Reading Cards
9. Becoming a State


  1. Coming to Kansas
  2. Shunganunga
  3. Lime for Kiln and Quarry
  4. Gardens and Orchards
  5. Letters from Home
  6. Traveling on the River
  7. Native Americans in the Kansas Territory
  8. John Brown and the Ritchies
  9. Becoming a State
  10. Building a Community


From the first moment John and Mary Jane Ritchie stepped onto the Kansas Territory, they knew that someday Kansas would be a state. But what kind of state would Kansas be?

Would Kansas allow slavery? Abolitionists like the Ritchies wanted to make sure that Kansas would not permit slavery, but that African Americans would be able to live and work in Kansas.

Others, called Freesoilers, did not want Kansas to allow slavery, but they did not want the new state to allow blacks to live here at all. Proslavery settlers wanted slavery to continue, even though not all of them owned slaves.

Would Kansas allow women to vote? Many states did not. John and Mary Jane believed women should have the same rights and responsibilities as men.

Where would the capital of the new state be located? Many residents wanted Lecompton, Lawrence, or even Tecumseh to have the honor. The Ritchies hoped Topeka would be selected.

When a delegation was chosen to write the constitution of the new state, John Ritchie was one of those men. This was a very important job. We still use the Wyandotte Constitution those men wrote in 1859.

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