Kansas History - the history of Kansas
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Kansas   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Kansas History

   
 

Kansas History


The first Native American peoples arrived in what is today the state Kansas, approximately 9,000 years ago. Initially these people were hunter-gatherers, but around 3,000 years some converted to a largely settled agricultural lifestyle and developed permanent dwellings in larger settlements.

In 1541, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado visited the region. During this expedition, the horse was introduced to the Plains Indian, and this greatly altered their lifestyle and range. The Kansa and Osage peoples arrived in Kansas during the 17th century. Other Native American peoples who inhabited present-day Kansas included the Pawnees and the Otoe tribe of the Sioux.

In 1724, the French visited the Kansas river and established a trading post near the mouth of the river. At this time, the territory was part of the area claimed as New France. Kansas became an unorganized territory of the United States following the 1803 Louisana Purchase from France.

In 1806, the Zebulon Pike explored the area, and labelled it as the "Great American Desert". As a result, in the 1820s, the federal government "permanently" set aside the region as Indian territory and closed it to white settlement. Between the 1820s and 1840s, the federal government moved many Native American tribes into the region. Despite the prohibition on white settlement, the Santa Fe trail passed through Kansas, US Army forts were established inside the territory (starting with Fort Leavenworth in 1827), and by the 1850s, many white Americans were illegally squatting in the area and calling for the entire territory to be opened for settlement.

In the 1850s, white settlers began to push for territorial government, and by 1853, Congress had decided that eastern Kansas should be open to settlement. The treaties with Native Americans were renegotiated, and the U.S. Government regained nearly all the land that it had ceded to them "forever" only a few years before. The Indians were then largely relocated to Oklahoma.

In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act became law, and established the Nebraska and Kansas Territories. A controversial provision of the Act was that settlers in the territories would decide for themselves whether to allow slavery within the borders ("popular sovereignty"), rather than following the earlier Missouri Compromise which banned slavery North of 36°30'. The Kansas-Nebraska Act led to violence and chaos in Kansas with fighting between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers, and four different competing constitutions for Kansas, earning the territory the nickname of "Bleeding Kansas". Eventually, Kansas was admitted as the 34th state of the Union on January 29th, 1861 as a free state.

During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), most Kansans strongly favored the Union. More than 20,000 men were enlisted from the state, a remarkable number considering the state had only 30,000 men of military age. These forces suffered over 8,500 casualties during the war. During the war, many guerilla raids and atrocities took place in the state, the worst of which occured at Lawrence which destroyed much of the city include the massacre of about 200 men and boys. The biggest battle in the state was the Battle of Mine Creek which involved around 25,000 men.

The 1860s also saw the Indian Wars in Kansas and Nebraska, between Cheyennes and Araphoes on one side, and white settlers and the US Army on the other. The worst incident was the massacre of a band of friendly Indians at Sand Creek near Fort Lyon, who were on their own reservation and had been ordered there as a place of safety.

Following the Civil War, many former slaves, known as "Exodusters", moved to Kansas, which was known as the land of John Brown. These Exodusters founded the town of Nicodemus.

Kansas led the way in the prohibition movement: On February 19th 1881, Kansas was the first US state to ban all alcoholic beverages.

Kansas contributed troops to guard the US-Mexico border during the Mexican Revolution (1916), and over 80,000 troops to the US military after the US entry into World War I in 1917.

After World I, there were several legal battles between the state of Kansas and the Ku Klux Klan, which eventually resulted from their explusion from the state. The region also suffered during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and many farmers left the state as a result.

In 1954, Kansas was at the center of controversy in the court case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka which concerned the Monroe Elementary School, one of four segregated elementary schools in Topeka. The US Supreme Court eventually ruled 9-0 that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" reversing the precedent set by the Court's previous (1899) decision in Cumming v. Richmond County Board of Education.


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Kansas: The History of the Sunflower State, 1854-2000

By Craig Miner

Brand: University Press of Kansas
Paperback (528 pages)

Kansas: The History of the Sunflower State, 1854-2000
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Kansas is not only the Sunflower State, it's the very heart of America's heartland. It is a place of extremes in politics as well as climate, where ambitious and energetic people have attempted to put ideals into practice-a state that has come a long way since being identified primarily with John Brown and his exploits.

Craig Miner has written a complete and balanced history of Kansas, capturing the state's colorful past and dynamic present as he depicts the persistence of contrasting images of and attitudes toward the state throughout its 150 years. A work combining serious scholarship with great readability, it encompasses everything from the Kansas-Nebraska Act to the evolution-creationism controversy, emphasizing the historical moments that were pivotal in forming the culture of the state and the diverse group of people who have contributed to its history.

Kansas: The History of the Sunflower State is the first new state history to appear in over twenty-five years and the most thoroughly researched ever published. Written to enlighten general readers within and well beyond the state's borders, it offers coverage not found in previous histories: greater attention to its cities-notably Wichita-and to its south central and western regions, accounts of business history, contributions of women and minorities, and environmental concerns. It presents the dark as well as the bright side of Kansas progressivism and is the first Kansas history to deal with the post-World War II era in any significant detail.

Craig Miner has spent almost forty years researching, teaching, and writing Kansas history and has dug deeply into primary sources-especially gubernatorial papers-that shed new light on the state. That research has enabled him to assemble a wider cast of characters and more entertaining collection of quotations than found in earlier histories and to better show how individual initiative and entrepreneurial aspirations have profoundly influenced the creation of present-day Kansas.

Ranging from the days of cattle and railroads to the era of oil and agribusiness, this history situates the state in its own terms rather than as a sidebar to a larger American epic. Miner brings to its pages an identifiable Kansas character to preserve what is distinctive about the state's identity for future generations, echoing what one Kansan said over half a century ago: "Kansas is simply Kansas. May she never be tempted to become anything else."

It Happened in Kansas: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened In Series)

By Sarah Smarsh

Brand: Globe Pequot
Released: 2010-08-17
Paperback (160 pages)

It Happened in Kansas: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened In Series)
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It Happened in Kansas features over 25 chapters in Kansas history.  Lively and entertaining, this book brings the varied and fascinating history of the Sunflower State to life.

Kansas: A History (The States and the Nation)

By Kenneth S. Davis

W. W. Norton & Company
Paperback (260 pages)

Kansas: A History (The States and the Nation)
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No state's creation was more dramatic, more at the center of national attention, more involved in fundamental moral conflict, than that of Kansas. In a sense, the state's history began with the arrival of the first Puritans of New England and the first slaves of Virginia. The States And The Nation Series, of which this volume is a part, is designed to assist the American people in a serious look at the ideals they have espoused and the experiences they have undergone in the history of the nation.

Hidden History of Kansas

By Adrian Zink

The History Press
Released: 2017-11-06
Paperback (128 pages)

Hidden History of Kansas
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Kansas' storied past is filled with fascinating firsts, humorous coincidences and intriguing characters. A man who had survived a murderous proslavery massacre in 1858 hanged his would-be executioner five years later. A wealthy Frenchman utilized his utopian ideals to create an award-winning silk-producing commune in Franklin County. A young boy's amputated arm led to the rise of Sprint Corporation. The first victim of the doomed Donner Party met her end in Kansas. In 1947, a housewife in Johnson County, indignant at the poor condition of the local school for black children, sparked school desegregation nationwide. Author and historian Adrian Zink digs deep into the Sunflower State's history to reveal these hidden and overlooked stories.

Kansas History: An Annotated Bibliography (Bibliographies of the States of the United States)

Brand: Greenwood
Hardcover (616 pages)

Kansas History: An Annotated Bibliography (Bibliographies of the States of the United States)
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The first volume in the series State Bibliographies, this book provides comprehensive coverage of secondary materials on Kansas history and also includes useful references to major archival and manuscript collections. Although excellent specialized bibliographies have been published, this volume is the most complete compilation of historical and related materials for the state. Its broad and diverse scope ranges from standard political and economic studies to social and environmental histories, to local studies, and to regional studies with special significance to the state.

The volume is divided into sections on prehistory; indigenous population; early exploration; territorial period; statehood; Kansas since 1898; agriculture; economic life; transportation; cultural life; education; science and medicine; social history; general histories and reference guides; local and county history; historiography materials; and historic sites. Entries include informative annotations designed to aid the novice and the scholar. The volume is thoroughly indexed by author and subject and includes the only existing index for all the major articles appearing over the past 125 years in the Kansas State Historical Society's major publications.

The Indian War of 1864: Being a Fragment of the Early History of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming

By Eugene Ware

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (266 pages)

The Indian War of 1864: Being a Fragment of the Early History of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming
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This is a history that looks at some of the fighting Northern forces did against Native Americans out in the West during the middle of the Civil War

Racism in Kansas City: A Short History

By G. S. Griffin

G S Griffin
Paperback (274 pages)

Racism in Kansas City: A Short History
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RACISM IN KANSAS CITY: A SHORT HISTORY BY G.S. GRIFFIN FOREWORD BY ALVIN BROOKS Anti-black racism still infects American society. African Americans are more likely than whites to be killed by police, to be pulled over, arrested, imprisoned, and executed. They are more likely to be turned down for a job or offered a bad home loan than equally qualified whites. The killing of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, triggered riots. A white terrorist massacred black worshipers in Charleston, South Carolina. Eight black churches were burned in the South in ten days. Kansas Citians, like so many others across the nation, wonder, “Could it happen here?” The answer lies in this study of Kansas City’s darkest moments—slavery, the border war, the Civil War, bombings of black homes, lynchings, the segregation of neighborhoods and schools, the civil rights struggle, the Black Panther movement, the 1968 race riot, assassinations in the 1970s, the infamous Missouri v. Jenkins U.S. Supreme Court case, and the racial inequities that still plague Kansas City today. Threaded throughout Racism in Kansas City are stories of those who fought ardently against racist policies...and won. Racism in Kansas City, in the end, offers readers a hopeful message: with awareness comes understanding, then a willingness to push for positive social change. To contact the author for speaking engagements or to purchase bulk orders at a discount rate, please email chandlerlakebooks@gmail.com.

Kansas City and How It Grew, 1822-2011

By James R. Shortridge

Brand: Univ Pr of Kansas
Hardcover (262 pages)

Kansas City and How It Grew, 1822-2011
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Think of Kansas City and you'll probably think of barbecue, jazz, or the Chiefs. But for James Shortridge, this heartland city is more than the sum of its cultural beacons.

In Kansas City and How It Grew, 1822-201, a prize-winning geographer traces the historical geography of a place that has developed over 200 years from a cowtown on the bend of the Missouri River into a metropolis straddling two states. He explores the changing character of the community and its component neighborhoods, showing how the city has come to look and function the way it does-and how it has come to be perceived the way it has.

Proximity to Great Plains ranches and farms encouraged early and sustained success for Kansas City meatpackers and millers, and Shortridge shows how local responses to economic realities have molded the city's urban structure. He explores the parallel processes of suburbanization and the restructuring of older areas, and tells what happens when transportation shifts from rivers to railroads, then to superhighways and international airports. He also reveals what historians have missed by tending to focus attention only on one side or the other of the state boundary.

The book is a virtual who's who of KC progress: without selective law enforcement under political boss Thomas Pendergast, Kansas City would not enjoy its legacy of jazz; without the gift of Thomas Swope's namesake park, upscale residential expansion likely would have gone east instead of south; and without J. C. Nichols, Johnson County suburbs would have developed in a less spectacular manner. Its insight into important molders of the city includes nearly forgotten names such as William Dalton, Charles Morse, and Willard Winner, plus important figures from more recent years including Kay Barnes, Charles Garney, and Bonnie Poteet.
,br>With more than 50 photos and dozens of maps specially created for this book, Kansas City and How It Grew is unique in treating the entire metropolitan area instead of just one portion. With coverage ranging from ethnic neighborhoods to development strategies, it's an indispensable touchstone for those who want to try to understand Kansas City as both a city and a place.

John Brown to Bob Dole: Movers and Shakers in Kansas History

By Virgil W Dean

Brand: Univ Pr of Kansas
Paperback (408 pages)

John Brown to Bob Dole: Movers and Shakers in Kansas History
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Presents portraits of twenty-seven notable men and women, including radical abolitionist John Brown; wheat king Theodore C Henry; women's rights activist Clarina Nichols; William Allen White, the Sage of Emporia; President Dwight D Eisenhower; Esther Brown, who challenged segregation in public schools; political icon Bob Dole; and, Gordon Parks.

Kansas Nature Set: Field Guides to Wildlife, Birds, Trees & Wildflowers of Kansas

By James Kavanagh

Waterford Press
Paperback (36 pages)

Kansas Nature Set: Field Guides to Wildlife, Birds, Trees & Wildflowers of Kansas
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The Kansas Nature Set offers the best in wildlife and plant identification for The Sunflower State. The set includes three Pocket Naturalist Guides to Kansas, Trees & Wildflowers, Birds, and Wildlife, and is attractively packaged in an acetate bag. The beautifully illustrated folding guides highlight well over 300 familiar and unique species and include ecoregion maps featuring prominent wildlife-viewing areas and botanical sanctuaries. Laminated for durability, Pocket Naturalist Guides are lightweight, pocket-sized sources of portable information and ideal for field use by novices and experts alike. Made in the USA.


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