U.S. Sectionalism Timeline, 1855-1859


1855-1856: Rival Legislatures established in territorial Kansas

  • Lecompton: Slave
  • Topeka/Lawrence: Free State (Jayhawk)


November 1855: “Battle” of the Wakarusa River


May 19-20, 1856: Senator Charles Sumner’s two-day “Crime Against Kansas” speech

May 21, 1856: The Sack of Lawrence


May 22, 1856: Brooks canes Sumner


Summer 1856: Guerilla action between Pukes and Jayhawkers; most famous is John Brown’s “Army of the North”


August 30, 1856: Frederick Brown is killed


November 1856: Democrat James Buchanan wins the presidency


Spring 1857: Jayhawkers outnumber Pukes, 2 to 1, in Kansas


Fall 1857/Winter 1858: “Lecompton Swindle”


1857: George Fitzhugh’s CANNIBALS ALL released; Hinton Rowan Helper’s IMPENDING CRISIS OF THE SOUTH


1858: Kansans reject Buchanan Bribe, 10 to 1


1858-1859 Congressional Session deals with three issues: 1) Cuba; 2) Homestead Act; 3) reopening the International Slave Trade

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