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Bleeding Kansas was the first instance in which Southern proslavery and paramilitary coalitions clashed with Northern abolitionists and antislavery supporters over slavery. After the enactment of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the effects of the Missouri Compromise, the status of Kansas as a free or slave state was left to popular sovereignty, or allowing the civilians to decide. This was thought to be a better democratic solution to the free/slave state ratio problem for new states and territories. Because of this poorly thought out policy, thousands of proslavery and antislavery settlers rushed to Kansas, eager to tilt the majority in their favor and, as it can be seen from the results, fight for their vote. From this, it is shown that sometimes it is not necessarily the injustice of slavery that spurs others into action, but the promise of legal action being taken upon slavery. If the people are told that the government could provide the means to make slavery legal or illegal, they would waste little time to exploit this. The North and the South were notfighting each other with guns and fire when the issue of slavery remained a social issue. Then when it became a matter of how many people voted for slavery or against it in a state, people poured into Kansas. The conflict regarding slavery finallyculminated into a bloody fight, killing scores of people and resulting in the burning of several antislavery towns, like Osawatomie and Franklin.1The Civil War would exhibit these pillage and burn tactics as well, and many of the skirmishes, including the Battle of Black Jack, the Battle of Osawatomie, and the Sacking of Lawrence were fought with such militaristic aggression and with great numbers of men,. The fight over slavery didn’t involve just a few people in a small quarrel. It now involved 1 Jonathan Earle, John Brown, An Idea of Things in Kansas, 1857, John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry (Boston: Bedford St. Martins, 2008), p. 61.
thousands of men fighting battles, practically waging all out war.