Perhaps no other commonwealth admitted into the Union during the last half of the last century has a greater historical interest than Kansas. Born in the storm and stress period of national political controversy, cradled in the tumult of civil war, and reared to full statehood in an era unparalleled in the arts of peace, the life of Kansas has been one of intense activity. Carved out of territory once known as part of the Great American Desert, by the industry of her people it has become one of the most productive and wealthy states of the Union in proportion to its population. From the political unrest of the early life has sprung a people alive to progressive forms of government. Alert in educational affairs, from the beginning her schools have been monuments of the greatness of her people interested in the justice and equity of human relationship, her laws for securing human rights in political, industrial and social order are among the most enlightened in the land.
To write a history of such a state, to unravel all of its political entanglements, to carry forward the political and industrial development through border war, civil war, Indian depredations, drought and failure, to final achievement of a great commonwealth is a serious task. To such a task those who have been engaged in the preparation of this work have devoted their best energy and most faithful service.
It would be almost impossible to make such a history of achievement covering such a wide range of subjects in consecutive narration and at the same time make it usable for those for whom it was intended. For this reason the alphabetical order of topics has been chosen. By this method information on any subject from the administration of a governor or the development of a constitution to an historical incident or the founding of a small town may be obtained with facility. And in the presentation of the material in this form it has been necessary to omit all political controversies, to avoid all comparison of judgment and relate the simple facts of how it all came about.
However, all those who wish to have a consecutive history of political events need only to follow the history of the separate administrations of the governors from Reeder to Stubbs and they will find a continued history of the political development of Kansas. And if this be supplemented by the perusal of separate articles such as those of the Louisiana Purchase, the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, Squatter Sovereignty, the development of constitutional conventions, finance, taxation and the important reform measures under their respective titles he may have a history and philosophy of the building of a state. The value of this may be enhanced by reading the brief biographies of the people who have been most in the limelight as leaders in the building of Kansas. In the preparation of these brief biographies one cannot help but reflect upon the fact that after all the rank and file of the people, each one performing his duty in his proper place, made Kansas. Those men and women who endured the hardships of pioneer days (and Kansas has always had her pioneer days in the progress of civilization from the Missouri border to the Colorado line), subdued the soil, mastered the resources of the country, developed her industries, built her schools, churches and railroads, made a large part of the real history of Kansas which cannot be recorded except in a general way. History seldom portrays the real life of the commonwealth. It is the sociology of the state after all that represents its true greatness.
Indeed the political history of the state represents a small part of what Kansas has wrought and hence a small part of its life. The Kansas Cyclopedia assumes to present every factor in the political, social, and economic development and relate every important event which has had to do with the building of a great commonwealth. And when we pause to think of it, what a great history it is, extending back nearly four hundred years, with its active progress crowded into a little more than half a century! And yet it falls naturally into various periods
It comprises prehistoric Kansas and the occupation of the native races; the early expeditions of Coronado and other Spanish explorers; the early trappers and traders, followed by the explorations of Pike and Long; the military organization for the protection of the frontier; the history of early trading and transportation trails leading to Santa Fe, Utah, Oregon and California; the period of settlement and the disposal of public land; the struggle that organized Kansas a free state; the organization and development of counties and towns; the mustering of its armies for the preservation of the Union; the expansion of government and the making of internal public improvements; the exploitation of the geology of Kansas and the development of its material resources; development of agriculture, manufacturing and transportation; and through it all the development of schools, colleges and the university, the founding and progress of charitable institutions, the building of churches and the enactment of special laws to enforce the moral conduct of society. Add to this the hundreds of instances of real life told of men and affairs and you have an outline of the real history of Kansas.
The editor of this history, and his able assistants have sought with painstaking exactness to ascertain the truth of Kansas history. They have had at their command the writings of many authorities, the experiences of men and a magnificent body of historical material from the Kansas Historical Society. If the book is entirely free from error it is different from any other history ever written of any country. And while small errors may have crept in even after the most careful scrutiny. as may be expected in so large a work, still for its purpose the present history should be in advance of all other histories of the State of Kansas. If it is not in advance, it is a mistake to have written it. At least it will present in a concise form a large amount of the historical material in the libraries of Kansas, hitherto hidden from view to most people of the state.
It is hoped that its use by students will be large and that it will lead to extended research and an elaboration of special subjects. For such the frequent cross references will be found valuable aids.
Acknowledgment is hereby made to the secretary and assistants of the state historical society for their aid in giving access to the valuable collection in their charge, and recognition is made of the following list of historical writings, manuscripts, etc.
Official Publications.Reports of the U. S. Bureau of Ethnology; Congressional Record; U. S. Senate and House Reports; Messages and Documents of the Presidents; Reports of Congressional Investigating and Special Committees; Departmental Reports; Correspondence and Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs; U. S. Treaties and Conventions; Rebellion Records; Reports of U. S. General Land Office; Session Laws of Kansas; Legislative Journals; Reports of State Board of Agriculture, Bank Commissioner, Adjutant-General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Railroad Commission, etc.; Kansas Historical Society Publications, Governors' Messages, Reports of University Geological Survey, etc.
Histories of Kansas.Cutler's, Hazelrigg's, Holloway's, Prentis' Spring's, Tuttle's, and Wilder's Annals of Kansas.
Miscellaneous.Adair's Travels in North America; Adams' Homestead Guide; American Board of Foreign Missions Reports; Annual Register; Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia; Baker's Forestry Report; Bancroft's Historical Works; Bandelier's Gilded Man; Blackmar's Life of Charles Robinson, Spanish Colonization in the Southwest, and Spanish Institutions in the Southwest; Boughton's Kansas Handbook; Brewerton's The War in Kansas; Britton's War on the Border; Bronson's Farmers' Unions, etc.; Canfleld's Local Government in Kansas; Chapman's Emigrant's Guide; Child's Kansas Emigrants; Chittenden's American Fur Trade; Connelley's Life of John Brown, Quantrill and the Border Wars, Kansas Territorial Governors, Doniphan's Expedition, and the Provisional Government of Nebraska Territory; Cooke's Scenes and Adventures in the Army; Custer's Wild Life on the Plains; Davidson's Silk Culture; Dodge's Plains of the Great West; Elliott's Notes in Sixty Years; Fowler's Report of Glenn's Expedition; Fremont's Reports of Explorations in the West; Gallatin's Reports of the Transactions of the American Ethnological Society; Gihon's Geary and Kansas; Giles' Thirty Years in Topeka; Gladstone's An Englishman in Kansas; Gleed's From River to Sea; Greeley's American Conflict, and An Overland Journey; Gregg's Commerce of the Prairies; Hale's Kanzas and Nebraska; Harvey's History of the Shawnee Indians; Hintomi's Army of the Border; Humphrey's The Squatter Sovereign; Inman's Stories of the Old Santa Fe Trail; Irving's Adventures of Captain Bonneville, and A Tour of the Prairies; Jenkins' The Northern Tier; Kansas Biographical Register; Kendall's Santa Fe Expedition; Lewis and Clark's Journals; Long's Expedition, Report of; Lowe's Five Years a Dragoon; Margry's Works; Meline's Two Thousand Miles on horseback; Monette's Discovery and Settlement of the Mississippi Valley; Murray's Travels in North America; Parker's Kansas and Nebraska Handbook; Parkman's Discovery of the Great West; Parrish's Life on the Great Plains; Phillips' Conquest of Kansas; Pierce's Incidents of Western Travel; Pike's Expedition, Accounts of; Redpath's The Roving Editor, and Life of John Brown; Richardson's Beyond the Mississippi; Mrs. Robinson's Kansas, Its Interior and Exterior Life; Shea's Memoir of French Colonies in America, Translation of Charlevoix, and Expedition of Penalosa; Simpson's Smithsonian Reports; Smyth's Heart of the New Kansas; Speer's Life of James H. Lane; Spring's Prelude to the War of '61; Steele's Sons of the Border, and Frontier Army Sketches; Tewksbury's Kansas Picture Book; Thwaites' Early Western Travels; Tomlinson's Kansas in 1858; Victor's American Conspiracies; Von Holst's Constitutional History of the United States; Washburn College Bulletins; Webb's Scrap Books; Wilson's Rise and Fall of the Slave Power; Wilson's Eminent Men of Kansas; County Histories, Magazines, Newspaper Files, Gazetteers, City Directories, etc.
Manuscripts.The Kansas State Historical Society has a vast collection of manuscripts, consisting of letters, historical sketches, short biographies, etc. Among those consulted may be mentioned Dunbar's Account of the Bourgmont Expedition; Executive Minutes and Correspondence; Journals of the Constitutional Conventions; Letters of John Brown; Letters and Diary of Isaac McCoy; Gov. A. H. Reeder's Diary;
Unpublished reports of various Commissions, etc.
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