The Border War

1854 to 1858


The Kansas – Nebraska Act triggered confrontation and violence between eastern abolitionists and Missouri citizens.  Abolitionists from New England and other northern states flooded the Kansas Territory.  Missouri citizens, angered by the invasion and determined to escort Kansas into the Union as a slave state, invaded the territory on numerous occasions.  In 1856 Missouri Ruffians burned Lawrence and terrorized Kansas residents.  As the free state movement gained control of the territory the border violence subsided, especially Missouri invasions.

1858 to 1861


By 1858 the slavery issue was largely settled – Kansas would enter the Union a free state.  Western Missouri now became the focal point of abolitionist aggression. Radical abolitionists, determined to spark a national Civil War, began frequent and violent incursions into what became the Burnt District.  Twice, between 1858 and the start of the Civil War, Missouri troops were dispatched to the area to protect Missouri lives and property.  The aggression continued into the Civil War.