History & Culture
The story of Fort Scott is the story of America growing up. When the fort was established in 1842, the nation was still young and confined largely to the area east of the Mississippi River. Yet within a few years, Fort Scott's soldiers became involved in events that would lead to tremendous spurts of growth and expansion. As the nation developed, tensions over slavery led to the conflict and turmoil of "Bleeding Kansas" and the Civil War. Fort Scott takes you through these years of crisis and beyond to the time when the United States emerged as a united, transcontinental nation.
Permanent Indian Frontier
As a young
Positioned on a bluff surrounded by prairie and rolling hills,
In the 1840s, settlers flocked westward to
Both infantry and dragoons left
Westward expansion in the 1840s brought about a growth spurt that nearly doubled the country's size and fulfilled "Manifest Destiny" - the idea that it was
Slavery divided the nation during its turbulent adolescent years. Conflict arose over whether to allow slavery in the new western territories. Under the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), Congress created
Three distinct political groups occupied Kansas-proslavers, free-staters, and abolitionists. Proslavery advocates, as the name implies, supported slavery, regardless of whether they personally owned slaves. Abolitionists wanted to rid the nation of "the peculiar institution". Free staters didn't particularly care about slavery where it already existed, but were opposed to its extension westward. Conflict between these opposing factions soon turned violent. As a result, this era became forever known as "Bleeding Kansas," an era when violence, destruction, and psychological warfare prevailed in the region.
By 1858, radical elements from both factions converged on the area. James Montgomery, an ardent abolitionist, became a leader of
During this era, soldiers returned periodically to
The struggles of an adolescent
After the Civil War ended, the nation began to heal and to unify. Railroads built across the continent played a major role in tying the country together. Town leaders of
From 1842-73, Fort Scott evolved from an isolated frontier outpost into a bustling trade center and played a significant role in events that transformed the United States. During that time, America grew from a young divided republic through the growing pains of conflict and war into maturity as a united and powerful transcontinental nation.
The text above is from our site brochure. The movie segments are from our movie Dreams and Dilemmas: Fort Scott and the Growth of a Nation which is produced by Signature Communications.
The links below will take you to pages with greater detail about various people and topics important to Fort Scott history.
Last updated: April 10, 2015