In June 1857 delegates were elected to a constitutional con vention. The election act did not provide for any popular vote upon the constitution they should form, and was passed over Governor John W. Geary's veto. A census, miserably deficient (largely because of free-State abstention and obstruction), was the basis of apportionment of delegates. The free-State party demanded a popular vote on the constitution. On the justice of this, Governor Robert J. Walker and President Buchanan were at first unequivocally agreed, and the governor promised fair play. Nevertheless, only pro-slavery men voted, and the conven tion was thus pro-slavery. The document it framed is known as the Lecompton Constitution. Before the convention met, the free-State party, abandoning its policy of political inaction, captured the territorial legislature. On the constitutional con vention rested, then, all hope of saving Kansas for slavery; and that would be impossible if they should submit their handiwork to the people. The convention declared slave property to be "before and higher than any constitutional sanction" and forbade amendments affecting it ; but it provided for a popular vote on the alternatives, the "constitution with slavery" or the "con stitution with no slavery." If the "constitution with no slavery" should be adopted, slavery should cease "except" that the right to property in slaves in the territory should not be interfered with. The free-State men regarded this as including the right to property in offspring of slaves, and therefore as pure fraud. Gov ernor Walker stood firmly against this iniquitous scheme. But President Buchanan, under Southern influence, repudiated his former assurances. He abandoned Walker, who left Kansas; and he dismissed Acting-Governor Frederick P. Stanton for convok ing the (now free-State) legislature. This body promptly ordered a vote on the third alternative, "Against the Constitution." The free-State men ignored the alternatives set by the Lecomp ton Convention ; but they participated, nevertheless, in the pro visional election for officers under the Lecompton Government, capturing all offices, and then, the same day, voted overwhelmingly against the constitution (Jan. 4, 1858).
Nevertheless, Buchanan, against the urgent counsel of Gov ernor Denver, urged on Congress (Feb. 2) the admission of Kan sas under the Lecompton Constitution. He was opposed by Sen ator Stephen A. Douglas, the leader of the Northern Democracy. The senate upheld the president ; the house of representatives voted down his policy ;and finally both houses accepted the Eng lish bill, by which Kansas was virtually offered some millions of acres of public lands if she should accept the Lecompton Consti tution'. On Aug. 21, 1858, by a vote of 11,300 to 1,788, Kansas resisted this temptation. The plan of the Administration thus effectually miscarried, and its final result was a profound split in the Democratic Party.
The free-State men framed an anti-slavery constitution at Leavenworth in March–April 1858, but the origins of the conven tion were illegal. On July 29, 1859, still another constitution was therefore framed at Wyandotte, and on Oct. 4 it was ratified by the people. On Jan. 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union under the Wyandotte Constitution. The United States census of
186o gave her a population of 107,206 inhabitants. The struggle in Kansas was of paramount importance in the breaking up of the Whig Party, the first establishment of an uncompromising anti slavery party, the sectionalization of the democracy, and the gen eral preparation of the country for the Civil War.
Drought and famine came in 186o, and then upon the impover ished State came the strain of the Civil War. Nevertheless, Kan sas furnished proportionally a very large quota of men to the Union armies. Military operations within her own borders were 'The English bill was not a bribe to the degree that it has usually been considered to be, inasmuch as it "reduced the grant of land demanded by the Lecompton ordinance from 23,50o,000ac. to 3,5oo,000ac., and offered only the normal cession to new States." But this grant of 3,soo,000ac. was conditioned on the acceptance of the Lecompton Constitution, and Congress made no promise of any grant if that constitution were not adopted. The bill was introduced by William Hayden English (1822-96), a Democratic representative in Congress in 1853-61.
largely confined to a guerrilla warfare, carrying on the bitter neighbourhood strife between Kansas and Missouri. The Con federate officers began by repressing predatory plundering from Missouri; but after James H. Lane, with an undisciplined bri gade, had crossed the border, sacking, burning and killing in his progress, Missouri "bushrangers" retaliated in kind. Freebooters trained in territorial licence had a free hand on both sides. Wil liam C. Quantrell, after sacking various small Kansas towns along the Missouri river (1862-63), in Aug. 1863 took Lawrence (q.v.) and put it mercilessly to fire and sword—the most ghastly episode in border history. In the autumn of 1864, the Confederate general, Sterling Price, aiming to enter Kansas from Missouri, but defeated by Gen. Pleasanton's cavalry, retreated southward, zigzagging on both sides of the Missouri-Kansas line. This ended for Kansas the border raids and the war. Indian raids and wars troubled the State from 1864 to 1878. The tribes domiciled in Kansas were rapidly moved to Indian territory after 1868.
After the Civil War, the Republicans held uninterrupted suprem acy in national elections, and almost as complete control in the State Government, until 1892. From about 1870 onward, how ever, elements of reform and of discontent were embodied in a succession of radical parties of protest. The movement of the Patrons of Industry (1874), growing into the Grange, Farmers' Alliance, and finally into the People's party, commonly known as the Populist party, was perhaps of greatest importance. In conjunction with the Democrats, the Populists controlled the State Government in 1892-94 and 1896-98. These two parties decidedly outnumbered the Republicans at the polls from 1890 to 1898, but they could win only by fusion. In 1892-93, when the Populists elected the governor and the senate, and the Repub licans (as the courts eventually determined) the house of repre sentatives, political passion was so high as to threaten armed conflicts in the capital.