By Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel
In Bleeding Borders, Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel bargains a clean, multifaceted interpretation of the vital sectional clash in pre-Civil struggle Kansas. rather than targeting the white, male politicians and settlers who vied for keep watch over of the Kansas territorial legislature, Oertel explores the the most important roles local americans, African americans, and white girls performed within the literal and rhetorical conflict among proslavery and antislavery settlers within the quarter. She brings cognizance to the neighborhood debates and the various peoples who participated in them in the course of that contentious interval. Oertel starts off by means of detailing the cost of jap Kansas via emigrant Indian tribes and explores their interplay with the starting to be variety of white settlers within the area. She analyzes the makes an attempt by way of southerners to plant slavery in Kansas and the eventually profitable resistance of slaves and abolitionists. Oertel then considers how crude frontier residing stipulations, Indian clash, political upheaval, and sectional violence reshaped conventional Victorian gender roles in Kansas and explores women's participation within the political and actual conflicts among proslavery and antislavery settlers. Oertel is going directly to study northern and southern definitions of "true manhood" and the way competing principles of masculinity infused political and sectional tensions. She concludes with an research of miscegenation--not basically how racial blending among Indians, slaves, and whites inspired occasions in territorial Kansas, yet extra importantly, how the terror of miscegenation fueled either proslavery and antislavery arguments in regards to the want for civil conflict. As Oertel demonstrates, the avid gamers in Bleeding Kansas used guns except their Sharpes rifles and Bowie knives to salary conflict over the extension of slavery: they attacked each one other's cultural values and struggled to say their very own political wills. They jealously guarded beliefs of manhood, womanhood, and whiteness while the presence of Indians and blacks and the talk over slavery raised severe questions on the efficacy of those ideas. Oertel argues that, eventually, many local american citizens, blacks, and girls formed the political and cultural terrain in ways in which ensured the destruction of slavery, yet they, in addition to their white male opposite numbers, did not defeat the resilient strength of white supremacy. relocating past a traditional political heritage of Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Borders breaks new flooring via revealing how the struggles of this hugely various sector contributed to the nationwide flow towards disunion and the way the ideologies that ruled race and gender kin have been challenged as North, South, and West converged at the border among slavery and freedom.
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Extra resources for Bleeding Borders: Race, Gender, and Violence in Pre-Civil War Kansas (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War)
The condition of the smaller tribes without agents is comparatively good,” he wrote, “but much evil is apprehended from their proximity to the white settlements. ” Cumming acknowledged that it would be impossible to prevent the tribes from trading and socializing with white settlers, but he made every effort to eliminate alcohol from this equation. ” 50 While government policy curbed alcohol consumption among some tribes, the problem persisted, especially as more and more white families arrived in the area with few resources with which to trade other than food and alcohol.
54 Jordan and McMeekin observed that Indian-white friendships treaded on uncertain ground, as both parties navigated differ- 21 bl e e di ng b or de r s ing interpretations of concepts such as privacy and sharing. Unfortunately, misunderstandings and miscommunication sometimes undermined tenuous friendships and led to violent altercations. Predictably, Indian and white Kansans did not always engage in peaceful forms of economic and cultural exchange; violent conflict often punctuated the two groups’ initial interactions.
37 Because the success of mission schools proved inconsistent at best, missionaries employed a variety of methods by which they would “civilize” their Indian subjects. Proselytizing and spreading the Christian word and religion among the tribes met with mixed success, but many missionaries believed this task to be their most important. Jordan Johnnycake, likely a Delaware, thoroughly embraced the Christian theology preached by the Baptist mission, thus appearing to be “saved” from the damnation inherent in practicing his indigenous religion.