Section #22 - The Southern States secede and the attack on Ft. Sumter signals the start of the Civil War

Chapter 272: A Northern Controlled Congress Admits Kansas As A Free State

January 1861

Southern Departures Hand Senate Control Over To The Republicans

The roster of Southern senators who have resigned or been expelled includes many influential leaders. 

SenatorStateExit DateHow
James ChestnutSCNov 10, ‘60Withdrew
James HammondSCNov 11, ‘60Withdrew
John BreckinridgeKyDec 4, ‘60Expelled
Waldo JohnsonMOJan 10, ‘61Expelled
Trustan PolkMOJan 10, ‘61Expelled
Albert BrownMissJan 12, ‘61Withdrew
Jefferson DavisMissJan 21, ‘61Withdrew
David YuleeFla Jan 21, ‘61 Withdrew
Stephen MalloryFla Jan 21, ‘61 Withdrew
Alfred IversonGa Jan 28, ‘61 Withdrew

Their departures further widen the North’s voting control in the Senate and open the door to a re-introduction of a bill to admit the Kansas Territory to the Union as a Free State – under the terms of the Wyandotte Constitution.

January 29, 1861

Kansas Is Finally Admitted As A State

A total of four State Constitutions have been written for Kansas since the Territory is first opened.

Kansas Constitutions
TitleWritten ByDate
TopekaFree State PartyDecember 15, 1855
LecomptonPro-Slavery PartyNovember 7, 1857
LeavenworthFree State PartyApril 3, 1858
WyandotteFree State PartyMarch 29, 1859

The most famous by far is the Lecompton Constitution, codified in November 1857 by the “Bogus Legislature” comprising mostly Pro-Slavery forces residing in Missouri.

For two years, Buchanan tries repeatedly to force Lecompton through the Congress before it finally goes down to defeat in August 1858 – along with the President’s hopes for re-election and the chances of avoiding a fatal North-South schism in the Democrat Party.

The Wyandotte Constitution backtracks sharply from its Leavenworth predecessor which promised to welcome blacks into the state, integrate them into public schools and even vote on the possibility of handing them the right to vote.

While all of those prospects disappear in Wyandotte, at least the prohibition against blacks becoming state residents (present in the initial Topeka version) is voted down by a margin of 10,421 to 5,530. Ironically after four years of stubborn resistance, Buchanan signs a bill on January 29, 1861 admitting Kansas as the 34th entry into the (collapsing) Union under the Free State Wyandotte Constitution.