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Bleeding Borders: Race, Gender, and Violence in Pre-Civil by Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel

By Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel

In Bleeding Borders, Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel deals a clean, multifaceted interpretation of the necessary sectional clash in pre-Civil conflict Kansas. rather than concentrating on the white, male politicians and settlers who vied for regulate of the Kansas territorial legislature, Oertel explores the the most important roles local american citizens, African americans, and white girls performed within the literal and rhetorical conflict among proslavery and antislavery settlers within the quarter. She brings realization to the neighborhood debates and the varied peoples who participated in them in the course of that contentious interval.

Oertel starts off by means of detailing the payment of japanese Kansas by means of emigrant Indian tribes and explores their interplay with the transforming into variety of white settlers within the quarter. She analyzes the makes an attempt via southerners to plant slavery in Kansas and the eventually profitable resistance of slaves and abolitionists. Oertel then considers how crude frontier residing stipulations, Indian clash, political upheaval, and sectional violence reshaped conventional Victorian gender roles in Kansas and explores women's participation within the political and actual conflicts among proslavery and antislavery settlers.

Oertel is going directly to learn northern and southern definitions of "true manhood" and the way competing rules of masculinity infused political and sectional tensions. She concludes with an research of miscegenation--not purely how racial blending among Indians, slaves, and whites encouraged occasions in territorial Kansas, yet extra importantly, how the terror of miscegenation fueled either proslavery and antislavery arguments in regards to the desire for civil conflict.

As Oertel demonstrates, the avid gamers in Bleeding Kansas used guns except their Sharpes rifles and Bowie knives to salary conflict over the extension of slavery: they attacked each one other's cultural values and struggled to say their very own political wills. They jealously guarded beliefs of manhood, womanhood, and whiteness whilst the presence of Indians and blacks and the talk over slavery raised severe questions on the efficacy of those ideas. Oertel argues that, finally, many local americans, blacks, and ladies formed the political and cultural terrain in ways in which ensured the destruction of slavery, yet they, in addition to their white male opposite numbers, did not defeat the resilient strength of white supremacy.

Moving past a traditional political historical past of Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Borders breaks new flooring via revealing how the struggles of this hugely diversified zone contributed to the nationwide movement towards disunion and the way the ideologies that ruled race and gender kinfolk have been challenged as North, South, and West converged at the border among slavery and freedom.

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W. B. Royall, involved in a violent conflict with the Osage in 1848, added an interesting postscript to his description of the battle, involving what may have been a “berdache” Indian who led the tribe into conflict. ” 58 If the queen was not a berdache and was in fact a female Indian, it is interesting to note that she appeared to have a significant amount of power on the battlefield, a traditionally male preserve among most Indian tribes and certainly among the Osage. Royall guessed that the majority of the Indians were either Osage or Comanche, and given the location of the attack, his presumption seems credible.

S. government and the Christian missions to change their cultures, the forces of whiteness continued to press the Indians to change. Some missionaries believed that the Indians’ only hope for survival depended on their total conversion to the white world; white blood must bleed into red if Indians expected to endure the westward expansion of Anglo America. Thomas Johnson, founder of the Shawnee Methodist Mission, agreed that the Indians’ only course of action was to adopt the substance of white society.

God will Judge in righteousness,” he wrote. “At that day Christ will say to the wicked depart from me. . I think that if death should come I think that I should find myself with the wicked. . ” The strong influence of evangelical Christianity in the area also shaped race relations between white settlers and Indians. Some abolitionist settlers, many of them known for their egalitarian ideas about white/black 17 bl e e di ng b or de r s race relations, reserved much of their overt racism and racialized criticism for the “heathen” Indians.

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