Research help request

I find myself in need of a really good source on Bleeding Kansas (1856-1858), and, in particular, the history of the republican party in Kansas during those years.  If anyone can recommend a good book or two, I’d be grateful.



Published by

Avatar photo


I play the drum.

9 thoughts on “Research help request”

  1. It isn’t on point but the late George McDonald Fraser fictional Flashman historical series has “Flashman and the Angel of the Lord” which is all about Brown’s Harper Ferry rebellion. Flashman is an acquired taste but all the books are masterful at making you feel like you understand the people involved.

  2. Bleeding Kansas by Nicole Etcheson, published by the University of Kansas Press is a pretty decent source. I don’t specifically recall much about the local Republican party in it, as I last read it circa ’06, but it’s a pretty exhaustively sourced book- so if the resources existed, she probably used them.
    If I get a chance later, I’ll have a glance around the academic databases and see if I can come up with more.

  3. I don’t know if it’s what you’re looking for, but BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM by James McPherson has some relevant info on Kansas from that era. However, I am mostly recommending this for its bibliography! Which should have several books on the topic listed.

  4. Kansas: a history of the Jayhawk State by William Frank Zornow, 1957 has a 13 page chapter on “Bleeding Kansas, 1854-1859” — you’d have to check your local library or buy a copy online.

    There’s a short article from Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains (Summer 1995) available online titled How Bloody Was Bleeding Kansas?Political Killings in Kansas Territory, 1854–1861

    There’s also a 370 page book devoted to the topic: Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era By Nicole Etcheson, 2006. Many reviews of the book are available, one can be found here or here

  5. Available online resources include:
    Bleeding Kansas and the Pottawatomie Murders, from the The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 1920.

    Bleeding Kansas Essential Civil War Curriculum, June 2012 an essay by historian Nicole Etcheson,

    Women of Bleeding Kansas, a Master’s Thesis by Leigh Jackson, Wichita State University, 2008

    Beyond the Sphere: Revolutionary Women in Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War an undergraduate thesis by Kaci Nash, 2005, Univ. of Kansas.

    Willing to Die for Freedom online exhibits from the Kansas Historical Society.

  6. I recommend Eric Foner! I confess I only read his book about Reconstruction, but I was very impressed with how well researched and enjoyable to read it was, and how insightful Foner is – he really synthesizes history.

    This text seems relevant to your specific request:
    Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War

  7. Thanks, all! I’ve ordered several of these (especially Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men, which seems to be exactly what I was looking for; thank you).

Leave a Reply