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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 1, No. 1
January, 1921
THE SEPARATION OF NEBRASKA AND KANSAS FROM THE INDIAN TERRITORY.1

By Roy Gittinger.

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The law of May 28, 1830, in connection with a series of treaties, set apart for the Indians the country lying west of Missouri and Arkansas, and provided for the removal thither of numerous tribes not only from the reservations east of the Mississippi but also from the states and organized territories west of that river. Between 1840 and 1850 the map showed an “Indian Territory” stretching from the Red river to the Platte, while the Sioux and other tribes retained almost unnoticed, the country farther north. In a few years, however, conditions demanded the organization of the northern portions of this great tract.

The formation of the larger Indian territory west of Missouri and Arkansas had a marked influence on the westward migration. The Indian treaties supplemented by the intercourse act forbade settlement beyond a line passing through Fort Smith and the mouth of the Kansas river, and the movement into this region was stayed for many years. The stream of settlers was turned to the south and to the north, into Texas and into Iowa. As long as available land remained unoccupied elsewhere. it was not hard for the government to maintain a barrier at this line. The pressure had not become overwhelming when interest in the Pacific coast made the larger Indian territory for a time more important as a part of the road to the west than as a possible home for settlers.

This fact dominates the history of the movement that led to the breaking up of the larger Indian territory. Under the conditions that had hitherto prevailed in the southern part of this area would have been subjected to greater pressure than the northern part, as the frontier line of the



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southwest had always been beyond that of the northwest. Thus Kentucky and Tennessee were settled and admitted into the Union before Ohio, and Arkansas and Michigan were contemporary frontiers of settlement. Wisconsin, Iowa, and Texas formed the next frontier, and Oklahoma belongs geographically with this line of states. The settlers south of the Arkansas river and west of Ft. Smith, who were driven out shortly after 1820 to make room for the Choctaw, were the advance guard of an invasion which, if it had not been checked, would have brought the country west of Arkansas into the union before 1850, either as a part of Arkansas or as a separate state.2

After 1840 the pressure of the westward movement was shifted to the northern part of the larger Indian Territory. The two great roads to the west, the Oregon trail and the Santa Fe trail, ran through this region, and more important still, it controlled the only possible routes of the proposed central railroad to the Pacific. The rapidly growing states of the west and northwest needed an open door to the coast. The small tribes whose reservations blocked the way were unable to offer serious resistance, but it is doubtful whether the more numerous and better intrenched Indians of the “Five Civilized Tribes” could have held the valley of the Platte if it had been assigned to them.3

The strength of the position of the southern tribes was not tested. An effort might have been made to locate a Pacific railroad in the southern part of the larger Indian Territory, as





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the route along the Canadian river, the thirty-fifth parallel route, was in some respects the best one of the five or six considered;4 but the modified southern route through Texas was acceptable to the people of the states south of Missouri. Therefore the opening of this part of Indian Territory was hardly suggested until 1854, the year of the organization of Nebraska and Kansas.

The movement to open the northern part of the larger Indian territory was connected from the beginning with a desire for a road to the west. The first official suggestion of an encroachment upon the country of the Indians was made in 1844. In that year William Wilkins of Pennsylvania, the secretary of war, recommended in his annual report that a territory should be organized on both sides of the Platte. This was a plan to open the way to the Pacific, and evidently it was the result of the growing interest in Oregon. He recommended that the Indians should be pushed back to the north and to the south and that an organized and settled district should be formed to control the passes to Santa Fe and especially to Oregon.5

On December 17, 1844, Stephen A. Douglas, then a representative in congress from Illinois, introduced a bill to organize the territory of Nebraska, as proposed by the secretary of war,6 and on January 22, 1845, he introduced a bill to establish a sufficient number of military posts in Oregon and Ne-







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braska to protect commerce with New Mexico and California and the “emigration and trade to Oregon.”7

Differences of opinion soon developed. Many thought that something must be done for the Indians in view of the recent pledges. On June 22, 1846, the house committee on Indian affairs reported a new bill to establish an Indian territory,8 and two years later, on June 27, 1848, this committee reported a similar bill. This bill provided for an Indian territory extending from the Red river to the Platte. The superintendent of Indian affairs was designated governor of the territory, and an Indian council was given legislative power subject to his veto. The participation of a tribe in the organization was made optional, and the right of secession and the control or all purely local affairs were reserved to the tribes.9 Nothing came of this bill but a protest from the Indians against its consideration.10

The acquisition of California in 1848 made greater the demand for a road to the Pacific, and on March 15, 1848, Douglas, by this time a senator, again introduced a bill for the organization of Nebraska.11 On December 20, 1848, he brought it up for the third time.12 The commissioner of Indian affairs, W. Medill, in his annual report made at this time, announced that his department had already begun “the establishment of two colonies for Indian tribes,” one north of the Platte, the other south of the Kansas. Between these rivers, he declared, “there would be a wide and safe passage” to the west.13 Of















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course it was possible to get to Oregon by the northernmost route, but that led through the country of the Sioux and was supposed to be impracticable because of the heavy snowfall. It was possible to get to California by way of Texas, but the northern and central states wanted a route farther north. The Indian territory proposed by the bills of 1834 and 1838 was a buffer between the United States and Mexico; the Indian territory in 1848, although it had practically the same boundaries, had become a barrier through the geographical center of the United States as constituted after the war with Mexico.

It was not thought impossible to move the Indians again, as they were much in the way under the changed conditions. In January, 1849, the legislature of North Carolina petitioned congress that the Indians should be given a permanent home with the idea of union and admission as a state.14 This certainly meant that their home in the Indian territory was not considered permanent. In the same month the legislature of Pennsylvania asked congress to move the Indians of the west and southwest to a permanent home in the northwest territory,15 that is, what is now included in the Dakotas and Montana. The plan of settling the Indians along the Canadian border where they would be out of the direct road to the Pacific seems to have received consideration for same time. Two years later, in January, 1851, James Duane Doty, then a representative in congress from Wisconsin, urged the plan in a letter to President Fillmore. He thought that the country lying between the present western boundary of Minnesota and the Missouri river was the most suitable tract for a permanent home for the northern Indians.16

The work of Asa Whitney in arousing popular interest in the construction of a transcontinental railroad was important. His plan was before the public from 1845 to 1852. It was







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recommended by congressional committees no less than seven times, and it was supported by petitions, resolutions of public meetings, and resolutions of state legislatures. Whitney proposed to build a railroad from lake Michigan to the Oregon coast and to take in exchange for it a strip of the public domain sixty miles wide from Lake Michigan or the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean. He was to sell land to settlers, pay the United States ten cents an acre for the land sold, and keep the remainder as compensation and profit. The United States, of course, had to extinguish the Indian title. The acquisition of California turned attention to a more southern route, and the interest in Whitney’s plan evidently began to decline after July, 1848, when the senate, on motion of Thomas H. Benton of Missouri, refused to consider the proposition by the rather close vote of 27 to 21.17

On February 7, 1849, Benton introduced his famous bill providing for the construction by the United States of a national central highway from Saint Louis to San Francisco. This bill proposed to open the Indian country along the way, and the sum of one hundred thousand dollars was to be set aside for treating with the Indians.18 On December 16, 1850, Benton renewed his bill, and in a speech outlined what he thought would be the proper course for the highway. He evidently planned for it to follow the present line of the Santa Fe to Pueblo and thence traverse the Rockies by the route of the Denver and Rio Grande.19

The agitation over the slavery question about 1850 kept all other matters in the background for the time, but the set-







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tlement made by the compromise of 1850, which it was hoped would be permanent, presently allowed other things than slavery to receive consideration. A period of railroad expansion followed. In the next four years, namely between 1850 and 1854, the railway-mileage in the United States rose from eighty six hundred to twenty-one thousand three hundred. In 1850, under the leadership of Stephen A. Douglas, congress entered upon a policy of making extensive land grants in aid of railroad construction. In that year the states of Illinois, Alabama, and Mississippi were ceded public land to be used to aid in constructing a railroad from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. In July of the next year Missouri began to build the first link of the Pacific railroad west of the Mississippi. All this again brought the question of the open road to the Pacific to the attention of the western states.20

For several years the people of those states had been asking for a better government for the country beyond them. Missouri led in this. In December, 1847, the legislature of Missouri asked congress to create a new territory west of that state.21 On December 12, 1851, Willard P. Hall, representative in congress from the Western district of Missouri, gave notice of intention to introduce a bill for the organization of the territory of Nebraska.22 In July, 1852, citizens of Parkville, just across the Missouri river from the Indian country, petitioned congress for the organization of this territory.23 Petitions of a









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similar nature must not have been uncommon at the time. Douglas on July 13 said that during the session innumerable memorials from the western states asking for the protection of the emigrant lines had been ref a rred to the committee on territories and that scarcely a day passed without the receipt of more of them. He made this statement while he was trying to secure the passage of a bill introduced by himself for the protection of the routes to the west, a proposal similar to his bill of 1845.24

Since the intercourse act forbade settlement in the Indian country, the white persons legally residing in the proposed territory of Nebraska were either officials, soldiers, missionaries, or licensed traders. They were not in a position to ask for a change, but the Indians of one tribe took up the matter. In the autumn of 1852 the Wyandottes, who lived on the Kansas river near its mouth, sent a delegate to Congress to urge the establishment of territoral government in their country.25

On December 13, 1852, Representative Hall renewed his bill for the organization of the Nebraska country, this time proposing the name “Territory of the Platte.”26 On February 2, 1853, William A. Richardson of Illinois, chairman of the house committee on territories, introduced a similar measure, possibly a committee substitute for Hall’s bill, in which the name “Territory of Nebraska” was restored. This bill passed the house of representatives on February 10, 1853, and was brought up in the senate on March 2.27









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The bill, as it passed the house, provided for the organization of a territory bounded on the north by the forty-third parallel, on the east by the states of Missouri and Iowa, on the south by the line of thirty-six thirty, and on the west by the Rockey mountains. It was stated on the floor of the house that these limits were establised in order that the new territory should control the Oregon trail and the Santa Fe trail. All lands belonging to Indians who had been specifically guaranteed permanent exclusion from the jurisdiction of a state or organized territory were expressly left out of the proposed territory until the consent of the Indians for inclusion could be secured.28

The opening to settlement of this area, from which slavery had been excluded, was not acceptable to the south. The member of the house who opposed the bill most vigorously was Volney E. Howard, one of the two representatives from Texas. The promise to the Indians of a permanent home in the Indian territory was the basis of his opposition. Hall of Missouri declared angrily that the Texans wished to retain a vast unorganized Indian country north of them so that all travel and commerce between the east and the Pacific must pass through their state. Hall also pointed out that the transcontinental railroad would not pass through the Nebraska country unless it could be opened to settlement.29

In the senate the opposition to the bill was led by the two members from Texas, Sam Houston and Thomas J. Rusk. Houston urged the importance of fulfilling the recent pledge to the Indians, and Rusk declared that the wild tribes would





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move down upon Texas and make it uninhabitable if the Indian territory should be opened to settlement.30

The attitude of the south in general toward the Nebraska bill was shown by the votes of the southern congressmen. In the house thirty of the forty-three negative votes were from the south. Of the ninety-eight affirmative votes, eighty came from the north, seven from Kentucky and Missouri, and eleven from other southern states. Eighty-eight, members were absent or not voting. The division in the senate on March 3 was even more significant. All the votes cast by members from the south except the two from Missouri, a state vitally interested in the central route to the Pacific, were against the bill. With the southern senators voted five senators from the northeast; and in spite of Douglas’ efforts, the senate rejected it by a vote of twenty-three to seventeen. Twenty-two members of the senate were absent or did not vote, but the trend was unmistakable.31

In one respect progress was made during this session of congress. The Indian appropriation bill which became a law on the day of the defeat of the Nebraska bill, the last day of Fillmore’s administration, contained a clause authorizing the president to negotiate with the Indians west of Missouri and Iowa for the purchase of their lands.32 Nothing, however, came of these negotiations during the year.

At the beginning of Pierces administration the Indian territory still blocked the way from the middle west to the Pacific. At one time it had seemed that the people of Arkansas and







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Tennessee might join with those of the states north of them to bring about the opening of the larger Indian territory. On July 8, 1852, Solon Borland, senator from Arkansas, took a definite stand for this. Five days later John Bell, then a senator from Tennessee, wavered in his opposition to the Douglas bill for the protection of the routes to the west, and according to Bell’s analysis, this bill meant the opening of the country along these routes.33 Many of the people of Arkansas undoubtedly hoped at first that the Pacific railroad would run from Memphis through their state and the southern part of the larger Indian territory and thence across the Rockies by way of Albuquerque. A railroad convention held at Little Rock on July 4, 1852, authorized a memorial to congress in favor of this route.34 About this time the people of this section began to consider another route.

On August 31, 1852, the senate committee on public lands. by its chairman, Solon Borland of Arkansas, made a report submitting two plans for a railroad to the Pacific. These plans were alike in adopting a route through Texas with branches from northeastern Texas or southwestern Arkansas to Saint Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans. The committee evidently sought to make a report acceptable to those who favored the central, the south central, or the southern route.35 On December 22, 1852, a bill was introduced in the senate by William M. Gwin of California, providing “for the construction of a railroad from a point on the Red River at or near the southwest corner of the State of Arkansas, on the most direct and feasible route *    *    * to the eastern boundary of the State of California”36 The southern road thus constructed would be as advantageous to Tennessee and Arkansas as the









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south central road, and it seemed to have a better chance of success, as it could enlist the support of the people of all the states south of Missouri.37 It did not call for the opening of the southern part of the larger Indian territory, and the retention of all the Indian country unorganized furnished a strong argument for its adoption.

An act March 3, 1853, authorized the president to have surveys made to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi to the Pacific,38 but on March 13, 1854, before the surveys were completed, a select committee of the house of representatives reported in favor of two roads. One was to connect “Lake Superior or the Mississippi river, in the Territory of Minnesota,” with the Pacific ocean; and the other was to be a southern road.39 The northernmost route was not thought to be practicable, and the proposal to select it was not taken seriously in the north.40 The organization of the Nebraska country and the extinction of Indian titles would remove the only objection that could be urged against a more central route.41

On the first day of the session of Congress, beginning in December, 1853, Augustus C. Dodge of Iowa gave notice of intention to introduce a bill in the senate for the organization











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of Nebraska territory. John G. Miller of Missouri introduced a like bill in the house of representatives a few days later.42 The commissioner of Indian affairs in his annual report made at this time professed to favor the proposed opening of the Indian territory, but he admitted that no progress had been made in the negotiations with the Indians authorized in March, 1853.43 The task of the members of congress from the middle west was to secure the organization of Nebraska and thus announce that the United States intended to remove the Indians. As Douglas put it, “There are two or three points where an Indian territory could be laid out without interfering with any of the great routes to the Pacific.”44

Two things stood in the way of the speedy organization of this country. The Indians of the Indian territory had been promised that they would not be disturbed again. Many persons felt that the government was obliged to leave them their reservations intact. This opinion was held especially by the older men who had had some part in making the settlement in the thirties.45 The attitude of the south toward the opening of this country was even more important. Many of the people of that section thought that the Missouri compromise had been humiliating to them. They wished to keep the remainder of the Louisiana purchase closed to settlement as long as possible









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since they thought that it would not be open on equal terms to settlers from the north and from the south.46

The objections made to the organization of Nebraska, because of the recent pledges to the Indians had been met as far as possible by promises to consider their interests and desires.47 Douglas had also made an effort to meet the objections of the southerners to the opening of Nebraska by a proposal to open the territory south of the line of thirty-six thirty.48 As the territory to be opened north of this line was many times as extensive as the territory south of it, this plan did not prove attractive. The growing tendancy of the people of the states south of Missouri to unite upon a southern route for the Pacific railroad indicated that the south on account of the Missouri compromise was willing to let the Indian country below the line of thirty-six thirty remain unorganized, if the larger portion above that line also remained unorganized.49

This attitude had become apparent as early as April, 1838, when a body of eleven southern senators, the most prominent of whom was John C. Calhoun, sought to secure legislation declaring that all the territory of the Louisiana purchase to which the Indian titles had not then been extinguished should be forever closed to settlement.50 On February 19, 1847, Calhoun denounced the Missouri compromise and declared in favor of returning to the principles of the constitution.51 Other













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persons in the slave states announced from time to time their agreement with this position.52 The votes in 1853, both in the senate and in the house, proved the strength of the southern opposition to the opening of the Nebraska country under the conditions prescribed by the Missouri compromise. The only democratic senator from a slave state who voted for the Nebraska Bill in 1853, David R. Atchison of Missouri, said at the time that he did so unwillingly.53 During the summer of 1853 Atchison announced that he would not vote again for a bill to organize the territory of Nebraska unless that bill should leave the territory open to settlement by slave holders.54 Evidently but one southern senator was left who could be counted on to vote for Dodge’s Nebraska bill unamended.

The introduction of Dodge’s bill and its reference to the committee on territories, of which Douglas was chairman, placed a choice of three plans of action before Douglas. He could delay the consideration of the bill just at a time when interest in Nebraska and in the Pacific railroad had become acute in the west. He had tried to press the organization of the territory before a great deal of popular interest had been aroused, and an energetic and confident man like Douglas was not likely to drop the matter under the new conditions.55 He could try to secure the passage of the Nebraska bill by a sectional vote. It is not certain that he would have succeeded;56










56It is usually assumed that this would have been an easy matter. A statement asserting this, made by Douglas on March 3, 1853, is sometimes quoted as evidence. Congressional Globe, 32 congress, 2 session, 1,116. The statement, however, is not to the point, as it was made before the Richardson bill had been laid on the table and before Atchison’s change of position had indicated the growing unity of the southern opposition. Gwin of California voted with the southerners on March 2, 1853, and probably would have voted with them again. Everett of Massachusetts based his opposition to the amended bill as much on his regard for the Indian treaties as on his dislike for the repeal of the Missouri compromise. Ibid., 33 congress, 1 session, appendix, 159. He would probably have voted against the establishment of the territory in any case. The free state majority in the senate at the time was only two.

Moreover, other senators from the northeast had opposed the Nebraska bill, either from indifference or because of their interest in another route to the west. The opposition would have taken the form that it took in 1853, or requests would have been made for postponment until the claims of the Indians had been given attention. The promises made in 1830 afforded a good pretext for opposition to the Nebraska bill, if the real motives were such that they could not be acknowledged publicly. It was stated in the New York Evening Post of November 15, 1853, that intrigues were on foot to keep “Nebraska out of the sisterhood of Territories, and of course out of the Union as long as possible.” Quoted by Ray, Repeal of the Missouri compromise, its origin and authorship, 181. On the whole question see Frank H. Hodder, “Genesis of the Kansas-Nebraska act,” in State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Proceedings, 1912 (Madison, 1913), 69-82.

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but, if he had succeeded, sectional feeling would have been intensified not only in the democratic party but in the country as a whole. Lastly, he could try to find a compromise that would secure both northern and southern votes for the measure. The only possible compromise was to leave the question of slavery entirely to the people of the territories.

The proposal to settle the question of slavery in the Louisiana purchase in this way had beg made before by northern men. As early as December 2, 1847, Daniel S. Dickinson, senator from New York, had proposed resolutions asserting, “That in organizing a Territorial Government for territory belonging to the United States . . . . . all questions concerning the domestic policy therein (should be left) to the legislatures chosen by the people thereof.”57 On December 24, 1847, Lewis Cass, senator from Michigan and later democratic candidate for the presidency, declared definitely in favor of this method of settling the question of slavery in the territories.58 It had been suggested by a northern representative in the debate on the Nebraska bill in 1853 that the organization of Utah and New Mexico had established a precedent that might apply to





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Nebraska.59 A convention held in Saint Joseph, Missouri, at the beginning of January, 1854, in which delegates from Iowa participated, demanded the organization of the territory of Nebraska, and declared in favor of leaving the question of slavery “to be settled by the citizens of the territory when they form a State government.”60

Douglas did not believe that slavery would even be established in any of the new territories, regardless of the laws enacted.61 He thought that the north was sacrificing nothing by leaving slavery to be checked by economic influence. He hoped no doubt that sectional hostility could be averted and that the south would not complain if the spread of slavery should be stopped by conditions and not by congressional action. Finally, Douglas believed that the people who settled in a new territory were as capable of doing the right thing as the people of the states in a matter concerning them especially.62

Douglas misjudged conditions in two particulars. He did not realize that the north would oppose this plan so strongly. Many thought that the Missouri compromise was a compact between the sections almost as important as the constitution, and that the south should fulfill its part of the bargain as the north had already fulfilled its part. Others did not agree with Douglas in his belief that slavery would not spread. Moreover,









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the great body of recent arrivals from Europe had no patience with a temporizing policy with regard to slavery. The second wrong judgment of Douglas was his failure to realize that the contest for and against slavery in a territory would also engender sectional hostility. He must have expected an outcome like the peaceable victory of the free state men in California or the quiet progress of affairs in Oregon before 1848.63

On January 4, 1854, Douglas, as chairman of the committee on territories, reported favorably Dodge’s Nebraska bill, but a section was attached which declared that in accordance with the principles established by the compromise measures of 1850 all questions relating to slavery should be left to the decision of the people of the territories and the new states to be formed.64 This statement was hardly definite enough for the southerners, and on January 16 Archibald Dixon, a whig senator from Kentucky, gave notice that he would offer an amendment to the Nebraska bill specifically repealing the Missouri compromise.65 Douglas withdrew his report and presented it again on January 23 with three important amendments. One provided for two territories to be named Nebraska and Kansas, with the boundary between them at the fortieth parallel; one changed the southern boundary of the country to be organized from the parallel of thirty-six thirty to the thirty-seventh parallel, and the third asserted that the Missouri compromise had been superseded by the compromise of 1850.66









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On March 3, 1854, just one year after the defeat of Richardson’s Nebraska bill, the senate passed the Dodge bill, as reported by Douglas, by a vote of 37 to 14. The senators from slave states voted twenty-three to two in favor of the bill; those from free states fourteen to twelve.67 Douglas had been able to secure but two southern votes in the senate for the Nebraska bill in March, 1853. In March, 1854, he secured all but two. There is no evidence that the change was not brought about entirely by one amendment.

The house, which had easily passed the unamended Nebraska bill in 1853, was so largely dominated by free state men that a bitter fight ensued there over the repeal of the Missouri compromise. On May 22, by a vote of 113 to 100, it finally passed a bill modeled closely upon the senate bill. This was accepted by the senate on May 25 by a vote of thirty-five to thirteen, practically the same division by which the Dodge-Douglas bill had passed in March. The president gave his approval on May 30, and the territories of Kansas and Nebraska were established.68

Within a week after this event the house committee in charge of the Pacific railroad agreed to amend their measure so that to allow one of the two proposed railroads to the Pacific to run anywhere north of the thirty-seventh parallel, the southern boundary of Kansas.69 Either this was a most extraordinary coincidence or the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill made it necessary for the committee to recognize that a more central route was practicable. Those who urged the establishment of the territories of Nebraska and Kansas were not interested in what is now Oklahoma, except so far as it was a part of the road from their states to the west. The parallel of thirty-six thirty had been the proposed southern







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boundary of the Nebraska territory until January, 1854. The reason given for the selection of this limit was that it was needed to give the new territory control of the Santa Fe trail.70 It is not unlikely, however, that the significance of the line of thirty-six thirty in the Missouri compromise had something to do with the selection, and the proposed repeal of the Missouri compromise did away with this significance. Moreover, the recognition in the Nebraska bill of the force of the Indian treaties which guaranteed certain tribes freedom from the jurisdiction of a state or territorial government added to the importance of the line between the Cherokee and the Osage. Accordingly, in the revised bill which proposed the organization of two territories, Kansas and Nebraska, both of which were to be open to slavery, Douglas made the thirty-seventh parallel, as the supposed line between the Cherokee and the Osage, the southern boundary of Kansas. The change was made at the request of William K. Sebastian, senator from Arkansas.71

This change in the southern boundary of Kansas was a necessary part of a plan for the organization of what is now Oklahoma. The congressmen from Arkansas did not intend to leave an unorganized area on the west of their state, now that the south was no longer interested in keeping the whole of the Indian country closed to settlement. It was decided to introduce a separate measure for the organization of the territory of the “five civilized tribes,” as it was necessary because of their treaties that they should be given separate consideration. Indeed the Kansas-Nebraska act would not have applied to them without their approval, and a measure adopted to their conditions could more readily secure this approval. On February 20, 1854, Robert W. Johnson, senator from Arkansas, introduced a bill for the organization of what is now Oklahoma,72 but this could not be taken up until the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill.







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Thus, within a quarter of a century of the establishment of the larger Indian tetritory, it was divided at the thirty-seventh parallel. The northern part was organized and opened to white settlers while the southern part was left unorganized. This contrast in the disposition of the two parts was due chiefly to the difference between their respective situations in relation to the road to the west. The organization of the northern part was necessary to make an open road from the northern states to the Pacific; the organization of the southern part was not so important to the states of the south. The special promise in the treaties with the “Five Civilized Tribes,” which were in addition to the general promises made to all the Indians of the larger Indian territory, as well as the greater density of population south of the thirty-seventh parallel, were factors which contributed to this result.73 Otherwise what is now Oklahoma would probably have been organized incidentally with Nebraska. and Kansas. It is hardly open to question, however, that if the southern states had been determined to open the southern part of the Indian territory it would have been opened with the northern part regardless of these treaties. In every case the claims of Indians to the territory of the United States have yielded to determined and persistent pressure.

The repeal of the Missouri compromise was also an important factor in the division of the larger Indian territory. Without the repeal of this law the nearly unanimous consent of the southern congressmen could never have been secured for the opening of the part of the Indian territory north of the line of thirty-six thirty while the part south of it remained closed. Yet the people of the southern states did not intend to leave the country west of Arkansas unorganized, and in the period following the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska act efforts were made to open the territory of the “five civilized tribes” until the civil war made great changes both in the southern states and in the southern Indian territory.



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