On March 30, 1855, “Border Ruffians” from Missouri illegally influenced elections in the new U.S. territory of Kansas. The Civil War had its origins in this dispute, a conflict nicknamed “Bleeding Kansas.”The elections were important, as they would decide if the Kansas territory allowed slavery or not. Most settlers in Kansas were anti-slavery. However, just across Kansas’ eastern border was the pro-slavery state of Missouri. “Border Ruffians” was the name embraced by hundreds of Missouri residents who violently opposed Kansas’ “Free Staters.”Border Ruffians crossed the border, took control of polling places, prevented anti-slavery residents from casting votes, and stuffed ballot boxes. This was all illegal, but a pro-slavery government was elected.The elections did not end the conflict. In fact, Kansas became the single most important region for the slavery debate throughout the 1850s. It was also the most violent. The brutal series of conflicts in Bleeding Kansas continued until Kansas joined the U.S. as a free state in 1861—the year the Civil War began.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry ballot Noun
technology (such as a slip of paper or an electronic form) by which a voter casts their vote.
natural or artificial line separating two pieces of land.
Encyclopedic Entry: border Civil War Noun
(1860-1865) American conflict between the Union (north) and Confederacy (south).
a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.
to argue or disagree in a formal setting.
debate or argument.
selection of people to public office by vote.
to support enthusiastically.
system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.
forbidden by law.
to encourage or persuade a person or organization to act a certain way.
any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.
Encyclopedic Entry: region settler Noun
person who migrates and establishes a residence in a largely unpopulated area.
process and condition of owning another human being or being owned by another human being.
land an animal, human, or government protects from intruders.