Archive for Friday, May 20, 2011

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, legislative leaders visit Lecompton’s Constitution Hall

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and members of the Legislature visited Constitution Hall in Lecompton Friday, May 20, 2011, to celebrate Kansas' 150th year of statehood.

May 20, 2011, 8:41 a.m. Updated May 20, 2011, 11:47 a.m.


Constitution Hall State Historic Site in Lecompton

Constitution Hall State Historic Site in Lecompton

— In a celebration of Kansas' past and future, state leaders gathered Friday to commemorate where many say the Civil War started -- Constitution Hall.

"The fight starts here," Gov. Sam Brownback said of the upstairs room where the Kansas territorial legislature approved a pro-slavery constitution, which then started a historic chain of events.

"You can almost feel the history and feel the bloodshed," Brownback said to the more than 50 people who gathered at what Brownback called a "solemn" event.

Passage of the Lecompton Constitution ignited blowback from anti-slavery forces, led to a brawl in the U.S. House, split the national Democratic Party and allowed Abraham Lincoln to win the 1860 presidential election with only 39 percent of the vote.

Paul Bahnmaier, president of the Lecompton Historical Society, coordinated Friday's event to help the state recognize Lecompton's historical role in both Kansas and U.S. history.

"Lincoln would not have been elected if not for the Lecompton Constitution," Bahnmaier said.

Brownback said the Lecompton Constitution galvanized average Kansans to reject "an institution that was an abomination. We started the fight to end slavery."

Kansas entered the union in 1861 as a free state, less than three months before the Civil War started. Both events are being recognized on the 150th anniversary.

Brownback spoke about battles during the "Bleeding Kansas" period and mentioned that his mother grew up on property in Osawatomie that abolitionist John Brown had stayed.

Bahnmaier said Lecompton, located in Douglas County between Lawrence and Topeka, is as historically significant as any major Civil War site and hoped the event Friday would generate more interest and tourism.

"We are second to no one, if we would just believe it," he said.

Many people at the event dressed in period costume.

Opal Goodrick, 87, and a lifelong Lecompton resident, said it was "wonderful" that Brownback and legislative leaders and other officials came to Constitution Hall.

"It's nice to see that a lot of people appreciate Lecompton," she said. "It's very important that we have visitors here."

In addition to Brownback, most legislative leaders attended the event, including Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, and House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson. State Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, whose district includes Lecompton, worked on setting up the commemoration.


scary_manilow 6 years, 11 months ago

Just reminiscing about the good ol' days, when Lecompton tried to be the capital of a pro-slavery State.

scary_manilow 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't know if it's something worth "celebrating," per se, but it's not surprising that Mr. Brownback does.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 11 months ago

And they wasted more state tax dollars that we can't afford. How about that new state logo?!?! You go SHAM!

mom_of_three 6 years, 11 months ago

I think he needs to learn history. Kansans were already in the fight before the Lecompton Consitution.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 11 months ago

Why does Brownback always look like he's higher than a kite?

InspectorJo 6 years, 11 months ago

Well put none2. Thank you for giving the above posters a "little" lesson in history. People tend to make coments on subjects that they know NOTHING about. Although I do believe Crazy_Larry may be on to something, just saying...

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 11 months ago

What a waste of time this was.

Just more revisionist history trying to fool the public into believing the Civil War was about slavery.

These folks would do well to get their history lessons from the comments on

Corey Williams 6 years, 11 months ago

No note about how the Lecompton legislature was voted in by mostly Missourians. Find a copy of "An Englishman in Kansas" to get the firsthand story of what was going on in this area at that time.;idno=AFK1368

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