Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 611, March 20, 2011

"They are deliberately destroying America"

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The Original Free State Project
by Jim Davidson

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Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

It all began with the abrogation of the Compromise of 1850. Territory for the states of Kansas and Colorado, among others, was provided to the United States by the state of Texas in the 1850 compromise for the purpose of securing funds to pay off the war debts of the former Republic of Texas. The Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854 was designed to break the Missouri compromise, abrogate the compromise of 1850, and inflame sectional controversy. These things it did.

One of the early responses to the Kansas-Nebraska act was the Free State project of the New England Immigrant Aid Company. This company was established in Massachusetts and funded heavily by abolitionist Avery Lawrence. The goal was to send emigrants from Massachusetts and other abolitionist strongholds to Kansas. Under the terms of the "popular sovereignty" of the Kansas-Nebraska act, the people of the territory of Kansas would be defrauded by a series of faked elections in which many votes would be discarded and many non-residents "allowed" to vote. Ultimately Congress, in the throes of the secession crisis (well after the secession of South Carolina which took place in December 1860 and the secession of Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama in early January 1861 and shortly after the secession of Georgia and Louisiana) would refuse a proposed slave state constitution for Kansas, and accept a free state constitution.

You can read an overview of the story at this wikipedia page.

The remnants of the project are found on historical society signs all over Lawrence, Kansas, and in the names of businesses like "Free State Brewery" and the former "Free State Studios" (now Knology).

If you'd like a walking tour of the Free State project in Lawrence, including a visit to the Eldridge House hotel, scene of several battles, one can be arranged.

Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, and anti-war activist. His 1990 venture to offer a sweepstakes trip into space was destroyed by government action as was his free port and prospective space port in Somalia in 2001. His 2002-2007 venture in free market money and private stock exchange was destroyed by government action in 2007. He's going to Mars if he has to walk. His second book, Being Sovereign is now availble from Lulu and Amazon. He is currently working on a book about travel to Mars with John Wayne Smith, a book with international fugitive Chad Z. Hower on his story, a book on sovereign self-defence, and a book compiling his letters and essays in "The Libertarian Enterprise" from 1995 to 2010. Contact him at or Come visit his teams at events in June 2011 in New Hampshire, September 2011 in Montana, December 2011 in Florida, and March 2012 in Austin, Texas.


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