Lead:  One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is A House Divided.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: All during the winter and spring of 1856, the major topic of political discussion and anger in the United States was Kansas. Two years before, the Kansas Nebraska Act had enshrined the concept of majority choice as to whether a state would come into the Union as slave or free. In Washington there was gridlock. Free soil Republicans controlled the U.S. House and pro-slavery Democrats, the U.S. Senate. Neither side would yield and allow the other to admit Kansas as either slave or free. Therefore, partisans on both sides of the slave issue flooded on to the distant prairie to force a reality that could not be worked out politically in Washington. Kansas became “Bloody Kansas.” Both sides committed atrocities, but the pro-slavery forces seemed particularly vicious and played into the hands of the free state propagandists who were determined to have Kansas be free.