4¢ Kansas Statehood
Issue Date: May 10, 1961
City: Council Grove, KS
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Giori Press
Color: Brown, dark red and green on yellow
U.S. #1183 commemorates 100 years of Kansas’ statehood. The stamp shows the state flower, the sunflower, and a pioneer family with a covered wagon and stockade.
Kansas’ Road to Statehood
In 1803, France sold the vast Louisiana Territory to the United States, including most of Kansas. The southwestern corner of present-day Kansas was claimed by Spain. This land would later become part of Mexico, and then Texas, before being made part of Kansas.
Kansas was governed as part of the District of Louisiana, the Louisiana Territory, and the Missouri Territory. Many Indians from the East were resettled in Kansas for a time. These Indians included the Chippewa, Delaware, Fox, Iowa, Kickapoo, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Sauk, Shawnee, and Wyandot, and those who already lived in the area. But soon, whites began to settle the area. Some came as missionaries to the Indians, while others decided to stay while traveling the Santa Fe Trail. In 1827, Colonel Henry Leavenworth opened the first U.S. outpost, Fort Leavenworth. By 1850, there was a great deal of pressure to open Kansas for white settlement. The federal government negotiated with Indians and reclaimed most of the land. In 1854, Kansas was declared open for settlement. The Indians were sent to reservations in Oklahoma – but some decided to fight. However, none of these groups were successful for long.
Kansas became a U.S. territory on May 30, 1854. U.S. President Franklin Pierce appointed Andrew H. Reeder the territorial governor. Soon, settlers from the North and South were pouring into Kansas. Groups looking to influence the decision over slavery aided these people in an attempt to gain a majority. In the election of 1855, many citizens from the slave state of Missouri came to Kansas and voted. Proslavery candidates did well in the election. Soon after, violence broke out in Kansas, particularly near the border with Missouri. The fighting became so intense that newspapers began to call the territory “Bleeding Kansas.” Proslavery officials wrote a constitution favoring slavery, but Congress refused to admit Kansas to the Union as a slave state. Finally, politicians opposed to slavery were able to gain control of the legislature.
Kansas achieved statehood on January 29, 1861. At that time, several Southern states had already seceded from the Union. Within a few weeks, the Civil War erupted. Kansas was soon hit with a new wave of violence. Confederate raiders under William C. Quantrill burned most of the town of Lawrence, Kansas, and killed about 150 people. During the war, Kansas sent more men to the Union, in proportion to its total population, than any other state. When the war ended in 1865, thousands of Union veterans and newly freed slaves moved to Kansas.