  • Use of the media to sway results
  • Suppression of media
  • Demonizing one's opponents
  • Acceptance of violence actually inside Congress, used against one's enemies
  • Over-the-top rhetoric, with religiously affiliated speakers leading the way

I'm going to spend some time making lessons for middle-schoolers on this conflict, and others that involve political dissension in the United States that is not resolved at the ballot box. It will focus on voter fraud, manipulation of the electoral process, and other relevant topics. My goal is to look at political conflict, and how it relates to refusal to use elections as a way of managing the dispute.

I'll post here again, once I've got the packet ready (probably about a week's worth of lessons). I anticipate using something like Teachers Pay Teachers to sell it.

4 comments:

Troy Smith said...

Perhaps add refrences to the Battle of Athens?

Unknown said...

Thank you

John C. said...

This is a very interesting and timely topic. I can't wait to read it. Thanks, Linda.

Linda Fox said...

Oh, yes - definitely the Battle of Athens! Thank you - I'd not thought of it for the packet.

For the lessons, my goal is not primarily to make money (although, I wouldn't turn it down). It's to provided a sources, accurate alternative to the Leftist lessons teachers receive that match their state's standards. Over time, I hope to enlist others to add to this Liberty-loving themed alternative lesson trove.