TOPEKA (KSNT) – On January 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state. It was the 34th state to join the Union.

“Well it’s Kansas Day. I’m not sure any other state has a day where people all around the state know that is when their state entered the union. I’ve published around 25 articles on Kansas History while I was at KU. It continues to be a research interest of mine.” Jonathan Earle, Author and Historian, Dean of the Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College at Louisiana State University and former Professor at the University of Kansas.

“A lot of people don’t know that our state’s birth and Abraham Lincoln’s national prominence as a politician are very closely linked.” said Earle.

According to the Lecompton Historical Society, “Lecompton was the site of the first capital in Kansas. Founded in 1854 on a 640-acre Wyandotte Indian land claim on the south bank of the Kansas River. The town, which was originally named Bald Eagle because of the many eagles that nested along the river, was renamed later that year to honor Judge Samuel D. Lecompte, the chief justice of the Kansas territorial supreme court. In 1855, the territorial legislature chose Lecompton to be the only official and permanent capital of the Kansas Territory.”

Jonathan H. Earle is an author and historian of American politics and culture focusingon the early republic periods, especially the antislavery movement and the sectional crisis leading up to the Civil War. Currently Earle serves as Dean of the Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College at Louisiana State University, a post he has held since 2014. He was formerly at the University of Kansas in where he taught as a longtime faculty member in the Department of History. During his time at Kansas he served as the Associate Director of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics.

The Bleeding Kansas Program is a series of talks and interpretations on the violent territorial outbreaks and the civil war in Kansas and the nation from 1854 to 1866.

Bleeding Kansas describes the period of repeated outbreaks of violent guerrilla warfare between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces following the creation of the new territory of Kansas in 1854. In all, some 55 people were killed between 1855 and 1859.

Upcoming dates and topics for the Bleeding Kansas series at Constitution Hall State Historic Site,

  • Sunday, February 5, ‘The U.S. Army’, Response to the unrest in Kansas
  • Sunday, February 12, ‘John Brown’, A lit match in a tinderbox
  • Sunday, February 19, ‘John Mathew’, The Lecompton swindle
  • Sunday, February 26, ‘Steamboats on the Kansas River’
  • Sunday, March 5, ‘An 1869 Conversation with General Robert E. Lee’

Click here for more information on the Bleeding Kansas Series.