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Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Miner Chapter 2: Trampling Out the Vintage

The second chapter of the book covers only one decade in Kansas history, 1855-1865. This decade only encompasses four years of Kansas statehood but the importance of the territorial period is paramount to the history of the state and is a tremendously significant event leading to the Civil War. This connection is the origin of the title of the chapter, Trampling Out the Vintage, which is a reference to Julia Ward Howard’s Battle Hymn of the Republic. The chapter covers a variety of topics in detailed fashion including biographical sketches of key Kansans such as Charles Robinson, James Lane, and James Denver (I was surprised that John Ritchie was not mentioned in the chapter). The chapter also gives insight to how the local politics of territorial Kansas influences and were shaped by the situation in the rest of the United States.

The one part of the chapter that I believe could easily be integrated into the classroom is the myths and reality of “Bleeding Kansas”. The phrase “Bleeding Kansas” is mentioned in almost every high school history textbook and is probably misunderstood. Most students come away with a misguided notion that Kansas was in full-scale war over slavery before the outbreak of the war. This chapter clarifies what caused the violence the ramifications it had. Students could compare and contrast this books interpretation with how the survey textbooks describe the violence in the state.

Favorite Quotes From Chapter 2:

On the proposal to give up rifles and ammunition during the Wakarusa War “We will compromise, we will keep the rifles & give them the contents.”


“The admission of Kansas as a state on January 29, 1861 (an unfortunate date for later chilly celebrations) was an anticlimax.”

According to John Ingalls, there was in the later 1850s no observation of the Sabbath, “no change of dress or manner indicates the advent of holy time and most of the citizens employ the day in hinting prairie chickens, and the whiskey shops were full of cursing Democrats and the click of billiard balls”

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