America in the 1850s

1855 Through 1858 and John Brown

Was there anything else that President Pierce could have done for Kansas?

No. He could, perhaps, have called for a second election, but even that might have caused more troubles than it solved. Operating from a distance, President Pierce saw the potential for chaos in Kansas and decided to let a bad thing alone. What Pierce underestimated, however, was the willingness, even the eagerness, on the part of other Northern men to act.

Henry Ward Beecher, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was a well-regarded clergyman in Brooklyn, New York. Beecher claimed that the North and the West had to meet the threat by the South by all means available, and men who took him seriously soon packed six-shooters and rifles as they headed for Kansas (the weapons were labeled “Beecher’s Bibles”). One of those men was John Brown.


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