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CONGRESS APPOINTS A COMMITTEE OF INVESTIGATION.

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declared himself in favor of the laws enacted at the Shaw- CHAP nee Mission.

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The government, under the Free-State Constitution, 1855. was organized, and the contest took the form of civil war. Mar.

4

1855.

At the opening of the session of Congress, the delegate Deo. from Kansas, chosen as related above, appeared and demanded his seat. After a spicy discussion the House refused the demand, but appointed a committee to proceed to the Territory and summon witnesses in relation to the recent elections. In a month's time the committee had arrived Mar. in Kansas, and commenced the investigation. Their 19. report sustained the charge that those elections had been carried by fraud.

The summer of 1856 was signalized by the commission of many outrages, committed in different parts of the Territory. The Free-State men armed themselves, and determined to defend their rights. Several conflicts ensued and many lives were lost. Presently Shannon received notice of his removal from office, and John W. Geary, of Pennsylvania, soon appeared as his successor. The new governor honestly labored to restore harmony. He ordered "all bodies of men combined, armed, and equipped with munitions of war, without authority of the government, instantly to disband, and quit the territory." Upon this the companies of Free-State men nearly all disbanded, but it was only partially obeyed by the other party, who had concentrated a force of more than two thousand men. The Governor, with the dragoons, threw Sept himself between them and the town of Lawrence and prevented another conflict.

The presidential canvass was now in progress. The main question at issue-the extension of slavery into the Territories or its limitation to the States wherein it already existed

15.

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Within a few years political issues had somewhat changed. A party known as American, had arisen; their 1858. main principle opposition to foreign influence, and thei. motto, "Americans should rule America." The follow ing year they were successful in most of the state elections. Meantime arose another party, composed principally of Whigs and Democrats, who were opposed to the extension of slavery into free territory. They were known as Republicans. On the other hand the Democrats announced themselves willing to let slavery go into the territories if the inhabitants thereof desired it. The latter party nominated James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania; the Republicans, John C. Fremont, of California, and the Americans, ex-president Fillmore.

Nov. 1856.

The canvass was one of more than usual spirit. The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill had even added new interest to the main question at issue. It had taken deep hold of the minds of the people; and they never before gave such evidence of their independence, and repudiation of mere party ties.

Mr. Buchanan was elected President, and John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, Vice-President.

The House of Representatives at Washington passed a bill, declaring the acts of the Territorial Legislature of Kansas null and void, both on the ground that its enactments "were cruel and oppressive," and that "the said legislature was not elected by the legal voters of Kansas, but was forced upon them by non-residents in violation of the organic act of the territory." This bill failed to pass 17. 1857. the Senate.

Feb.

On the 4th of March, Mr. Buchanan was inaugurated President. He was educated for the legal profession. At the age of twenty-three he served as a member of the Legislature of his native State. He was afterward a

LECOMPTON CONVENTION.

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member of the House of Representatives ten years; then CHAP Minister to Russia-sent by General Jackson-then a member of the Senate of the United States; then Secre- 1857. tary of State, under President Polk, and then Minister to Great Britain. Senator Lewis Cass was appointed Secretary of State, by the new President.

Under the auspices of the Territorial Legislature of Kansas an election was ordered for delegates to a convention for the purpose of framing a constitution, but under conditions to secure a pro-slavery majority of delegates. The Free State men, for the reasons already given, as well as others, refused to take part in the election. It was held, however, and a pro-slavery delegation chosen. June. Meanwhile the other party published an address to the people of the United States, in which they set forth the wrongs they had endured, and to which they were still subject.

Soon after Governor Geary resigned, and the President appointed Robt. J. Walker, of Mississippi. The new Governor endeavored to remedy these evils, and promised the people of the territory a free expression of their wishes at the polls.

Owing to the influence of Governor Walker the Free State men consented to vote at the coming election for a delegate to Congress, and members for a Territorial Legislature. They, by a vote more than two to one, chose their candidates.

Shortly after this election, the delegates chosen as we have seen, met in convention at Lecompton, and speedily framed a constitution. It contained a provision adopting slavery, and this provision alone, the convention submitted to the people of Kansas to ratify or reject. Connected with this was a clause which made it necessary for those who were challenged at the polls "to take an oath to support the constitution if adopted," before they were

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CHAP. permitted to deposit their vote. This was followed by a proviso that the Constitution could not be amended be1857. fore the year 1864, and then only by the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of both Houses of the Legislature and "a majority of all the citizens of the State."

April

30.

The Free State men refused to vote on the ratification of this constitution, as they denied the authority that framed it; but it received some votes, and was declared adopted, and sent as such to Congress. There the discussion on the subject was as bitter as ever. It was denied that the people of Kansas were fairly treated in not having the opportunity to vote upon the adoption of the entire constitution as implied by the doctrine of "Popular Sovereignty," said to be the essence of the KansasNebraska bill.

Finally, a bill was passed to submit the constitution to the people of Kansas, but on two conditions: one, that if they failed to ratify it, they would not be permitted to enter the Union until they had a population of ninetythree thousand; the other, if they did ratify it, they should receive certain of the public lands for State purposes. In the face of these strange conditions the people 1858. of Kansas, on the 2d of August, rejected the constitution by an overwhelming majority.

After this decided and noble stand by the Free State men in Kansas there was a lull in the excitement. Meanwhile the people were preparing for the territory to assume her place among the States of the Union when the whole nation was startled by an effort to free the 1859, slaves by force of arms. The plan was organized and attempted to be carried out by John Brown-better known as "Old John Brown of Osawatomie," at which place he lived, and who, in the Kansas troubles, had beaten off an armed force of the pro-slavery party five times as great as his own, the former having an unusual number of men killed and wounded.

Oct.

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