By Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel
In Bleeding Borders, Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel deals a clean, multifaceted interpretation of the vital sectional clash in pre-Civil struggle Kansas. rather than concentrating on the white, male politicians and settlers who vied for keep an eye on of the Kansas territorial legislature, Oertel explores the the most important roles local american citizens, African american citizens, and white ladies performed within the literal and rhetorical conflict among proslavery and antislavery settlers within the zone. She brings recognition to the neighborhood debates and the various peoples who participated in them in the course of that contentious interval.
Oertel starts off by way of detailing the cost of japanese Kansas via emigrant Indian tribes and explores their interplay with the transforming into variety of white settlers within the quarter. She analyzes the makes an attempt by means of southerners to plant slavery in Kansas and the eventually winning resistance of slaves and abolitionists. Oertel then considers how crude frontier dwelling stipulations, Indian clash, political upheaval, and sectional violence reshaped conventional Victorian gender roles in Kansas and explores women's participation within the political and actual conflicts among proslavery and antislavery settlers.
Oertel is going directly to research northern and southern definitions of "true manhood" and the way competing principles of masculinity infused political and sectional tensions. She concludes with an research of miscegenation--not in basic terms how racial blending among Indians, slaves, and whites prompted occasions in territorial Kansas, yet extra importantly, how the terror of miscegenation fueled either proslavery and antislavery arguments in regards to the desire for civil battle.
As Oertel demonstrates, the avid gamers in Bleeding Kansas used guns except their Sharpes rifles and Bowie knives to salary warfare over the extension of slavery: they attacked each one other's cultural values and struggled to claim their very own political wills. They jealously guarded beliefs of manhood, womanhood, and whiteness while the presence of Indians and blacks and the controversy over slavery raised critical questions on the efficacy of those rules. Oertel argues that, finally, many local americans, blacks, and girls formed the political and cultural terrain in ways in which ensured the destruction of slavery, yet they, in addition to their white male opposite numbers, didn't defeat the resilient energy of white supremacy.
Moving past a standard political heritage of Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Borders breaks new floor by means of revealing how the struggles of this hugely diversified sector contributed to the nationwide stream towards disunion and the way the ideologies that ruled race and gender relatives have been challenged as North, South, and West converged at the border among slavery and freedom.
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Extra info for Bleeding Borders: Race, Gender, and Violence in Pre-Civil War Kansas
12 Furthermore, unlike many Indians, enslaved African Americans in Kansas and Missouri often followed a white, middle-class gendered division of labor: Men worked in the fields and female slaves functioned as house servants and laundresses. ” 13 It appears that white settlers in Kansas might have been more comfortable envisioning blacks rather than Indians as fellow free laborers because the latter kept defying the free labor ideal. Furthermore, contrary to the often-cited racial hierarchy constructed by Thomas Jefferson in his Notes on the State of Virginia, by the early and mid-nineteenth century, some Americans placed Indians below blacks on a racial continuum.
47 This pattern persisted in Kansas Territory, and the Indian agents in the region lamented the negative effects of alcohol on the tribes’ mental and physical health. ” 48 And agent Burton A. ” 49 In response to these problems, Cumming and his agents in the Central Superintendence developed programs designed to curb alcohol consumption among the tribes. He formed alliances with influential men within each tribe and discouraged alcohol consumption by promising financial benefits in return for temperance.
Soldiers at Fort Leavenworth such as Chaplain Leander Kerr and Col. Hiram Rich kept slaves of their own in addition to employing some who were hired out by their masters from Missouri. Maj. Richard W. 20 But the largest group of enslaved blacks who lived in Kansas prior to 1854 resided on or near the mission, where Reverend Johnson kept slaves and Indians to labor in his fields and tend to his affairs at the Manual Labor School. As Abing has found, some of the most “acculturated” and wealthy Shawnee Indians, most of whom were of mixed blood, owned slaves; in an effort to become “civilized” it appears that many of the Shawnee emulated their missionaries’ habits, including slaveholding.