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Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long…
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Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border

by Jonathan Earle

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Like the book overview summarizes, prior historical scholarship on Kansas and Missouri during the Civil War era tends to focus on either state, but rarely ever both or the region as a whole. This compilation of essays by editors Jonathan Earle and Diane Mutti Burke succeeds in their effort to bridge the gap, highlighting the territorial conflicts that precipitated and/or were the symptoms of the coming Civil War.

Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri is more scholarly than narrative, which is not surprising given the nature of the publication, but I recommend it anyway for those who want a more careful examination of the region's growing pains in the mid-19th century. ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Sep 7, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0700619291, Paperback)

Long before the first shot of the Civil War was fired at Fort Sumter, violence had already erupted along the Missouri-Kansas border--a recurring cycle of robbery, arson, torture, murder, and revenge. This multifaceted study brings together fifteen scholars to expand our understanding of this vitally important region, the violence that besieged it, and its overall impact on the Civil War.

Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri blends political, military, social, and intellectual history to explain why the region's divisiveness was so bitter and persisted for so long. Providing a more nuanced understanding of the conflict, it defines both what united and divided the men and women who lived there and how various political disagreements ultimately disintegrated into violence. By focusing on contested definitions of liberty, citizenship, and freedom, it also explores how civil societies break down and how they are reconstructed when the conflict ends. The contributors examine this key chapter in American history in all of its complexity.

Essays on "Slavery and Politics of Law and Order along the Border" examine how the border region was transformed by the conflict over the status of slavery in Kansas Territory and how the emerging conflict on the Kansas-Missouri border took on a larger national significance. Other essays focus on the transition to total warfare and examine the wartime experiences of the diverse people who populated the region in "Making the Border Bleed." Final articles on "The Border Reconstructed and Remembered" explore the ways in which border residents rebuilt their society after the war and how they remembered it decades later.

As this penetrating collection shows, only when Missourians and Kansans embraced a common vision for America--one based on shared agricultural practices, ideas about economic development, and racial equality--could citizens on both sides of the border reconcile.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:03 -0400)

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