March 30, 2017

Today in History: Pro-slavery “Border Ruffians” win Kansas legislature (1855)

John RobsonArchive

On March 30, 1855 “Border Ruffians” elected a pro-slavery legislature in the Kansas Territory through brutality and intimidation. 

This superficially trivial incident shows that “democracy” must mean more than a show of hands, clenched or not; it has to mean a shared understanding of basic rules of decency and a commitment to protect natural rights.

Otherwise it rapidly degenerates into a violent free-for-all as it did in “Bleeding Kansas” in the run-up to the U.S. Civil War.

You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
commented 2017-03-30 22:53:21 -0400
If any man in history deserved to be hanged it was John Brown….none of the people he killed actually owned slaves.

Righteous indignation alone does not make you righteous.
commented 2017-03-30 17:58:47 -0400
There was a James Garner movie about this very frontier war in Kansas. I remember one scene when he shows up new and innocent and is asked where he is from. Says his state and is given a dollar. So he figures might as well try his luck with another person, says his state and gets beaten up. I am thinking it was ‘Skin Game’, but not sure. Anyone out there have a better memory than I?
commented 2017-03-30 16:56:00 -0400
Thank you John Robson. There is so much we can learn from history, and, it’s unfortunate there are a great many people who are okay with distancing themselves from it.