Attempts to Stop the Bleeding: Aid Societies and Family Conflict during Bleeding Kansas in Linn and Bourbon Counties as a result of the George W. Clark Raid of 1856

William Thomas McClure

Abstract


The pre-Civil War conflict of Bleeding Kansas bore the burden of a nation, acting as a battlefield for Free State and Pro Slavery parties. Chaos terrorized the Kansas Territory from 1854 with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act until the Reconstruction Era. In the context of this societal clash, an intensification of family conflict transpired, increasing the hardships for domestic units already enduring the challenges presented by a frontier lifestyle. Focusing on the Kansas Relief Committee reports on the Clark Raid of September 1856, familial motives are revealed over ideological ones. While Bleeding Kansas has long been a topic of historical interests, it is necessary to shift the dialogue from a societal lens to a family oriented one. By understanding and examining the realities of family life in the Kansas Territory, specifically within Linn and Bourbon counties, a better awareness is achieved concerning the unrest. Instead of actions rooted in Free State or Proslavery beliefs, evidence shows the aggression in southeastern Kansas found its foundation within the family.


Keywords


Bleeding Kansas; Family; Violence

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