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Kansas

Why were the Kansas and Nebraska Territories referred to as bleeding Kansas?

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January 05, 2009 10:04PM

Organized as a territory by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, Kansas became a virtual battleground for free and slave fractions (1854-1859) because it bordered on the slave state of Missouri and harbored many slaveholders as well as Yankee free-staters.

On May 25, 1856, the militant abolitionist JOHN BROWN led a raid against proslavery supporters at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas, killing five persons: James Doyle and his two sons, Allen Wilkinson, and William Sherman, all proslavery partisans.

The violence between the abolitionists and those who were proslavery soon gave the territory the name "Bleeding Kansas."