National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1850-1865: We are a house divided, a nation torn by bloody civil war

May 21, 1856
Settlers fight over slavery, leaving Kansas bleeding

Settlers fighting in Kansas over the issue of slavery

Did Congress think it could end the bitter dispute over slavery in the territories with a law that lets settlers decide? That law, now two years old, has brought only chaos.

Here in Kansas we have two state legislatures: one for slavery, one against. Today in Lawrence, a pro-slavery mob has burned a hotel and ransacked homes and stores. Antislavery forces are sure to resort to violence themselves.

Both sides arm themselves with the Constitution.

Compromise begins to seem impossible.

Read about it in the New York times

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