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Governor Robert J. Walker


Charles Robinson
Charles Robinson

In July 1857 the territorial governor, Robert J. Walker, persuaded the Free State Party to participate in the territorial election later in October. In the election, which was well supervised compared with earlier elections, the Free State Party gained control of the legislature.

Despite the defeat, proslavery settlers continued to press for Kansas’s admission to the Union as a slave state. In November 1857 it held a convention at Lecompton and proposed a state constitution that would guarantee the right to hold slaves in Kansas. Proslavery forces then arranged the ballot so that territorial voters would vote not on the constitution but on the question of whether there would be a “constitution with slavery” or a “constitution with no slavery.”

This meant that the electorate could prohibit the introduction of slaves into Kansas in the future but could not interfere with slavery already existing there. Free Staters refused to participate in such an election; instead, the Free State legislature scheduled a vote on the constitution for January 1858. This time the proslavery forces refused to vote, and the Lecompton constitution was rejected almost unanimously. A new constitution drawn up by the Free Staters was approved by the voters in May but was rejected by the U.S. Congress, which instead arranged another vote in which the Lecompton constitution was finally and overwhelmingly defeated.

In July 1859 a new proposed state constitution that included an article prohibiting slavery was drawn up at Wyandotte, now part of Kansas City, Kansas.

The new constitution


Kansas voters approved the new constitution by a two-to-one margin in an October election and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as the 34th state. The boundaries of the new state were drawn to exclude the Kansas Territory’s western section, which eventually became part of Colorado. Charles Robinson was elected the state’s first governor, and Topeka became the state capital. "Kansas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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