Governor Shannon Introduces Himself, Part Two

Wilson Shannon

Wilson Shannon

Sorry for the delayed post, Gentle Readers.

Wilson Shannon introduced himself to his Kansas constituents in Missouri, which got him off to a great start building a record for impartiality and fairness. He went on to declare the free state movement, support of a likely majority of Kansans or not, revolutionary and illegitimate. Legitimacy apparently came solely from stolen elections. Shannon won more friends, if not necessarily Kansan friends, by pledging to faithfully execute all the laws of the bogus legislature, wise or otherwise. He condemned the dispute between the legislature and ex-governor Andrew Reeder over its proper location and the legality of meeting elsewhere. Indeed, just to make matters entirely clear, Shannon declared the legislature’s enactments

binding on every citizen of the territory, and would use all his executive power and authority to carry them into effect.

Here he sounds not just willing, but downright eager. But, Shannon insisted, he didn’t want to bring politics into things:

He said it was not his intention to address them on the various questions which divided the parties in the territory; perhaps he did not understand them; and he had not expected to speak on this occasion.

Andrew Horatio Reeder

Andrew Horatio Reeder

Having thus opined on the legitimacy of the legislature and the free state movement, Shannon then proceeded to comment on the ultimate political issue that divided Kansans and their neighbors:

His official life and career were not unknown to a portion, at least, of the citizens of Kansas. He had no intention of his political faith. he thought, with reference to slavery, that as Missouri and Kansas were adjoining states, as much of that immense commerce up the Missouri, which wsa already rivaling the commerce between the United States and some European countries, must necessarily lead to a great trade, and perpetual intercourse between them, it would be well if their institutions should harmonize-as otherwise there would be continual quarrels and border feuds. He was thus for slavery in Kansas. (Loud cheers.)

One wonders what Shannon could have done to more endear himself to the proslavery party in Kansas and their Missourian allies. He may have spoken extemporaneously, but he said what he said all the same. Kansas second Democratic governor had none of the caution or impartial principles of the first. Andrew Reeder might really have given both parties a fair shake, and certainly demonstrated unanticipated interest in holding fair elections. Wilson Shannon came to Kansas committed to the fruits of fraudulent elections and the cause which motivated that fraud.


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