KU's first day in 1866

  • image.jpg

    Cool pic

  • My son says the girls wore a lot more clothes back then. You can imagine.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 How old IS your son?

  • @nuleafjhawk I think he can compare what lil they wear now to the pic.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    First day of school–1866.

    Adventure. A new page of their lives. The hope to get ahead. The thrill of new learning. Some fear about whether they could cut it at college.

    But also in these students minds…

    Bloody Kansas of the 1850s–the students’ wonder years–and what was by then called The War of the Rebellion 1861-1865–the students early teen years.

    They had grown up with a free capital in Lawrence and a slave capital in Lecompton. Now the state capital was in Topeka. They knew of Kansas towns, Lawrence among them, being burned by Missouri raiders and of Kansas raiders burning Missouri towns. They grew up with news of atrocities–Raiders showing up in the night on both sides and hacking innocent farm families, whole towns sometimes, to pieces with swords and burning their farms to the ground.

    As teenagers, the students in the picture knew the raiders to have joined Union and Confederate armies and continued their raiding through the Civil War that was by then being called by their government the War of the Rebellion. Having been children and early teens most probably did not realize the raiding, atrocities and war had been fomented and underwritten from early on by a small handful of wealthy industrialists in the North and the same handful of plantation owners in the South hoping all along to use violence, subterfuge and finally war to get control of the state, and then the Federal legislature, in hopes of controlling the building of the transcontinental rail and telegraph infrastructures, so their sides could grow incomprehensibly rich controlling the North American pinch point on global maritime trade needing to pass through the Western Hemisphere. What the kids knew was many of their families had lived a long time in fear of the raids and atrocities and more than a few of them had lost family members to the struggle, or knew families that had.

    Terror was real to these students. It had been amplified by propaganda by both sides so as to stampede the state and nation free, or slave. The shortages of war had been felt by them for years. They were not distracted by media 4-10 hours per day. Most were sons of merchants, or farmers. They grew up with many languages in small towns with descendants of many European cultures and even an African American town or two. The railroad already informed some of the eastern part of the state and construction of much more was expected. Yet Native American villages of tepees remained and the buffalo herds remained though in far fewer numbers. Plans for moving the Indians to Oklahoma Territory were openly discussed as progress.

    These kids all knew their President had been assassinated a year before, and that several reputed southerners had been quickly arrested, tried and hung as conspirators. Some few probably recalled that an attempt had also been made to assassinate one of Lincoln’s cabinet members. None probably knew or even suspected that certain legislators in Washington claimed that John Wilkes Boothe’s body had never been conclusively identified, or that the alleged conspirators appeared to some to have been railroaded. They all probably knew President Andrew Johnson, who replaced the murdered Lincoln, was embattled. But they had probably heard of a dominant group of Republican senators fighting with Johnson to alter Lincoln’s plans for occupation and reconstruction of the conquered southern states. It was probably not clear how decisively a few industrialists and Morgan guaranty bank in New York and the Rothschilds investment bank in London were by then controlling the country through its vast war debts and need to borrow more.

    To these new students, probably almost anything seemed possible after surviving the terror and hardships of the raiding and the war, plus the assassination of their President Lincoln. Kansas and USA were free.

    But probably all these students knew how perilous and uncertain state and nationhood could be.

    But school was starting and they intended to seize the opportunity.

    They knew how uncertain and violent life was.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Damned beautiful what she wrote.

  • @jaybate-1.0 i agree, and I like the open to all genders and races part.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    …and religious beliefs and disabilities.

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