Andrew H. Reeder becomes Kansas Territorial Governor

Friday, July 7, 1854

Governor Andrew H. Reeder. Courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society.

Andrew Horatio Reeder takes office as the first Kansas territorial governor. Appointed by President Franklin Pierce (a like-minded Democrat who supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act and popular sovereignty for Kansas), Reeder presides over the infamous March 30, 1855, Kansas election, which features some of the most blatant voting fraud in U.S. history and results in the establishment of the proslavery "Bogus Legislature." Hundreds of Missourians cross the border to vote for the proslavery cause, and violence threatens to erupt. President Pierce, however, grows frustrated at Reeder's inability to promote the proslavery cause. After being dismissed by the president on August 16, 1855, Reeder sides with the Free-Staters and participates in an illegal election that would make him and James H. Lane U.S. senators, should Kansas become a state. Reeder finally flees Kansas in May 1856 due to impending charges of high treason. In 1861, Reeder, inexperienced in military affairs, declines an appointment from President Lincoln to be a brigadier general in the U.S. Army.


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