|Nickname||The Sunflower State|
|Governor||Laura Kelly, Democratic|
|Senator||Pat Roberts, R |
|Senator||Jerry Moran, R |
|Ratification of Constitution/or statehood||January 29, 1861|
|Motto: "Ad astra per aspera" (To the Stars Through Difficulties)|
Kansas is a Midwestern state which became the 34th state admitted to the Union on January 29, 1861. Its capital is Topeka, and its largest cities are, in order, Wichita, Overland Park, and Kansas City. The name Kansas comes from a Sioux word meaning "people of the south wind." Its most prominent state college is the University of Kansas, long a basketball powerhouse.
The state Constitution of Kansas, like all of the other 50 states, acknowledges God or our Creator or the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe. It says:
- We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges, in order to insure the full enjoyment of our rights as American citizens, do ordain and establish this constitution of the state of Kansas, with the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at a point on the western boundary of the state of Missouri, where the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude crosses the same; thence running west on said parallel to the twenty-fifth meridian of longitude west from Washington; thence north on said meridian to the fortieth parallel of north latitude; thence east on said parallel to the western boundary of the state of Missouri; thence south with the western boundary of said state to the place of beginning.
Kansas was admitted as a free state in the midst of guerilla warfare between pro-slavery and abolitionist forces that erupted in the wake of the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. This act had provided for an election to determine whether Kansas would be a free state or a slave state, and many people flooded into the state to vote. The vote process was not easy, and was rife with accusations of voter fraud. Noted abolitionist John Brown led anti-slavery forces during some of this time period. This violence continued after Kansas was admitted to the union on January 29, 1861, and the worst example was the virtual destruction of the city of Lawrence by pro-slavery guerilla William Quantrill on August 21, 1863, which killed most of the male population of the town.
Kansas is a reliable example of a conservative state, having voted for the Republican candidate in every Presidential election since 1968. Their federal delegation is mostly Republican, Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, are Republicans. Pat Roberts' current term of office is up in 2008. However, the state had a Democratic governor, Kathleen Sebelius, from 2003 until 2009, and elected a new Democratic governor in 2018. The past ten Governors have alternated between Republican and Democrats, which shows the independent nature of Kansans in politics going back to pre-statehood. Kansas has a rich history of influence on the Republican party going back to William Allen White to Bob Dole.
- Sen. Pat Roberts (R)
- Sen. Jerry Moran (R)
- Rep. Roger Marshall [R, KS-01]
- Rep. Steve Watkins [R, KS-02]
- Rep. Sharice Davids [D, KS-03]
- Rep. Ron Estes [R, KS-04]
- Governor Laura Kelly (D)
- Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers (D)
- Secretary of State Scott Schwab (R)
- Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R)
- State Treasurer Jacob LaTurner (R)
- Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt (R)
Kansas exports more wheat than any other state. Kansas's economy is heavily dependent upon agriculture.
Kansas's motto is ad astra per aspera, which is Latin for "to the stars through difficulties." Its state flower is the sunflower, its state tree is the cottonwood, and its state bird is the Western meadowlark.
The term "What would Jesus do?" was first used by Charles Sheldon, a Topeka minister, in 1896.
Cawker City is home to the world's largest ball of twine, which has a 40-foot circumference, and Greensburg is home to the world's deepest hand dug well, which is 109 feet deep. This well survived a large tornado that destroyed most of the town on May 4, 2007.
Although Dorothy Gale, in the 1900 book and 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, is from Kansas, L. Frank Baum, the author of the Oz books, had never been to Kansas, and based his description of a state where 'everything was grey' on his experiences as a newspaper man in North Dakota.
The operational headquarters of telecommunications giant Sprint Nextel is located in Overland Park.
The state flower of Kansas is the Sunflower.
Sam Brownback, current US Senator and former 2008 Presidential candidate, was born in Parker, attended Kansas State University, and currently represents Kansas in the Senate.
Bob Dole, former US Senator and the 1996 Republican nominee for President, grew up in Russell.
Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, was from Abilene.
Dwight Eisenhower, president of the United States from 1952 to 1960, grew up in Abilene.
Thomas Frank, an author who is most well known for his book What's the Matter with Kansas?, a look at the political history of Kansas written from a liberal perspective.
Dwight Frye, actor, best known for playing as Renfield in Dracula and Igor in Frankenstein (both in 1931), was from Salina
Dennis Hopper, actor, was from Dodge City
James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, was a professor and coach at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
Gordon Parks, an award-winning African-American photographer and writer, was from Fort Scott.
Jim Ryun, a three time Olympic gold medalist who held the world record in the mile run and served several terms in the House of Representatives, is originally from Wichita but now lives in Lawrence.
William Allen White, a journalist who is most well known for his bitter piece of conservative satire, What's the Matter With Kansas?, lived in Emporia. (Note: The title of the aforementioned Frank book is a reference to the article by White, which precedes Frank's book by over 100 years.)
The University of Kansas's men's basketball team is a traditional powerhouse, having produced such NBA greats as Wilt Chamberlain and Danny Manning, and having won the 1988 national championship. The Kansas State University football team has also been relatively successful as of late. The Wildcats have advanced to the Big XII Championship game twice.
Wichita has been home to many minor level sports including the Wichita Wings(indoor soccer), Wichita Wind (hockey), Wichita Aeros,(Baseball), Wichita Wranglers, (baseball), Wichita Stealth,(football), Wichita Aviators (football), Wichita Wild (football). Wichita is also the annual home to the National Baseball Congress tournament. The NBC hosts teams from throughout the country in a two-week 24 hour a day tournament.
The Kansas Board of Regents supervises six public universities in Kansas: The University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, and Pittsburg State University. There are also several private universities in Kansas, including Washburn University in Topeka, which is known for its law school. Just a few of the others include MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Friends University in Wichita, and Baker University in Baldwin City.