Admission to Statehood.In the formation of the Federal government, the thirteen original states assumed dominion over all the unorganized territory belonging to the United States, and delegated to themselves the power of arbiter of the destinies of new states seeking admission. Every time a bill has been introduced in Congress for the admission of a new state, it has been the signal for debate, but in no instance has the discussion been more acrid or more prolonged than in the case of Kansas. Four constitutional conventions were held in the territory, and four constitutions were submitted to the people before one was found that was satisfactory. (See Constitutions.) The Wyandotte constitution, under which Kansas was finally admitted, was completed by the convention on July 29, 1859; ratified by the people on Oct. 4 and on Feb. 14, 1860, it was presented to the senate of the United States by the president of that body.
On Feb. 15, 1860, Galusha A. Grow, of Pennsylvania, introduced in the house a bill for the admission of Kansas, which was referred to the committee on territories. This bill passed the house on April 11, by a vote of 134 to 73, and was sent to the senate, where it was read and referred on the 13th. During the next two months it came before the senate several times, but was usually thrust aside by the influence of the members of the slave states, who did not desire the admission of a state that would in all probability send to the United States senate two men opposed to slavery, or at least opposed to its extension into new territory. On May 30 it was called up by Senator Collamer of Vermont, who tried to force its passage. A week later (June 5) it was again called up, but this time further action was postponed on motion of Mr. Hunter of Virginia, who thought the military appropriation bill of more importance. On the 7th Mr. Wade of Ohio moved "to postpone all prior orders, and take up the bill for the admission of Kansas," but the motion was defeated by a vote of 32 to 26. This ended the consideration of the bill at that session.
The second session of the 36th Congress began on Dec. 3, 1860, and on the 11th the bill was called up by Mr. Collamer, with a view to making it the special order at some definite date in the near future. Mr. Green of Missouri objected, but the motion was carried over his objection by a vote of 23 to 18. When the bill came up as a special order on the 24th, Foster of Connecticut, who was presiding, ruled that there was unfinished business before the senate that must he disposed of before the consideration of the Kansas question, and again there was a delay. On the 31st it was postponed to Jan. 14, 1861, by the same filibustering tactics on the part of the senators from the slave states, and when the 14th arrived it was postponed to the 16th. The friends of the bill thought that a vote could certainly be reached this time, but they reckoned without their host, for on the 16th a motion to go into executive session prevailed, and the Kansas bill was made the special order for one o'clock p. m. on the 18th. When that time arrived, Mr. Green had an amendment, of which he had previously given notice, relating to boundaries, and the remainder of the day was spent in debating the amendment, which was defeated by a vote of 31 to 23. Immediately following the defeat of the amendment there was a disorderly scene in the senate chamber, caused by a multiplicity of motions to go into executive session, to adjourn, etc. The amendment had served the purpose of producing another delay in the final vote on the bill.
The following day the bill was again called up. This time Senator Fitch of Indiana had an amendment to offer, and again there was a long and tedious debate before the amendment was defeated. Some of the friends of the measure began to lose hope. This was the short session of Congress, and if the opponents could keep up their dilatory methods until March 3 the bill would have to go over to the next session. But the cloud that hung over Kansas was penetrated by a ray of light in an unexpected manner.
Five slave states had already seceded from the Union, and on Jan. 21 Senators J. M. Mason and R. M. T. Hunter, of Virginia; A. P. Butler and R. B. Barnwell, of South Carolina; H. L. Turney, of Tennessee; Pierre Soulé, of Louisiana; Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi; David R. Atchison, of Missouri; Jackson Morton and D. L. Yulee, of Florida, filed a protest against the action of the members of Congress from the northern states and withdrew from the senate. With their withdrawal the power of the slave oligarchy was broken. Scarcely had they left the hall, when Mr. Seward of New York moved to call up the Kansas admission bill, but was informed by the vice-president that no motion was necessary, as the bill was then the special order before the senate. The remaining senators from the slaveholding states indulged in some perfunctory debate, but they recognized the fact that their influence had vanished with the departure of their colleagues. The bill was soon passed by a vote of 36 to 16, and was signed by President Buchanan on the 29th.
The preamble of the bill recited the facts concerning the formation, adoption and ratification of the Wyandotte constitution, under which the state was asking for admission.
Section 1 provided "That the state of Kansas shall be, and is hereby declared to be, one of the United States of America, and admitted to the Union on an equal footing with the original states in all respects whatever." The section then defined the boundaries (see Boundaries), and provided "That nothing contained in the said constitution respecting the boundaries of said state shall be construed to impair the rights of person or property now pertaining to the Indians in said territory, so long as such rights shall remain unextinguished by treaty between the United States and such Indians, or to include any territory which, by treaty with such Indian tribes, is not, without the consent of such Indian tribe, to be included within the territorial limits or jurisdiction of any other state or territory; but all such territory shall be excepted out of the boundaries, and constitute no part of the State of Kansas, until said tribe shall signify their assent to the president of the United States to he included within said state," etc.
Section 2 provided that until the next enumeration and apportionment of Congressmen, Kansas should be entitled to one representative in the lower branch of the national legislature.
Section 3 offered to the people of Kansas the following propositions:
1st, That sections numbered 16 and 36 in every township of the public lands in the state should be granted the state for the use of schools; and in the event said sections or any part thereof should have been sold or otherwise disposed of, other lands, equivalent thereto and as contiguous as might be, were to be given to the state instead of the sections prescribed.
2nd, That 72 sections of land, to be selected by the governor of the state, subject to the approval of the commissioner of the general land office, were to be set apart and reserved for the use and support of a state university.
3d, That 10 sections of land, to be selected by the governor, were to be donated by Congress for the completion of public buildings and the erection of others at the seat of government.
4th, That all salt springs, not exceeding twelve in number, with 6 sections of land adjoining each, were to be granted to the state, to be disposed of as the legislature might direct, subject to certain restrictions imposed by the act.
5th, That five per cent. of the proceeds of all sales of public lands lying within the state, which should be sold after Kansas was admitted into the Union, should be granted to the state for the purpose of constructing public roads and making internal improvements.
6th, That the state should never levy a tax upon the lands or property of the United States, lying within the State of Kansas.
Section 4 provided that from and after the admission of the state, all the laws of the United States, which were not locally inapplicable, should have the same force and effect in Kansas as in other states of the Union. This section also declared the state a judicial district of the United States, established a district court, the same as that in the State of Minnesota, and made it the duty of the United States district judge to hold two terms of court annually, beginning on the second Monday in April and the second Monday in October.
The act of admission was signed by President Buchanan on Jan. 29, 1861, and on Feb. 9 the state government was inaugurated. On Feb. 22, Washington's birthday, the American flag was hoisted over Independence Hall in the city of Philadelphia, bearing for the first time the star representing Kansas. It was raised by Abraham Lincoln, who was then on his way to Washington to be inaugurated as president of the United States. Mr. Lincoln said:
"I am invited and called before you to participate in raising above Independence Hall the flag of our country with an additional star upon it. I wish to call your attention to the fact that, under the blessing of God, each additional star added to that flag has given additional prosperity and happiness to our country."Page 26-29 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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