Bleeding Kansas: Slavery, Sectionalism, and Civil War on the Missouri-Kansas Border, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Bleeding Kansas

Slavery, Sectionalism, and Civil War on the Missouri-Kansas Border, 1st Edition

By Michael Woods


216 pages

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Between 1854 and 1861, the struggle between pro-and anti-slavery factions over Kansas Territory captivated Americans nationwide and contributed directly to the Civil War. Combining political, social, and military history, Bleeding Kansas contextualizes and analyzes prewar and wartime clashes in Kansas and Missouri and traces how these conflicts have been remembered ever since. Michael E. Woods’s compelling narrative of the Kansas-Missouri border struggle embraces the diverse perspectives of white northerners and southerners, women, Native Americans, and African Americans. This wide-ranging and engaging text is ideal for undergraduate courses on the Civil War era, westward expansion, Kansas and/or Missouri history, nineteenth-century US history, and other related subjects. Supported by primary source documents and a robust companion website, this text allows readers to engage with and draw their own conclusions about this contentious era in American History.


"With compelling narrative and analysis and insightful primary documents, this valuable book offers a first-rate primer for students and teachers on the social, cultural, economic, and political conflict in territorial Kansas that was both seedbed and rehearsal for the Civil War."

Christopher Phillips, author of The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border.

"Woods’ Bleeding Kansas is a terrific addition to a particularly useful series. Cogently blending the political, social, and military history of this pivotal moment in American history, this volume should be ideal for classroom use. Even more importantly, it joins the Bleeding Kansas era to the long Civil War on the border, the way participants experienced this tumultuous time."

- Jonathan Earle, co-editor (with Diane Mutti Burke) of Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border

Table of Contents

1. Three Roads to Kansas

2. Kansas Bleeds

3. Bleeding Kansas and the Nation

4. The Civil War on the Border

5. Remembering the Bloodshed


About the Author

Michael E. Woods is Assistant Professor of History at Marshall University. He is the author of Emotional and Sectional Conflict in the Antebellum United States (2014), which received the 2015 James A. Rawley Award from the Southern Historical Association.

About the Series

Critical Moments in American History

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / United States / 19th Century
HISTORY / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)