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Slavery and THE civil war in missouri and kansas. Created by: Jesse V. McClain. The Issue of Slavery. Introduction Slavery in Missouri Slavery in Kansas. Slavery. Slavery is the condition of being held against one’s will and being forced to work without pay.

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the issue of slavery
The Issue of Slavery
  • Introduction
  • Slavery in Missouri
  • Slavery in Kansas

Slavery is the condition of being held against one’s will and being forced to work without pay.

Just imagine that, having no personal freedom, but being trained and forced to take orders from some else all day.

A slave’s life was most certainly arduous, but you will soon learn that in some areas, slaves were a lot more fortunate and had more rights. Not because of the law, but because of where their owner lived.

slavery in missouri
Slavery in Missouri

It is said that slavery in Missouri was not like it was in the deep South.

In Missouri, slaves had constant interactions with white people and other free slaves. Furthermore, slaves were not as useful in cities. Often, masters would let someone else hire their slaves. Sometimes, the owner would even illegally let his slaves find their own job and lodging. Thus, allowing them to sell their capacities while using their money as best as they could.

slavery in kansas and missouri and the civil war

Slavery in Kansas and Missouri andThe Civil War

The American Civil War was said to be the worst of all Civil War. It was a time of infection, sickness, brutality, and death.

The states of Kansas and Missouri were both hit very hard. It started early and lasted quite long.

how it all started the constitution
How it all Started The Constitution

The Constitution passes different laws in a complicated system, involving the approval of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. These two branches are very different. While each state has two Senators, the House of Representative’s seats vary depending on the population of each state.

It is important to realize that the number of combined white and black people in the South was superior to the number of those living in the North. The North did not want the slaves to be counted as part of the population, since it would give the South a permanent majority of seats in the House of Representatives.

Thus, in order to preserve the balance of power between the North and South, a compromise had to be reached. This was when the 3/5 Compromise came into play. Every slave would be counted as 3/5 of an individual.

the situation before the civil war
The Situation Before the Civil War

While learning about the Civil War, keep in mind that the North and South both had different ideas, needs, and ways of life. While the North was filled with industries and a growing population, the South focused its economy through crops and farms.

In fact, in order to own large farms, Southerners needed man labor. This is why many depended on slaves to keep their farms growing. Even though not every one owned slaves, those who did were by far the most influential people. It is very easy to understand how a man could quickly grow in power, determination and strength. For example, if one owned a farm, he could easily buy one or two slaves. With the extra laborers, he then could afford more land, thus expanding his farm.

On the other hand, the North was filled with industries and at the time experienced a large amount of immigrants. These people would later act as a huge labor force which would impact the economy causing an industrial revolution. Therefore, slaves were not as necessary in the North as they were in the South.

For this reason, many slaves fled North. Ultimately, the existence and acceptance of slavery was the main reason why conflicts arose and set the Civil War in motion. It lasted far longer then any could have imagined, and the South put on a much better fight then any of us would have ever thought of.

slavery in missouri1
Slavery in Missouri

Slavery in Missouri all started when a man named Philippe Renault was unwilling to pay his workers brought 500 slaves to Missouri, and made them work in lead mines.

slavery in kansas
Slavery in Kansas

Following the Kansas-Nebraska Act, slavery in Kansas was decided by popular sovereignty. But before it was led towards this, the government had originally set strict slavery rules, punishing those who helped slaves get away. Another law stated that it was illegal to question anyone's right to own a slave.

events that lead to the civil war a path towards destruction
Events That Lead to The Civil WarA Path Towards Destruction

The events below where some of the key points that influenced the beginning of the Civil War in Kansas and Missouri.

  • The Missouri Compromise
  • Kansas - Nebraska Acts
  • John Brown
  • Bleeding Kansas
the missouri compromise struggling for power
The Missouri CompromiseStruggling for Power

As our Country was expanding with newcomers, congress was able to maintain the balance of power between the North and South by allowing the states to join the Union in pairs, one free state for every slave state.

Previous to this act, all territories located south of the Ohio River were unquestionably allowed to be slave states. The problem was that a large portion of Missouri was north of the Ohio River. Yet, many of its inhabitants were slave owners.

The Missouri Compromise of 1820, a law proposed by Henry Clay, permitted Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state. Furthermore, an imaginary line drawn at 36 degrees 30 minutes north latitude divided Louisiana into two territories. Every state north of this imaginary line would be free, and every state south would be a slave state.


Slavery in Missouri really started to spread across the state when we made the Louisiana purchase and when the cotton gin was invented.

slave jobs
Slave Jobs

A slave in Missouri often had to complete a variety of different tasks, so many of them became jacks-of-all-trades.

  • Slaves that tried to oppose their owners or other Caucasian people were to be given no more than 39 lashes with a whip.
further dehumanization
Further Dehumanization

In 1847, a law was passed in Missouri that if any person was found teaching reading or writing to a slave, they would be fined 500 dollars and spend six months in prison.


In 1804, an act was passed that made slaves personal property, which basically represented that they had no rights.

no protection
No Protection

In Missouri, a slave found keeping a gun, was to receive 39 stripes (lashes), and give up their weapon.


Slaves guilty of being involved in riots, unlawful assemblies, or seditious speeches were also to be subject to lashing.

religious worship
Religious Worship

Generally, slaves attended the same church as their masters, but they were separated from all white people and usually put in special pews in the back of the church.

slave statistics
Slave Statistics

As Missouri never had a single staple crop, large plantations never developed, so a slaveholder on average only had one or two slaves.


In fact, a slave, his family, and his master often worked together as a team in the fields, but everything failed when the master did not share the profit.

defending the wrong purpose
Defending the Wrong Purpose

Because of the hate held for people who challenged their way of life, slaveholders generally dealt severely with anti-slavery abolitionists.

kansas nebraska act
Kansas - Nebraska Act

Although the Kansas–Nebraska act did not deal with both Missouri and Kansas, it was an important point because it divided the remaining parts of the Louisiana Purchase into Kansas and, of course, Nebraska.

This act, established on May 30th , 1854, by Senator Stephen A. Douglas, abolished the Missouri Compromise of 1820.

It stated that all new territories could choose whether or not they would permit slavery.

At first, it seemed like a good idea but the law soon upset the balance of power between the Northern and Southern states. As a matter of fact, whoever controlled Kansas would likely control the new territories and the political power that each would have in Congress.

the kansas nebraska act
The Kansas-Nebraska Act

The Kansas-Nebraska Act was introduced by Stephen Douglas, to create a Mideastern Transcontinental Railroad. However, problems arose when popular sovereignty was included.

the kansas nebraska act continued
The Kansas-Nebraska Act Continued

This plan divided the Louisiana Purchase into two territories- Kansa and Nebraska. Popular sovereignty would decided the question of slavery. Also, it would remove the Missouri Compromise’s restriction of slavery north of the 36°30‘ line.

kansas nebraska

The Kansas-Nebraska act established that settlers could vote to decide whether to allow slavery, in the name of popular sovereignty or rule of the people.

divisions created by the kansas nebraska act
Divisions created by the Kansas-Nebraska Act

When the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed, it was very damaging to the Whigs. Every northern Whig voted against Douglas’s Bill, while most southern Whigs voted for it.

choosing nominees in the election of 1856
Choosing nominees in the Election of 1856

The Democrats knew that they could not nominate anyone associated with the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In the end, they chose James Buchanan. He was very experienced in Congress, and most importantly, he was not associated with the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

bleeding kansas
Bleeding Kansas

Bleeding Kansas was a series of violent events, involving northern abolitionists and pro-slavery southerners that took place in Kansas, becoming a state of civil war. Around 200 men were killed as a result.

john brown
John Brown

John Brown was an important figure in the war. He was responsible for many incidents such as the Pottawatomie Massacre. This anti slavery leader had heard that during an attack on the town of Lawrence, five Free State men had been murdered. In an act of revenge, he set out and led seven other men along Pottawatomie creek and ended up killing 5 pro-slavery innocent men.

John Brown had killed people, and when investigated, no actions were taken against him. Many Southerners were angered and demanded justice. As lawlessness took over, people stood by as Kansas destroyed itself with acts of pure cruelty.

the pottawatomie massacre
The Pottawatomie Massacre

John Brown, an abolitionist, felt the need to punish pro-slavery Kansans. On the night of May 24, 1856, he led a group of seven men along Pottawatomie Creek in eastern Kansas. They killed five pro-slavery men in what became known as the Pottawatomie Massacre.

conflict in congress
Conflict in Congress

Senator Charles Sumner gave a speech called “The Crime Against Kansas”, where he criticized and insulted Senator Andrew Pickens Butler. Representative Preston Brooks, a relative of Butler, was greatly upset. On May 22, 1856, he approached Sumner in the Senate Chamber and beat him unconscious with a walking cane.

kansas enters the union
Kansas enters the Union

A few years after the events of Bleeding Kansas, the state was admitted into the Union as a free state, less than three months before the Battle of Fort Sumter which began the Civil War.

first settlement of kansas and the slavery
First Settlement of Kansas and the Slavery

This all started when Missouri and Arkansas sent settlers into Kansas all along its eastern border. These settlers attempted and brought slavery into the state.

attempt to stop the spread of slavery
Attempt to Stop the Spread of Slavery

The secondary settlement of Kansas involved abolitionists from Massachusetts and other Free-Staters. They attempted to stop the spread of slavery, which resulted as the Bleeding Kansas.

quantrill s raid
Quantrill’s Raid

After Bleeding Kansas, most of its violence subsided. However, on August 21, 1863, William Quantrill of the Confederacy led several hundred men on a raid in Lawrence, Kansas, destroying much of the city and killing nearly 200 people.

post civil war
Post-Civil War

After the Civil war, many veterans built homesteads in Kansas. Many African Americans also looked to Kansas as the land of “John Brown”, and began establishing black colonies in the state.


Overall, slavery and the discussion of whether slavery should be allowed or not allowed in Missouri and Kansas helped shape how our country, the United States of America, is today.

civil war service
Civil War Service

African Americans fought in both armies. The Confederacy used slaves as naval crew members and soldiers and the Union enlisted them early in the war. African soldiers did not have equal pay and were treated badly while serving in black units. Robert Smalls, a sailor and later an honored Union naval captain went on to become a Congressman after the war ended.