History – world history assignment


Campbell Cooper

Professor Zirngibl

History 121


Research Paper 2

August 3rd, 1854, Lawrence, Kansas

Things seem to certainly be looking up for the business. Gideon wrote to me, saying that

supplies are packed and should be arriving soon after his letter. I was beginning to regret coming

all the way out here, throwing away my inheritance and the East Coast comforts for such a risky

venture, especially after our abysmal sales last year. I can’t help but owe it to that Senator from

Illinois, Stephan Douglass. According to the papers he’d overturned a compromise between the

Democrats and Republicans, the one about a slave or free territory being determined by fixed

locations. Now I hear it’s entirely based on what the people of the territory want, “Popular

Sovereignty,” I think is the term they’re using now.

I’m certainly no supporter of slavery, it’s one of the many things I don’t miss from home

and I certainly don’t want it following me here of all places. That said, this new arrangement has

a whole lot of people scrambling to get here so they can tip the balance of free and slave

territories being represented. These people are going to need all kinds of supplies, and I’ll be

more than happy to sell them. Of course, given my aforementioned preferences, I’ve decided to

take up residence in the newly founded town of Lawrence, full of abolitionists. They’re decent

people, fully dedicated to the cause and I can certainly respect anyone willing to fully uproot

themselves in support of the right thing. They’ve certainly proved welcoming enough and I’ve

been getting along rather well with them over the past few weeks.

History Journal Research Paper Example


However, the one thing that has me worried too is just how passionate they are. More

than a few times, often when they’re drunk or excited, I’ve heard wild talk of the kinds of

barbaric stuff they’d be willing to do to their enemies, those settling to turn Kansas into a slave

territory. I’m sure they’re just exaggerating for show, but if the other side is as determined as

they are, who knows what could happen?

Campbell Cooper,

October 19th, 1855, Lawrence, Kansas

Business continues to prosper as those abolitionists just keep coming. I’m almost proud

to have seen this town grow up around my little store, even if it has brought in more competition.

Still, I can’t help but feel a little responsible for its success. They were buying my supplies first

after all. It’s all very far from perfect, though. Both sides are getting bolder and more violent.

The other day, Gideon told me some ruffians wouldn’t leave him and his workers alone while

they were carting supplies. He even claimed they took a few shots at him, though he’s prone to

telling stories so I’m not too certain. Though, with all the other accounts I’ve been hearing lately,

maybe he is telling the truth. I recall Walter from the tavern shouting to anyone who’d listen that

some fools from Missouri were crossing our border to unlawfully participate in Kansas elections.

Maybe he’s just telling stories too, but even the possibility of it being true makes me angry.

Don’t they know breaking the law like that is just going to invite more trouble?

Campbell Cooper,



May 29th, 1856, Lawrence, Kansas

Things are no longer safe here, certainly not after what happened a week ago. As I write,

those sensible enough to see what is coming are gathering what they have left and departing. I

am sure to join them, though there still remain a number of things I need to set straight first.

As for what happened, I was a fool to not see it coming. Things were growing worse and

worse and I was ignorantly hoping they would never reach me. The stories and rumors grew,

standoffs between the abolitionists and ‘ruffians’ as they’ve started being called. Shootouts and

lynchings, more than a few people I’ve known have ended up dead or missing. More and more, I

feel certain that Stephen Douglass is a fool. Couldn’t he have seen that cramming two groups of

people who hold nothing but contempt for each other was just a disaster in the making? Or did he

and his cronies too devoted to the preservation of owning people to care?

Nonetheless, things reached their breaking point on May 21st. The day started out

ordinarily enough but soon we had a whole army of ruffians marching on us. There truly must

have been hundreds of them. Some federal troops had even tagged along. They marched right

into town, taunting and insulting us before going wild, breaking, burning and looting anything

they could. Naturally I didn’t put up much of a fight, but poor Gideon was bruised up pretty

badly when he tried to stop them from barging into the store. The store along with the hotel,

printing offices and a few other establishments and even some homes were left in ruins. Things

died down though, and as soon as they departed, the people of Lawrence were left to pick

through the rubble. As awful as it was, I can’t help but be thankful nobody tried anything foolish.

If someone had attempted to rally a defense, it would have been a massacre for certain. It is

better to be humbled but alive, at least that’s how I feel. Still, I hear not everyone made it out of

those burning buildings.



I have packed what little survived the fire and I plan on heading Northeast, to safety and

civilization. Maybe there is still opportunity here, but it is certainly not for anyone that values

their life. Still, as I depart, my admiration for the abolitionists remains, maybe even greater than

before now that many have demonstrated their tenacity, determined to rebuild and continue their

fight. Truly I wish them the best.

Campbell Cooper,


Adams, C.A. “Letter of a Kansas Settler (1856).” The Civil War, Primary Source Media, 1999.

American Journey. Gale In Context: U.S. History,


=8cf7066d. Accessed 1 May 2023.

Earle, Jonathan. “The Political Origins of the Civil War.” OAH Magazine of History, vol. 25, no.

2, 2011, pp. 8–13. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/23210239. Accessed 1 May 2023.

Quaife, M. M. “Bleeding Kansas and the Pottawatomie Murders.” The Mississippi Valley

Historical Review, vol. 6, no. 4, 1920, pp. 556–60. JSTOR,

https://doi.org/10.2307/1886473. Accessed 1 May 2023.

Utter, David N. “John Brown of Osawatomie.” The North American Review, vol. 137, no. 324,

1883, pp. 435–46. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25118327. Accessed 1 May 2023.


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