Lane and Quantrill I

Program Information

Series: A Moment in Time
Duration: 00:03:49
Year Produced: 2009
Description:

In the years before the Civil War bleeding, Kansas produced two guerrilla leaders who laid waste to the countryside--inflaming passions on either side of the question of slavery--James Henry Lane and William Quantrill.

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Transcript

Lead: In the years before the Civil War bleeding, Kansas produced two guerrilla leaders who laid waste to the countryside--inflaming passions on either side of the question of slavery--James Henry Lane and William Quantrill.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The survival of the Federal Union has proven to be the great question of United States history. Among the issues that divided the regions, none more threatened the life of the Union or proved to be more incendiary than slavery. As an institution, the practice of human servitude was a running sore infecting national life, striking at the heart of those principles upon which the Republic was established. The founders put off a final decision about slavery and, as the years passed, tensions grew around this issue. Soon compromise was replaced by violence, and that matter--along with the larger one of state's sovereignty--was finally settled as blood soaked the battlefields of Fredericksburg, Antietam, and Sharp's Landing.

In the days before war, the territory of Kansas served almost as a dress rehearsal for the coming conflict, and the names of Lane and Quantrill are for all time linked to the unique suffering and pain of that region. James Henry Lane of Indiana and William Clarke Quantrill moved to Kansas in the mid-1850s. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1853 left to the citizens of the territory the decision as to whether or not slaves could be imported for use. This would be determined by a majority vote. Pro- and anti-slavery forces struggled to fulfill the mandate of the act and at first, probably because of the closeness of the slave state of Missouri, pro-slavery elements had an edge. Gradually, however, the anti-slavery settlers came into the majority and Kansas became free territory.

In that period before the issue was settled, men like Lane and Quantrill formed guerrilla groups and led raids into enemy territory.

Next time: Lane of Indiana.

At the University of Richmond, this is Dan Roberts.