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Contributed by Jonathan Ablard on 07/08/2014
Pearl Ponce, Associate Professor in the Department of History, is pleased to announce that her book on Bleeding Kansas has been released. Entitled To Govern the Devil in Hell: The Political Crisis in Territorial Kansas, it investigates the turmoil Kansas Territory experienced in the 1850s through the prism of governance. At issue in Kansas was whether the territory would join the Union as a slave or free state. The stakes were so high for the country that what began as a typical election scandal in 1854 escalated until this small territory had two competing governments and constitutions and a populace so driven by their ideological differences that they turned to violence in 1856 to try and settle them.
This breakdown in the political process foreshadows the American Civil War which began five short years later over many of the same issues. To Govern the Devil in Hell contributes to the literature on the coming of the war. It has been published by Northern Illinois University Press (http://www.niupress.niu.edu/niupress/scripts/book/bookResults.asp?ID=698).