In the summer of 1854, Missouri "squatters" began to post claims to border lands and warn away intending anti-slavery settlers. The immigration of anti-slavery people from the North was fostered in every way, notably through the New England Emigrant Aid company (see LAWRENCE, A. A.), whose example was widely imitated. Lawrence (Wakarusa) and Topeka, free State centres, and Leavenworth, Lecompton and Atchison, pro slavery towns, were among those settled in 1854.
At the first election (Nov. 1854), held for a delegate to Con gress, about 1,700 armed Missourians invaded Kansas and stuffed the ballot boxes ; and this intimidation and fraud was practised on a much larger scale in the election of a territorial legislature in March 1855. The resultant legislature (at Pawnee, later at Shawnee Mission) adopted the laws of Missouri almost en bloc, made it a felony to utter a word against slavery, made extreme pro-slavery views a qualification for office, declared death the penalty for aiding a slave to escape, and in general repudiated liberty for its opponents. The radical free-State men thereupon began the importation of rifles. Furthermore, a free-State "gov ernment" was set up, the "bo gus" legislature at Shawnee be ing "repudiated." Perfecting their organization in a series of popular conventions, they adopted (Dec. 1855) the Topeka constitution—which declared the exclusion of negroes from Kansas—elected State officials, and sent a contestant delegate to Congress. The Topeka "gov ernment" was simply a craftily impressive organization, a stand ing protest. It met now and then, and directed sentiment, being twice dispersed by U.S. troops; but it passed no laws, and did nothing that conflicted with the territorial Government coun tenanced by Congress. On the other hand, the laws of the "bogus" legislature were generally ignored by the free-State partisans.
The "Border War."—In the almost bloodless "Wakarusa war" that now began, Lawrence was threatened by an armed force from Missouri, but was saved by the intervention of Governor Shannon. Up to this time, the initiative and the bulk of outrages lay assuredly heavily on the pro-slavery side ; thereafter they became increasingly common and more evenly divided. In May 1856 another Missouri force entered Lawrence without resist ance, destroyed its printing offices, wrecked buildings and pillaged generally. These outrages fired Northern passion and determina
tion. In Kansas they were a stimulus to the most radical elements. Immediately after the sack of Lawrence, John Brown (q.v.), and a small band murdered and mutilated five pro-slavery men, on Pottawatomie creek; a horrible deed, showing a new spirit on the free-State side, and of ghastly consequence—for it contributed powerfully to widen further the licence of highway robbery, pil lage and arson, the ruin of homes, the driving off of settlers, and all sorts of outrages that made the following months a welter of lawlessness and crime, until Governor Geary—by putting him self above all partisanship, repudiating Missouri, and using Fed eral troops—put an end to them late in 1856. In the isolated south-eastern counties, however, they continued through 1856-58, mainly to the advantage of the "jay-hawkers" of free-State Kansas and to the terror of Missouri.
The struggle now passed into another phase, in which questions of State predominate. But something may be remarked in passing of the leaders in the period of turbulence. John Brown wished to deal a blow against slavery, but did nothing to aid any con servative political organization to that end. James H. Lane was another radical, and always favoured force. He assuredly did much for the free-State cause ; meek politics was not alone suffi cient in those years in Kansas. The leader of the conservative free-soilers was Charles Robinson (1818-94), who in 1854 had come to Kansas as an agent of the Emigrant Aid company. He was the author of the Topeka "government" idea, or at least was its moving spirit, serving throughout as the "governor" under it; though averse to force, he would use it if necessary, and was first in command in the "Wakarusa war." His partisans say that he saved Kansas, and regard Lane as a fomenter of trouble who ac complished nothing. Andrew H. Reeder (1807-64), who showed himself a pro-slavery sympathizer as first territorial governor, was removed from office for favouring the free-State party ; he became a leader in the free-State cause. Reeder and Shannon fled the territory in fear of assassination by the pro-slavery party, with which at first they had had most sympathy. Among the pro slavery leaders was David Rice Atchison ( i807-86), U.S. Senator in who accompanied both expeditions against Lawrence.