Stark Mad Abolitionists: Lawrence, Kansas, and the Battle over Slavery in the Civil War Era

chellers

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Robert K. Sutton (Author)
Skyhorse Publishing (August 1, 2017)

In May, 1854, Massachusetts was in an uproar. A judge, bound by the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, had just ordered a young African American man who had escaped from slavery in Virginia and settled in Boston to be returned to bondage in the South. An estimated 50,000 citizen rioted in protest. Observing the scene was Amos Adams Lawrence, a wealthy Bostonian, who “waked up a stark mad Abolitionist.” As quickly as Lawrence waked up, he combined his fortune and his energy with others to create the New England Emigrant Aid Company to encourage abolitionists to emigrate to Kansas to ensure that it would be a free state.

The town that came to bear Lawrence’s name became the battleground for the soul of America, with abolitionists battling pro-slavery Missourians who were determined to make Kansas a slave state. The onset of the Civil War only escalated the violence, leading to the infamous raid of William Clarke Quantrill when he led a band of vicious Confederates (including Frank James, whose brother Jesse would soon join them) into town and killed two hundred men and boys.

Stark Mad Abolitionists shows how John Brown, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Sam Houston, and Abraham Lincoln all figure into the story of Lawrence and “Bleeding Kansas.” The story of Amos Lawrence’s eponymous town is part of a bigger story of people who were willing to risk their lives and their fortunes in the ongoing struggle for freedom and equality.

About the Author
Robert K. Sutton, former Chief Historian of the National Park Service, devoted his career to sharing stories with the public at America’s most iconic historic parks. He has written, contributed to, and edited over thirty books and articles on American history.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1510716491/?tag=civilwartalkc-20

Disclaimer: This post is neither a recommendation nor solicitation by CivilWarTalk or Chellers. It is solely for informational purposes.
 

gem

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Joined
Oct 26, 2012
View attachment 140968

Robert K. Sutton (Author)
Skyhorse Publishing (August 1, 2017)

In May, 1854, Massachusetts was in an uproar. A judge, bound by the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, had just ordered a young African American man who had escaped from slavery in Virginia and settled in Boston to be returned to bondage in the South. An estimated 50,000 citizen rioted in protest. Observing the scene was Amos Adams Lawrence, a wealthy Bostonian, who “waked up a stark mad Abolitionist.” As quickly as Lawrence waked up, he combined his fortune and his energy with others to create the New England Emigrant Aid Company to encourage abolitionists to emigrate to Kansas to ensure that it would be a free state.

The town that came to bear Lawrence’s name became the battleground for the soul of America, with abolitionists battling pro-slavery Missourians who were determined to make Kansas a slave state. The onset of the Civil War only escalated the violence, leading to the infamous raid of William Clarke Quantrill when he led a band of vicious Confederates (including Frank James, whose brother Jesse would soon join them) into town and killed two hundred men and boys.

Stark Mad Abolitionists shows how John Brown, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Sam Houston, and Abraham Lincoln all figure into the story of Lawrence and “Bleeding Kansas.” The story of Amos Lawrence’s eponymous town is part of a bigger story of people who were willing to risk their lives and their fortunes in the ongoing struggle for freedom and equality.

About the Author
Robert K. Sutton, former Chief Historian of the National Park Service, devoted his career to sharing stories with the public at America’s most iconic historic parks. He has written, contributed to, and edited over thirty books and articles on American history.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1510716491/?tag=civilwartalkc-20

Disclaimer: This post is neither a recommendation nor solicitation by CivilWarTalk or Chellers. It is solely for informational purposes.

Very nice. There is a gap in scholarship on what happened it Kansas, and only know are we starting to uncover the truth.
 

gem

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Oct 26, 2012
There is also a poor understanding of John Brown's role in Kansas, due to sketchy historical records.
Thus, I'd be interested if this book is able to shed any new light on the subject.
 

Patrick H

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Mar 7, 2014
There is also a poor understanding of John Brown's role in Kansas, due to sketchy historical records.
Thus, I'd be interested if this book is able to shed any new light on the subject.
Well, I think it's more accurate to say there is a mixed understanding of John Brown's role in Kansas, depending on one's view of John Brown. You and I each have our understanding, and, for each of us, our understanding is correct.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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I'm never clear why this story is contentious? Truly, it's extremely, extremely baffling.

Turn ourselves inside out, presenting civilian stories but this is one which for some reason remains in some mist- or becomes so hotly contested, it all goes up in smoke. It's as if we're all as invested in whatever killed those people, as were who did the damage.

Civilian stories are civilian stories- all of them, across the board. I realize nothing will change. But I will also point out we hear a great deal all about honoring those who lost their lives to a cause. Do we really get to pick and choose whose lives get to be honored ?

So keep the names, if that's where everyone draws their lines in the bloody sand. But for Heaven's sake, mark all the darn graves, and allow their names spoken out loud.
 

Patrick H

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Do we really get to pick and choose whose lives get to be honored ?
Annie, you make an excellent point here. Yes, this was in reference to a particularly contentious case, but it applies across the board. Who gets to decide these things? Whether we are discussing civilians, paramilitary or military cases, we all wind up picking and choosing who we wish to honor. There is seldom universal agreement. Furthermore, agreement and opinions sometimes change with the passage of time.
 

Joshism

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Location
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Do we really get to pick and choose whose lives get to be honored ?

Depending on how you define honored then yes.

Events happened. A body is buried where it is buried. Writing a history of what happened does not honor those involved; it relates the facts - good, bad, and indifferent.

People decided a century ago, we decide now, people with reconsider a century from now. Who we honor is always in a state of flux.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Depending on how you define honored then yes.

Events happened. A body is buried where it is buried. Writing a history of what happened does not honor those involved; it relates the facts - good, bad, and indifferent.

People decided a century ago, we decide now, people with reconsider a century from now. Who we honor is always in a state of flux.


Very carefully disagree. ' Body ' just separated someone from the ability to mark their grave, with or without honor. What you seem to be saying is, if the deceased is deemed worthy, depending on subjective criteria ( which is generally attached to personal ideology ) then we may honor them. I don't know. If we're at some spot, then or now or in the future, where we're poking around dead people, kinda claiming them or dismissing them back to anonymous earth, it's time to examine why we're doing it.

Honoring anyone who died during this war, as a result of violence ignited by this war, especially in Kansas seems testimony, and bearing witness, to moments so horrifying, we're not allowed to speak of them in 2018.
 

Joshism

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Very carefully disagree. ' Body ' just separated someone from the ability to mark their grave, with or without honor.

Marking a grave identifies who is there. It's a statement of fact.

Start getting fancy with the marker then things move into honor.

If we're at some spot, then or now or in the future, where we're poking around dead people, kinda claiming them or dismissing them back to anonymous earth, it's time to examine why we're doing it.

Isn't honoring someone telling others this person should serve as a good example, that they are someone worth emulating?
 
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Booner

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I purchased the E-BOOK a couple of days ago and am about a third of the war through it. I have to say, as a dyed in the wool Missouian, and a University of Missouri graduate, it not a bad book. The author seems to be pretty even handed- even for a Kansan!
This is not an in-depth, minute by minute tome on " Bleeding Kansas," and thank goodness for that. It is an enjoyable read that does a good job of explaining a complicated situation without bogging the reader down with minutiae. I'm enjoying it so far.
 

ErnieMac

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I just completed Stark Mad Abolitionists. I find the book to be a good introduction to the story of Bleeding Kansas as opposed to a detailed history. John Brown's Pottawatomie massacre is covered in a couple pages. As a couple posts have mentioned the story is presented in a fair and even handed matter. It is mostly written from the point of view of the Free-Staters; I suspect that is mainly because they left more personal accounts. The primary exceptions in point of view concern the guerrilla warfare on both sides of the Kansas - Missouri border and Quantrill's 1863 Lawrence Raid where actions on both sides are discussed.
 
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