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Did the Civil War Really Begin in Kansas? (poll)

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by gem, Nov 4, 2018.

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Did the Civil War Really Begin in Kansas?

  1. Yes

    18 vote(s)
    40.0%
  2. No

    21 vote(s)
    46.7%
  3. Don't Know

    6 vote(s)
    13.3%
  1. gem

    gem 2nd Lieutenant

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    The election of Lincoln followed by secession and firing by the Confederate Army upon Fort Sumter is generally cited as the the 'start' of the Civil War.

    However, prior to this in Kansas fighting and lawlessness prevailed as proslavery forces clashed with antislavery forces over the ever important question of whether Kansas would enter the Union 'free or slave'.

    Its been argued by some historians that Kansas not South Carolina is where the Civil War actually began.

    Thus, did the Civil War Really Begin in Kansas?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018

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  3. wbull1

    wbull1 Private

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    Given the opportunity for people who actually lived in an area to decide for themselves if they wanted to allow slavery or not, pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups showed they were committed to forcing their views on others and using violence to do it. By this time in history, all chances for reason and compromise were gone. The only solution would have to be armed conflict. If not the start of the Civil War, it was a "prequel."
     
  4. BlueandGrayl

    BlueandGrayl Sergeant

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    Honestly it's like saying the American Revolution started with the Boston Tea Party. Bleeding Kansas was a prequel to borrow a term in film/TV.
     
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  5. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    I voted yes but you posted a tricky question. Until Lincoln was elected no federal forts, mints or troops were seized by the secessionists. Lincoln did not call for 75k volunteers until well after violence in Kansas settled down.
    The best analogy might be a professional boxing match where lesser known fighter's warm up the crowd before the main event.
    Leftyhunter
     
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  6. BlueandGrayl

    BlueandGrayl Sergeant

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    That wasn't the only time Civil War would/was threatening to happen. There was the January-September 1850 pre-Compromise in which Texas threatened to send its militia to New Mexico and contemporaries like Alexander Stephens, Henry S. Foote, and Henry Clay as newspapers like the Richmond Republican and the Hartford Courant warned there would be civil war and disunion should the United States military garrison clash with Texas Rangers militia plus the other Southern states (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri) or Southerners in general would join in with Texas.

    We also have the Missouri debates of 1819-1820 prior to Maine's admission and the Missouri Compromise there were efforts to make that territory a free state and the aforementioned Henry Clay noted to a friend that the words civil war and disunion were uttered such similar sentiments were echoed by James Tallmadge and Thomas W. Cobb and Thomas Jefferson.
     
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  7. Southern Volunteer

    Southern Volunteer Private

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    I think the situation in Kansas was too contained to call it the start of the war. I don't accept that Bleeding Kansas made open war in the east inevitable. So I voted no.
     
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  8. BlueandGrayl

    BlueandGrayl Sergeant

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    Even with Bleeding Kansas it did not immediately lead to civil war breaking out and there had been threats of war breaking out in 1819-1820 or 1849-1850.
     
  9. gem

    gem 2nd Lieutenant

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    I could be mistaken but I’m not aware of any armed conflict over the slavery issue prior to Kansas.
     
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  10. BlueandGrayl

    BlueandGrayl Sergeant

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    What I mean is that there were threats of civil war and disunion that could have led to armed conflict. The Missouri debates did not any armed conflict but the 1849-1850 debates did have the specter of conflict as mentioned before Texas was planning on sending its militia to New Mexico. It had the potential to trigger Civil War among the Northern and Southern states.
     
  11. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    Maybe another way of looking at Bleeding Kansas is it showed that the Abolitionists were not a bunch of sissy boys. That is when push came to shove they could and did match the Border Ruffians body for body or eye for eye.
    In other words Kansas was a game changer.
    Leftyhunter
     
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  12. BlueandGrayl

    BlueandGrayl Sergeant

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    Or potentially there were game changers that could have occured were the Texas-New Mexico booundary issue exploding into the U.S. military garrison and Texas militia fighting each other at Santa Fe and thus speeding up Civil War between the North and the South (plus Kentucky and Missouri). To a lesser extent we also have the Missouri debates if it had been a free state.
     
  13. gem

    gem 2nd Lieutenant

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    The key to the Civil War is armed conflict over the slavery issue. Anything other than that may be a factor, but wouldn’t qualify as the start of war.
     
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  14. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    Potentially is not the same as drawing blood. The fun and games in Kansas proved that Abolitionists can fight not only as individuals but in groups. Also thanks to John Brown the Abolitionists could also fight minus the Queensbury Rules. Also the Abolitionists won.
    The above was not good news for holder's.
    Leftyhunter
     
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  15. TomV71

    TomV71 Private Silver Patron

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    The day Lincoln called for volunteers on April 15, really sparked the war. It could have been avoided until then, even if Fort Sumter had been fired upon.
    When Lincoln called for 75.000 volunteers, Virginia seceded two days later, then followed by Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina. Virginia's secession was a direct result of Lincolns call for volunteers and the most used word in Virginia's secession convention was "coercion".
    The debate of slavery was albut absent at that convention, only that they where being forced upon to stay in the Union, so they seceded too. (A matter of honor maybe.)
    The Confederacy would easily have been defeated without the latter states, or if the Confederacy had been left alone, it might have been without those states. But the latter have much room for debate.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  16. BlueandGrayl

    BlueandGrayl Sergeant

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    Well it should be noted gem and leftyhunter that there at least five major issues Clay identified: The slave trade/slavery in Washington, D.C., California, Fugitive slaves escaping, the status of whether slavery could be permitted in the Western territories, and most importantly the Texas-New Mexico boundary dispute. It had the potential to help spark a conflict if certain events went the other way.

    Keep in mind as early as October 1849 there had been threats to secede if any action were taken against their institutions in the territories by representatives of several Southern states at a meeting in Natchez, Mississippi and in 1850 South Carolina and Virginia spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on arming themselves while Georgia planned on a convention (which instead became the pro-Union Georgia Platform) about potentially dissolving ties with the Union.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  17. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    While I certainly can't speak on behalf of @gem I take it that his point is for the first time in American history Abolitionists and pro slavery men were willing to shed blood. Yes in the past there were threats of violence between pro slavery and Abolitionists but starting in 1856 the game changed. The gloves came off and pro slavery advocates knew time was not on their side.
    Leftyhunter
     
  18. BlueandGrayl

    BlueandGrayl Sergeant

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    Admittedly it wasn't abolitionists and slavocrats willing to shed blood however it was Texas militia and the U.S. military garrison were in 1850 had there been no Compromise of 1850 to create support for it in the Lone Star State.

    If it were Zachary Taylor handling the situation I doubt you would ever see Southern secession as he was a military man who was determined to use force with himself on horseback and hang anyone who betrayed him. If it were Millard Fillmore then I could conceivably see the Southern states seceding given that Fillmore was Northern-born (he was from New York) and didn't have the same hardcore attitude as Taylor did.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  19. Old_Glory

    Old_Glory 2nd Lieutenant

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    The fact that the New England emigration into Kansas was politically organized and did not occur naturally, I'd say it was the beginning. Most of the the bickering in US history up to that point was over new states. This time, one side wanted both of them instead of splitting as had been compromised in the past.
     
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  20. jackt62

    jackt62 Sergeant Major

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    I don't think one can say that the war began in Kansas. More likely to say that the infighting between abolitionists and slavery advocates that started after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill in 1855 represented a major escalation in the ongoing crisis that would eventually lead to secession and warfare in 1861.
     
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  21. BlueandGrayl

    BlueandGrayl Sergeant

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    Yeah, Bleeding Kansas was contained to just one area and unless there had been a little escalation it just stayed that way.
     
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