Bleeding Kansas is the name given to a small scale civil war that took place in Kansas territory 1855-57 over the issue of slavery. It followed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which introduced the idea of popular sovereignty. The voters got to decide on whether Kansas would have slavery, so pro and anti-slavery forces in other states subsidized armed immigrants, who fought it out. Major violence took place when pro-southern elements from Missouri burned Lawrence in retaliation by the killings of pro-slavery men by John Brown. President James Buchanan intervened on the pro-slavery side, but that broke apart the Democratic Party, as Stephen Douglas was outraged by Buchanan's violation of democracy.
see also Kansas-Nebraska Act
- Etcheson, Nicole. Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era (2006) excerpt and text search
- Nevins, Allan. Ordeal of the Union. vol 2 (1947), the most detailed history.
- Potter, David M. The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (1976), Pulitzer prize winning scholarly history. excerpt and text search
- SenGupta, Gunja. “Bleeding Kansas: A Review Essay.” Kansas History 24 (Winter 2001/2002): 318-341.