|This 1983: Doomsday page is a Stub.|
Kansas is a state in the United States of America, admitted as a free state January 29, 1861, on the brink of the American Civil War. It had been a hotbed of violence as factions had fought to have it declared a slave state. It was one of three new states added to strengthen the war effort in the north.
In the days after the Soviet attacks in 1983, local leaders struggled with their identity as Americans. After particpating with neighboring states in the Lakota War, they briefly declared itself the "Free State of West Kansas" in 1991, but joined with other former US states to form the "Provisional United States of America" the next year. Reclaiming the name "Kansas" the government in Dodge City claimed the original boundaries, but the thirty participating counties of west Kansas (approx 22,000 sq mi) are generally recognized as the "official" Kansas.
For millennia, the land that is presently Kansas was inhabited by Native Americans. The first European to set foot in present-day Kansas was Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who explored the area in 1541.
In 1803, most of modern Kansas was secured by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Southwest Kansas, however, was still a part of Spain, Mexico, and the Republic of Texas until the conclusion of the Mexican-American War in 1848. From 1812 to 1821, Kansas was part of the Missouri Territory. The Santa Fe Trail traversed Kansas from 1821 to 1880, transporting manufactured goods from Missouri and silver and furs from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Wagon ruts from the trail are still visible in the prairie today.
In 1827, Fort Leavenworth became the first permanent settlement of white Americans in the future state. The Kansas-Nebraska Act became law on May 30, 1854, establishing the U.S. territories of Nebraska and Kansas, and opening the area to broader settlement by whites. Kansas Territory stretched all the way to the Continental Divide and included the sites of present-day Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo.
Missouri and Arkansas sent settlers into Kansas all along its eastern border. These settlers attempted to sway votes in favor of slavery. The secondary settlement of Americans in Kansas Territory were abolitionists from Massachusetts and other Free-Staters, who attempted to stop the spread of slavery from neighboring Missouri. Directly presaging the American Civil War, these forces collided, entering into skirmishes that earned the territory the name of Bleeding Kansas. Kansas was admitted to the United States as a slave-free state on January 29, 1861, making it the 34th state to enter the Union. By that time the violence in Kansas had largely subsided.
After the Civil War, many veterans constructed homesteads in Kansas. Many African Americans also looked to Kansas as the land of "John Brown," and led by men like Benjamin "Pap" Singleton began establishing black colonies in the state. At the same time, the Chisholm Trail was opened and the Wild West era commenced in Kansas. In one year alone, 8 million head of cattle from Texas boarded trains in Dodge City bound for the East, earning Dodge the nickname "Queen of the Cowtowns."
In part as a response to the violence perpetrated by cowboys, on February 19, 1881 Kansas became the first U.S. state to adopt a Constitutional amendment prohibiting all alcoholic beverages.
In the 20th century, Kansas was adversely affected by severe drought in the 1930's. This disaster, coupled with the Great Depression, resulted in a decrease in the population of the state. With the economy and weather stabilizing during and after World War II, Kansas rebounded.
However, the early history of problematic race relations returned, bringing about the historic Brown vs the Board of Education of Topeka case before the US Supreme Court which outlawed "separate, but equal" facilities (May 17, 1954). Such facilities were judged inherently "unequal" and thus a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In 1966, the weather proved still to be a problem in Kansas, with thunderstorms instead of drought. On June 8th of that year a rare "K5" tornado tore through the western half of the state, causing damage amounting to over $100 million.
With military targets located in the more heavily populated east, the population there -- including the state government -- was obliterated on September 25, 1983. However, the sparsely populated western part of the state was mainly unscathed. However, communications were totally severed from both state and federal agencies.
As the winter approached, many thought "nuclear winter" would overwhelm the state, so an emergency government was set up in Dodge City, rallying the government agencies in surrounding counties to provide food and shelter for local residents first, and then to refugees as they began to come into town from the devastated east. Food and shelter was rationed to endure the winter and, since "nuclear winter" did not come, there was plenty for everyone. However when the summer proved to be more severe, many feared a "dust bowl" as had hit fifty years earlier. Adjustments were made to the changing weather patterns, though, and famine was averted.
One of the biggest problems was the fallout from the bombardment of the silos near Cheyenne. The prevailing winds had dropped a moderate amount of ash and dust onto the central part of the state, leaving a certain part of the population mildly irradiated due to exposure in the early weeks after Doomsday. Some, who had not heeded public warnings before the bombs began to fall, would contract severe radiation sickness and die within weeks of exposure. Others, who had simply disregarded safety protocol, would begin to develop cancers over the years.
In these chaotic days, state representative and speaker of the Kansas House Mike Hayden (who had been at home in Colby when his office and many of his friends were destroyed) became a natural leader among the survivor communities that became the de facto "state of Kansas." As a result, he became the interim "governor" of the settlements, serving as a representative to the constitutional convention after serving as an officer in the Kansas militia during the Lakota War. As a result, he is considered the 41st governor of Kansas by modern political historians.
Rebirth of a state
By the end of the Lakota War in nearby Wyoming and Montana, the survivors in western Kansas had begun to form associations to better cope with life cut off from friends and relatives in other parts of North America. The historic town of Dodge City became a regional gathering place for influential leaders which included former county governments, state representatives, and federal employees who had been serving in federal court houses in Dodge City and Garden City. Mike Hayden served as "governor" when the association declared itself the "Free State of West Kansas" in 1991.
This independence, though, lasted less than a year as the population overwhelmingly agreed to rejoin then Provisional United States under the restored constitution of 1991. The state's official name reverted to simply "Kansas" in 1992.
more to come ...
Adjacent States and Nations
Government and Politics
Election of 2010
Senator Samuel Dale "Sam" Brownback, 45th governor of Kansas (fourth of the new state), after two terms as a senator in Torrington and a term in the governor's chair already under his belt, won decisively against Democratic challenger John Doll to continue in his office. Brownback had been a survivor in the hectic days in Manhattan, Kansas, after the destruction of Kansas City. Having migrated with his young family to the safety of the west, he had become prominent in the early efforts of the state's restructuring in Dodge City. A signer of the revised constitution in 1991, he was elected to continue as a representative of the new state that year. After a term in the House, he was elected in 1994 to the Senate. Some political analysts predict he may choose to run for president in 2012, but he denies this rumor.
more to come ...