From Ohio History Central
Bleeding Kansas was a mini civil war between pro- and anti-slavery forces that occurred in Kansas from 1856 to 1865.
Following the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, thousands of Northerners and Southerners came to the newly created Kansas Territory. Some of these settlers simply wanted the new land now open to settlement, but many other people came to cast their votes either for or against slavery. The Kansas-Nebraska Act had allowed the people residing in the Kansas Territory to decide for themselves whether or not to permit slavery. This legislation overturned the earlier Missouri Compromise, which declared that Kansas was to be free of slavery. Some Southerners hoped to make Kansas a slave state, intending to reduce the North's advantage in the United States Senate. Southerners believed that they could prevent the North from limiting or ending slavery if they regained at least a tie, if not a majority, of senators in the United States Senate. Many Northerners intended to prevent slavery at all costs. The government's approval of the Kansas-Nebraska Act helped lead to the formation of the Republican Party, a political party, which was centered in the North, dedicated to preventing slavery's expansion.
Even religious leaders began to condone violence. Among them was Henry Ward Beecher, a former resident of Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1854, Beecher sent rifles to anti-slavery forces participating in "Bleeding Kansas." These guns became known as "Beecher's bibles," because they arrived in Kansas in crates marked "bibles." Kansas continued to be "Bleeding Kansas" until the Civil War's conclusion in 1865.