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Lecompton (ləkŏmpˈtən) [key], small town, Douglas co., NE Kans., on the Kansas River between Lawrence and Topeka. The pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution was formulated (Sept., 1857) there, and was ratified (Dec., 1857) after an election in which voters were given a choice only between limited or unlimited slavery; free state men refused to cast their ballots. President James Buchanan urged Congress to admit Kansas as a slave state under the Lecompton Constitution, but Stephen A. Douglas and his followers broke with the pro-slavery Democrats, and the bill could not pass the House. At a subsequent election (Aug., 1858), Kansas voters decisively rejected the Lecompton Constitution. Kansas was later (1861) admitted as a free state.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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