History of Kansas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Important dates in Kansas's history
Flag of Kansas
July–August 1541
Coronado explores Kansas
April 30, 1803
Louisiana Purchase; US buys most of Kansas
May 30, 1854
Kansas Territory organized
July 29, 1859
Constitution adopted by convention; prohibits slavery
January 29, 1861
Kansas becomes 34th state
August 21, 1863
Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence
Spring 1879
February 19, 1881
First state to prohibit alcohol
Populist Revolt
July 1951
Great Flood of 1951
May 1954
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

The first people who lived in Kansas were Native Americans who were nomadic (people who don't live in one place for very long). They hunted American bison. In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadores came to explore the place. Later, French fur trappers came to the area. They traded with the Native Americans. The United States added most of Kansas in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act opened the place for Americans to move there. A lot of fighting happened because the new residents had to decide if they wanted slavery. The new residents decided to make slavery illegal. The fighting helped start the American Civil War.

After the Civil War, Kansas had many frontier towns. The railroads were stops for cattle drives from Texas. Many black people moved from the south to Kansas. These people were called "exodusters". Farmers tried growing corn and raising pigs, but there was little rain, so they were not able to. They started growing wheat.[1] They became very good at growing wheat, and they had enough to trade with Europe. Many angry farmers joined the Populist and Progressive movement in the 1890s, and they supported it until the 1940s. Since the 1940s, Kansas has been a very conservative state. Since 1945, the number of farmers has lowered, and manufacturing has become more popular.

Before history[change | change source]

In 7000 BCE, the first people came to Kansas. These people were paleolithic people who were related to Asians. Once they came, they never left. They saw mammoths, camels, ground sloths, and horses. They hunted these animals until they were extinct.[2]

Early Europeans[change | change source]

Samuel Seymour's 1819 drawing of a Kansa lodge and dance. It's the oldest drawing in Kansas.

In 1541, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado came to Kansas to explore. He turned around near Lindsborg, Kansas. He met some of the local Native Americans. He gave them horses. The Native Americans started changing their lifestyle because of the horses.

In the 1600s, the Kansa people and the Osage Nation came to Kansas. The Kansa people lived near the Kansas River, and the Osage Nation lived near the Arkansas River. The Pawnee people lived in western Kansas.

Louisiana Purchase[change | change source]

Frank Bond's illustration of the Louisiana Purchase

Other than short explorations, neither France nor Spain created any cities in Kansas. In 1763, Spain got all of the French land west of the Mississippi River. This was because France lost the Seven Years' War. Spain gave this land back to France in 1803.

In 1803, Kansas was added to the United States as land from the Louisiana Purchase. The Lewis and Clark Expedition started in St. Louis. In 1804, they came to Kansas in what is today Kansas City, Kansas. They met French fur trappers who knew the land well. In 1806, explorer Zebulon Pike came to Kansas. He called it the "Great American Desert" because it had no trees or plants. The U.S. government saw Kansas as a desert too, so they sent Native Americans to it. They believed it was not good land, so they didn't care if Native Americans were sent there.

From June 4, 1812 until August 10, 1821, the land was part of the Missouri Territory. Missouri became a state, so the land became unorganized. It had no people living in it except for Fort Leavenworth. The Fort was created in 1827 by Henry Leavenworth with the 3rd U.S Infantry from St. Louis, Missouri; it is the first permanent European settlement in Kansas.[3] The fort was created as the westernmost outpost of the American military. It was created to protect trade along the Santa Fe Trail from Native Americans. The trade came from the East. It came either by land using the Boone's Lick Road, or by water using the Missouri River.[4]


Part of the Santa Fe Trail went through Kansas. It was used by people who were on the Oregon Trail.

1820s-1840s: Indian Territory[change | change source]

In the 1820s, the U.S. government gave the land to the Native Americans as Indian Territory. They did not let white people come to the territory. On June 3, 1825, the U.S. government took 20 million acres of land (81000 km²) from the Kansa people. The Kansa people had to stay on a small amount of land in northeastern Kansas.[5] The U.S. government also made the Osage Nation live in a small amount of land in southeastern Kansas.[6]

By a treaty on November 7, 1825, the Shawnee people were moved to Kansas. By a treat on September 29, 1829, the Delaware people were moved to Kansas.

The Indian Removal Act made this faster. By a treaty on August 30, 1831, the Ottawa people were moved to a small part of Kansas.[7] On October 24, 1832, the Kickapoo people were moved to Kansas.[8] On October 29, 1832, the Piankeshaw and Wea people were moved to Kansas. To their east was the western border of Missouri, and to their west was the Kaskaskia and Peoria people.[9] On September 21, 1833, the Otoe people were moved to Kansas.[10]

By September 17, 1836, the Sac and Fox people moved to Kansas, north of the Kickapoo.[11] By a treaty on February 11, 1837, the United States moved the Pottawatomi people to Kansas. They were moved to the Osage River, which is southwest of the Missouri River.[12] The land was in the southwest part of what is now Miami County.

After a treaty in 1842, the Wyandot people were moved to an area between the Kansas River and the Missouri River.[13] They shared the land with the Delaware people until 1843.

Early 1850s and organizing the territory[change | change source]

Despite the extensive plans that were made to settle Native Americans in Kansas, by 1850 white Americans were illegally squatting on their land. They really wanted the entire area to be opened for settlement. Several U.S. Army forts, including Fort Riley, were soon created deep in Indian Territory to guard travelers on the various Western trails.

Although the Cheyenne and Arapahoes tribes were still negotiating with the United States for land in western Kansas (the current state of Colorado) – they signed a treaty on September 17, 1851.[14] Momentum was already building to settle the land.[2]

Kansas–Nebraska Act[change | change source]

Congress started the process of creating Kansas Territory in 1852. That year, petitions were given at the first session of the 32nd Congress to organize territory of the land west of Missouri and Iowa. Nothing happened at that time. However, during the next session, on December 13, 1852, a Representative from Missouri submitted to the House of Representatives a bill. This bill would organize the Territory of Platte: all the land west of Iowa and Missouri, and going west to the Rocky Mountains. The bill was given to the United States House Committee on Territories. It passed by the full U.S. House of Representatives on February 10, 1853. However, Southern Senators stopped the progress of the bill in the Senate. They did this to discuss how the bill would affect slavery and the Missouri Compromise. Arguments abouot the bill and other ideas would continue for a year. The Kansas–Nebraska Act was eventually created because of this. It became law on May 30, 1854, creating the Nebraska Territory and Kansas Territory.

Kansas Territory[change | change source]

The Kansas-Nebraska Act passed on May 30, 1854, and it created the Kansas Territory. It went from the western border of Missouri to the Rocky Mountains. The southern border was the 37th parallel north, and the northern border was the 40th parallel north. Anything north of the 40th parallel was part of the Nebraska Territory.

Before Violence[change | change source]

In the Kansas-Nebraska Act, it said that people living in the territories could vote on whether or not to have slavery. This led to violence between people from the North and people from the South. They both tried to quickly move to Kansas to control it.

In a few days after the law passed, hundreds of people from Missouri moved to Kansas. These people wanted slavery. They created a group called the "Squatter's Claim Association" on June 10, 1854. They said that they were going to make Kansas a slave state.

The New England Emigrant Aid Company said they were going to make Kansas a free state. From 1854 to 1855, they sent many anti-slavery people (called "free-staters") to Kansas. They were important in creating Lawrence, Topeka, and Manhattan. Other anti-slavery people came from Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, and other states.

Bleeding Kansas[change | change source]

For a while, there was not much violence. This changed on March 30, 1855. The elections happened this day. Many pro-slavery people from Missouri came to Kansas to vote for pro-slavery people. Pro-slavery people won many elections that day. Pro-slavery people controlled the Kansas government.

From 1855 to 1858, there was a lot of fighting in Kansas. This was called "Bleeding Kansas," and it happened shortly before the American Civil War. Battles include the Wakarusa War, the Sacking of Lawrence, the Battle of Black Jack, the Battle of Osawatomie, and the Marais des Cygnes massacre.

  • Wakarusa War

On December 1, 1855, many pro-slavery people came to Lawrence. These people had guns. They wanted to destroy Lawrence because it was anti-slavery. A treaty was created to stop the fighting.

  • Sacking of Lawrence

On May 21, 1856, pro-slavery people came to Lawrence, and they attacked the city. They killed two men, burned the Free-State Hotel to the ground, destroyed two printing presses, and robbed homes.

  • Pottawatomie massacre
John Brown about. 1856.

The Pottawatomie massacre happened during the night of May 24 to the morning of May 25, 1856. In what seems to be a reaction to the Sacking of Lawrence, John Brown and a group of abolitionists (some of them members of the Pottawatomie Rifles) killed five settlers. They believed these settlers were pro-slavery. This happened north of Pottawatomie Creek in Franklin County, Kansas. Brown later said that he did not take part in the killings during the Pottawatomie massacre, but that he did approve of them. He went into hiding after the killings. Two of his sons, John Jr. and Jason, were arrested. While they were arrested, they were allegedly treated poorly, which left John Jr. mentally hurt. On June 2, Brown led a successful attack on a group of Missourians led by Captain Henry Pate in the Battle of Black Jack. Pate and his men had went into Kansas to capture Brown and others. That Fall, Brown went back into hiding and did other guerrilla warfare activities.

Territory Constitutions[change | change source]

The anti-slavery and pro-slavery people tried to win by writing a constitution that would make the other side lose. Anti-slavery people would try to write a constitution that made slavery illegal, and pro-slavery people would try to write a constitution that would make slavery legal. Congress would decide which one to choose.[15]

Topeka Constitution[change | change source]

On November 11, 1855, free-staters wrote the Topeka Constitution. The constitution made slavery illegal. They voted for the constitution on December 15, 1855, and they sent it to Congress in March 1856. It passed the House of Representatives, but it failed in the Senate. This was because the Senate had many pro-slavery people in it.

Lecompton Constitution[change | change source]

On November 7, 1857, pro-slavery people wrote the Lecompton Constitution. The constitution allowed slavery, but there was a vote on it. Both pro-slavery and anti-slavery people tried to stop the votes and the constitution. Eventually, it was sent to Congress. It failed in Congress because they were not able to decide if the people actually liked it.

Leavenworth Constitution[change | change source]

A very anti-slavery legislature wrote the Leavenworth Constitution on April 3, 1858. On May 18, 1858, the people of Kansas voted for it. This constitution made slavery illegal, and it also gave more rights to women. It failed in Congress.

Wyandotte Constitution[change | change source]

On July 29, 1859, the Wyandotte Constitution was written. The people of Kansas voted for it on October 4, 1859. This constitution made slavery illegal, but it didn't have the rights for women (unlike the Leavenworth Constitution). Kansas became a free state on January 29, 1861.[16]

End of violence[change | change source]

When the Wyandotte Constitution was being written, pro-slavery people knew they lost. John Brown left the state, and the violence in Kansas stopped in 1859.

State[change | change source]

Kansas became the 34th state on January 29, 1861.

There were many important things in Kansas during the 1860s. Kansas was in the Civil War, there were cattle drives, early prohibition, and the start of the American Indian Wars in western Kansas.

Civil War[change | change source]

The Wyandotte Constitution made Kansas a free state. The people of Kansas liked the Union. Kansas stayed in the Union. Pro-slavery people still attacked Kansas. Many of these pro-slavery people were from Missouri.[16]

At the start of the Civil War, Kansas had no official army. They had no weapons or supplies. In 1859 and 1860, the military in Kansas weren't used. They simply stopped.

There were 29 Confederate attacks on Kansas.[17] The worst was Quantrill's Raid in Lawrence in 1863. It was a response to many "Jayhawker" attacks on Missouri.[18][19][20]

Kansas Pacific railroad[change | change source]

The Kansas Pacific main line shown on an 1869 map

In 1863, the Union Pacific Eastern Division (renamed the Kansas Pacific in 1869) was created by the United States Congress's Pacific Railway Act. It was created to create the southern part of the transcontinental railroad alongside the Union Pacific. Pacific Railway Act also created large land grants to the railroad along its mainline. The company started construction on its main line west from Kansas City in September 1863.

Date Major junctions
1863 Kansas City
1864 Lawrence
1866 Junction City
1867 Salina
1870 Denver

Many railroads were planned after the Civil War, but not all were actually built. The Panic of 1873 made it difficult to fund. Land speculators and local boosters identified many potential towns. Towns that were reached by the railroad had a chance, while the others became ghost towns. In Kansas, nearly 5000 towns were mapped out. However, by 1970 only 617 were actually used. In the mid-20th century, closeness to an interstate exchange determined whether town would survive or struggle.[21]

Cattle drives[change | change source]

After the Civil War, railroads didn't go to Texas. Instead, they brought their cattle to Kansas. Once in Kansas, the cattle would be sent on a train going east.[22]

Exodusters[change | change source]

In 1879, many black people left southern states and came to Kansas. They came because there was cheap land and better treatment. These people were called Exodusters. They created small towns in Kansas like Nicodemus, Kansas in 1877.[23]

Prohibition[change | change source]

On February 19, 1881, Kansas became the first state to make alcohol illegal. This started with the temperance movement. After 1890, prohibition and progressivism came together. This created a reform movement. This movement led to four reformist governors being elected from 1905 to 1919. Those governors wanted extreme prohibitionist laws. Kansas did not make alcohol legal again until 1948. Kansas did not allow public bars to be legal until 1987. Kansas did not allow people to buy alcohol on Sundays until 2005. Many cities still do not allow that. 29 counties in Kansas are considered "dry."[24]

Farming[change | change source]

Early residents found that the weather and environment of Kansas can be very difficult to live in. Tornadoes, blizzards, droughts, hail, floods, and grasshoppers made it difficult to grow crops. Many early residents lost a lot of money trying to be a farmer in Kansas. In the 1890s, many of these people joined the Populist movement, or they moved east. In the 20th century, new technology, crop insurance, and help from the federal government made farming easier. Many immigrants (many of which were German) came to Kansas in the 20th century. They came because they heard Kansas had good dirt, cheap land, and they could get 160 acres of land to keep for free (if they were American citizens).

20th century[change | change source]

Progressive era[change | change source]

Kansas was a big part of the progressive movement. It has a lot of support from the middle classes, editors such as William Allen White of the Emporia Gazette, and the prohibitionists of the WCTU and the Methodist Church.[25]

In 1915, the El Dorado Oil Field was the first oil field that was found using science/geologic mapping. It was around the city of El Dorado. It was part of the Mid-Continent oil province. By 1918, the El Dorado Oil Field was the largest single field producer in the United States. It was responsible for 12.8% of national oil production and 9% of the world production. Some said it was as "the oil field that won World War I".[26][27][28]

Between 1922 and 1927, there were many legal battles with the KKK. This led to the KKK no longer being in Kansas.[29]

The flag of Kansas was created in 1925.

Great Depression[change | change source]

The Dust Bowl was a lot of dust storms that happened from 1930 to 1941. This was cause by a drought. The price of wheat lowered a lot, which cause a lot of farmers to leave. Because this was during the Great Depression, many unemployed men from the cities came to Kansas to work on farms.[30][31]

Kansas was part of New Deal programs like Civil Works Administration, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works Progress Administration. These programs helped employ many Kansas men. The most important were New Deal farm programs. Those programs raised the price of wheat, and it allowed economic growth by 1936.[32] Republican Governor Alf Landon also did emergency programs. It included a balanced budget goal.[33] The Agricultural Adjustment Administration succeeded in raising wheat prices after 1933. This helped get rid of the biggest problems economically.[34]

World War II[change | change source]

The most important things Kansas did to help the war effort was provide a lot of grain and send tens of thousands of men to fight.[35] Farmers didn't like the price ceilings and quotas for wheat, and their workers moved to factories. Farmers asked Congress to not draft young farmers.[36]

Wichita became an important place for making airplanes. They got tens of thousands of unemployed people from around the state to come work there.[37]

The Women's Land Army of America (WLA) was a women's labor pool during World War II. It was organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It didn't get many women from cities to do farm work. However, it did train hundreds of farm wives on how to handle machines, safety, proper clothing, time-saving methods, and nutrition.[38]

Cold War era[change | change source]

Kansas allowed segregation in public schools, and they were in Topeka and other cities.[39] On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court said in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation was not protected by the United States Constitution.

During the 1950s and 1960s, intercontinental ballistic missiles were kept in some Kansas buildings. They were stored to prepare for a possible attack. The buildings were closed in the 1980s.

On June 6, 1966, Topeka was hit by an F5 tornado. The "1966 Topeka tornado" started in southwest Topeka, moving northeast, hitting many buildings. The tornado caused $100 million in damage.

Sports[change | change source]

The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame tells the history of sports in Kansas.

College sports[change | change source]

The first college football game played in Kansas was the 1890 Kansas vs. Baker football game in Baldwin City. Baker won 22–9.[40] The first night football game west of the Mississippi River was played in Wichita, Kansas. The game was the 1905 between Cooper College (now called Sterling College) and Fairmount College (now Wichita State University).[41] Also in 1905, Fairmount also played an experimental game against the Washburn Ichabods. This game was used to test new rules designed to make football safer.[42]

In 1911, the Kansas Jayhawks went to play against the Missouri Tigers for the first homecoming game ever.[43] The first college football homecoming game ever on television was played in Manhattan. It was between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.[44][45]

On October 2, 1970, a plane crashed. The plane had about half of the football team for Wichita State. They were going to play a game against Utah State University. 31 people were killed.[46] The game was canceled. The Utah State football team had a memorial service at the stadium where the game would have been played.[47]

Professional sports[change | change source]

The first night game in the history of professional baseball was played in Independence on April 28, 1930. It was between the Muscogee (Oklahoma) Indians and the Independence Producers. The Indians beat the Producers by 13 to 3 in a minor league game sanctioned by the Western League of the Western Baseball Association. 1,500 fans came to watch the game. The permanent lighting system was first used for an exhibition game on April 17, 1930. That game was between the Independence Producers and House of David semi-professional baseball team of Benton Harbor, Michigan. The Independence team won with a score of 9 to 1. 1,700 people watched.[48]

References[change | change source]

  1. James Malin, Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas (1944)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Frank H. Gille, ed. Encyclopedia of Kansas Indians Tribes, Nations and People of the Plains (1999)
  3. Partin, John W. Partin (1983). "A Brief History of Fort Leavenworth" (PDF). Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  4. Dorsett, Lyle W. and Brown, A. Theodore (1978). K.C.: A History of Kansas City, Missouri. Boulder, Colorado: Pruett Publishing Company.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. "CONTENTdm". digital.library.okstate.edu.
  6. "CONTENTdm". digital.library.okstate.edu.
  7. "CONTENTdm". digital.library.okstate.edu.
  8. "CONTENTdm". digital.library.okstate.edu.
  9. "CONTENTdm". digital.library.okstate.edu.
  10. "The Treaty with the Oto and Missouri Tribes of 1833". Archived from the original on 2006-05-22. Retrieved 2006-06-20. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  11. "CONTENTdm". digital.library.okstate.edu.
  12. "CONTENTdm". digital.library.okstate.edu.
  13. "CONTENTdm". digital.library.okstate.edu.
  14. "CONTENTdm". digital.library.okstate.edu.
  15. David M. Potter, The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (1976) ch 12
  16. 16.0 16.1 Gary L. Cheatham, "'Slavery All the Time or Not At All': The Wyandotte Constitution Debate, 1859–1861," Kansas History 21 (Autumn 1998): 168–187 online
  17. Gary L. Cheatham, "'Desperate Characters': The Development and Impact of the Confederate Guerrillas In Kansas," Kansas History, Sept 1991, Vol. 14 Issue 3, pp 144-161
  18. Albert Castel, "The Jayhawkers and Copperheads of Kansas" Civil War History, Sept 1959, Vol. 5 Issue 3, pp 283-293
  19. Donald Gilmore, "Revenge in Kansas, 1863," History Today, March 1993, Vol. 43 Issue 3, pp 47-53
  20. Daniel E. Sutherland, A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War (2009)
  21. Raymond A. Mohl, The New City: Urban America in the Industrial Age, 1860-1920 (1985) p 69
  22. Robert R. Dykstra, The Cattle Towns (1983)
  23. Nell Irvin Painter, Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction (1992)
  24. Robert Smith Bader, Prohibition in Kansas: A History (1986)
  25. Robert Sherman La Forte, Leaders of reform: progressive Republicans in Kansas, 1900-1916 (University Press of Kansas, 1974)
  26. "Stapleton Oil Well Number One - El Dorado, Kansas". kansastravel.org.
  27. designed by: logicmaze, inc. "El Dorado Oil Field". kansassampler.org.
  28. L.H. Skelton (16 November 1997). "The discovery and development of the El Dorado (Kansas) oil field". usgs.gov.
  29. Charles William Sloan, Jr., "Kansas Battles the Invisible Empire: The Legal Ouster of the KKK From Kansas, 1922–1927", Kansas Historical Quarterly Fall, 1974 (Vol. 40, No. 3), pp. 393–409 (ed. explains in detail how the KKK worked in Kansas.)
  30. Timothy Eagan, The Worst Hard Tim : the Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)
  31. Craig Miner,Next Year Country: Dust to Dust in Western Kansas, 1890-1940 (2007)
  32. Peter Fearon, "Kansas History and the New Deal Era," Kansas History, Autumn 2007, Vol. 30 Issue 3, pp 192-223
  33. Donald R. McCoy, Landon of Kansas (1966)
  34. Peter Fearon, "Regulation and Response: Kansas Wheat Farmers and the New Deal," Rural History, Oct 2007, Vol. 18 Issue 2, pp 245-264
  35. Patrick G. O'Brien, "Kansas At War: The Home Front, 1941-1945," Kansas History, March 1994, Vol. 17 Issue 1, pp 6-25
  36. Michael J. Grant, "'Food Will Win the War and Write the Peace': The Federal Government and Kansas Farmers during World War II," Kansas History, Dec 1997, Vol. 20 Issue 4, pp 242-257
  37. Peter Fearon, "Ploughshares into Airplanes: Manufacturing Industry and Workers in Kansas During World War II," Kansas History, Dec 1999, Vol. 22 Issue 4, pp 298-314
  38. Caron Smith, "The Women's Land Army During World War II," Kansas History, June 1991, Vol. 14 Issue 2, pp 82-88
  39. Beatty, Robert and M. A. Peterson. "Covert Discrimination: Topeka-Before and After Brown." Kansas History 27 (Autumn 2004): 146–163. online
  40. Evans, Harold (August 1940). "College Football in Kansas". Kansas Historical Quarterly. pp. 285–311. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  41. "Coleman - Outdoor Gear for Camping, Hiking and Tailgating / US". coleman.com.
  42. "New Football Rules Tested". Los Angeles Times. December 26, 1905.
  43. Director of Digital Media, Eric J Eckert; eric.eckert@yorknewstimes.com (2011-09-23). "> Archives > Editorials > Vincent's Views". York News-Times. Retrieved 2011-12-05.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  44. "Televised Game". Morning Chronicle. Manhattan, Kansas. October 28, 1939. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)
  45. Janssen, Mark (October 7, 2010). "Purple Pride vs. Big Red - 4-0 vs. 4-0". Kansas State Wildcats. Archived from the original on 15 February 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  46. Zier, Patrick (November 20, 1974). "Four Years Ago . ." Lakeland Ledger. pp. Page 1B & 4B. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  47. "MEMORIAL '70 - Memorial '70 Home - Wichita State University". webs.wichita.edu.
  48. Bowman, Larry G. "I Think It Is Pretty Ritzy Myself: Kansas Minor League Teams and Night Baseball". Kansas History, Winter 1995/1996, pp 248–257. Kansas Historical Society. Retrieved 25 May 2013.

Other websites[change | change source]