The Kansas-Nebraska Crisis

Start Free Trial

 What does "Bleeding Kansas" represent in African American History?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Bleeding Kansas is not something that is most closely connected with African American history.  It is relevant to African American History because it did help to bring about the Civil War.  However, it was not something that was mainly about African Americans.

Bleeding Kansas was, in essence, a small war within the Kansas Territory.  It was sparked by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which said that these territories could decide for themselves if they would be free or slave.  People from the South and the North came to Kansas to try to ensure that their system would prevail in that territory.  They eventually started to fight with one another and the violence led to the name “Bleeding Kansas.” 

Bleeding Kansas helped to bring about the Civil War because it helped cause a great deal of anger between the North and the South.  However, it was not really about African Americans.  It mainly involved whites fighting with one another over slavery.  This was not a fight over the morality of slavery but rather over the economic system that would prevail in Kansas.  Thus, Bleeding Kansas was a power struggle between white factions that was only tangentially related to African Americans.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team