Edited by Pearl T. Ponce
“Kansas’s War: The Civil War in Documents has much to recommend it and will prove a handy and valuable reference for any scholar interested in territorial or wartime Kansas in the Civil War…. Ponce provides insightful introductions to each chapter, offering clear and concise overviews of the issues and themes.”
Journal of Southern History
“Pearl Ponce…has effectively tackled the state of Kansas in a fresh and thought-provoking collection of documents, many of which have been hidden in archives or newspapers since John Brown caused all that fuss back in 1856.”
“A skillful selection of historical documents spanning the decades before, during, and after the Civil War, Kansas's War is a great introductory resource for college level classrooms and libraries.”
Civil War Books and Authors blog
“Pearl T. Ponce presents a fascinating collection of primary sources to illuminate the tumultuous early history of Kansas. Her study gives voice to a wide array of Kansans on a wide range of topics.”
Jeremy Neely, author of The Border between Them: Violence and Reconciliation on the Kansas-Missouri Line
When the Civil War broke out in April 1861, Kansas was in a unique position. Although it had been a state for mere weeks, its residents were already intimately acquainted with civil strife. Since its organization as a territory in 1854, Kansas had been the focus of a national debate over the place of slavery in the Republic. By 1856, the ideological conflict developed into actual violence, earning the territory the sobriquet “Bleeding Kansas.” Because of this recent territorial strife, the state’s transition from peace to war was not as abrupt as that of other states.
Kansas’s War illuminates the new state’s main preoccupations: the internal struggle for control of policy and patronage; border security; and issues of race—especially efforts to come to terms with the burgeoning African American population and American Indians’ continuing claims to nearly one-fifth of the state’s land. These documents demonstrate how politicians, soldiers, and ordinary Kansans understood the conflict and were transformed by the war.
Pearl T. Ponce is an assistant professor of history at Ithaca College.
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