1954 3¢ “The Sower”
Nebraska Territory Issue
Issue Date: May 7, 1954
City: Nebraska City, Nebraska
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10 ½
This stamp commemorates the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Nebraska Territory showing “The Sower” in the foreground and Mitchell Pass and Scotts Bluff in the back.
The image on U.S.#1060 is based on the sculpture on top of the Nebraska State Capitol building. It was created by sculptor Lee Lawrie, who worked with Nebraska philosophy professor Hartley Burr Alexander to develop the themes of the building sculptural work. “The Sower” faces northwest, since most of the state of Nebraska is north and west of Lincoln, the capital city.
The statue and surrounding elements highlight the state’s agricultural emphasis, but also pay tribute to past cultures. There are numerous Native American themes in the design of the building, and “The Sower” sculpture is based on an Egyptian figure.
Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854
Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act on May 30, 1854, in an attempt to avert civil war. The act divided the former Nebraska Territory into two new territories – Kansas and Nebraska.
The act also allowed residents of Kansas and Nebraska territories to decide for themselves whether to allow slavery within their borders. The act repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which had banned slavery in most northwestern regions of the country.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act outraged many Northerners. They considered the Missouri Compromise to have been binding. Many in the pro-slavery South supported the new act.
Rather than stem the tide of war, the Kansas-Nebraska Act led to immediate hostilities. As the vote on slavery approached, abolitionists and pro-slavery factions rushed to the territories to influence the outcome.
In the first election, Kansas residents voted to allow slavery within their territory. Anti-slavery settlers alleged the vote was marred by fraud and rejected the results. They held a second election, one in which the pro-slavery faction refused to vote. Each group established their own legislature within the territory, operating in direct opposition to the other.
Violence soon erupted, led by abolitionist John Brown. The death toll rose, leading to the phrase “Bleeding Kansas.” To support the pro-slavery settlers, President Franklin Pierce ordered Federal troops into the area to stop the violence and remove the abolitionist legislature. A third election was held. Pro-slavery supporters prevailed and voter fraud was alleged once again.
As a result, Congress rejected the constitution adopted by the pro-slavery settlers and statehood was denied. In Kansas, anti-slavery settlers eventually outnumbered pro-slavery residents, and statehood was granted shortly before the start of the Civil War. Kansas was admitted as a free state. Nebraska, whose residents chose to ban slavery, was admitted as a state in 1867.