Pearl T. Ponce is an assistant professor of history at Ithaca College.
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.”