Fri, Nov 20, 2015 09:30AM EST - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 09:30AM EST
Exceptionally Rare Group of Bleeding Kansas Broadsides
A group of 3 printed broadsides produced during "Bleeding Kansas," capturing heightened tensions between residents and forceful responses by a governor determined to regain law and order.
Between 1854 and 1861 the territory of Kansas resembled a battlefield more than a peaceful plain. "Bleeding Kansas" was the result of overflowing tensions caused by debates over the admission of more slave states into the Union. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1853 intended to qualm the dispute by allowing residents to decide their status based on popular sovereignty. Instead, the decision incited a massive ingress of people hoping to impact the outcome by any means necessary. Conflicts during "Bleeding Kansas" were not necessarily resolved in 1861 but relocated onto actual battlefields during the Civil War. It finally ended with the victory of the Union Army and the abolition of slavery in all states.
The first broadside, possibly distributed at a town meeting, is titled a Charter of the City of Lawrence, created by local officials. It includes a message from five concerned citizens voicing their reasons for wanting to establish a city government. A disgruntled Kansas resident scrawls on the back, we have 400 troops quartered in our midst, good time coming Walker is the greatest Ass of the present age. 11 x 17 in.
In a more flattering tone, the second broadside's dramatic heading reads, THREE CHEERS FOR THE PACIFICATOR. HURRAH FOR GOVERNOR WALKER! The issue of The Lawrence Republican.--Extra praises Walker for the charter and adds a copy of his first proclamation where he explains the status of the charter and the power by the local government. The Lawrence Republican established itself in May 1957, making this broadside one of its earlier publications. One other known copy of this broadside exists at the Kansas State Historical Society. 8 x 19 in.
Mocking Governor Walker, the opposition printed Proclamation No. 2, an overly dramatic letter from a Big Stranger warning Rebellious Subjects of Lawrence of the government troops that were poised to intervene. At 3 a.m. on July 17, 1857, the leering "Big Stranger" writes, I have now approached to within a few miles of your city. Anxious still, if possible, to prevent the effusion of blood, and to win you back the allegiance to the laws of the land...I am at the head of eight companies of United States troops, and shall soon be in your midst...signed [as if he were a tyrannical Roman emperor] Robertus J. Walkerus. 8 x 18 in. Only one known copy and one variation have been found at the Kansas State Historical Society.
Soiling on the Republican Extra and Charter; toning on all of the items and some minor tears on the outer margins; typical folds. All are in protective sleeves, but loose.