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The next step was taken by the Wyandote Indians. On July 28, 1853, they met in the council house in Wyandote, organized Kansas-Nebraska into a Provisional Territory and elected a delegate to the Thirty-third Congress. This act was not recognized, nor was the delegate admitted to Congress, but their action precipitated the long debate that resulted in the passage of the Douglas Bill, signed by President Franklin Pierce on May 30, 1854. By this bill the Missouri Compromise was repealed and the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska were organized with the right to determine the question of slavery for themselves. 

In creating the two Territories it was tacitly hoped that Kansas would resolve itself into a slave State and that Nebraska would remain free, thus preserving the balance of power between the free and slave factions. This hope was immediately threatened by a movement in the New England States, begun by Eli Thayer of Massachusetts with the organization of the New England Emigrant Aid Company in 1854. The movement proposed to send 20,000 Free Soilers into Kansas each year, but failed to attract emigrants in any such numbers. Still its existence aroused the pro-slavery advocates, who retaliated with counter organizations known as the "Blue Lodge," "Sons of the South," and others. Both movements proposed a "Squatter Sovereignty." 

The Kansas Territory at that time had no more than 1,500 white persons, approximately 700 of whom were in military service and therefore ineligible for the ballot; the others lived in small groups clustered about the trading posts and Indian missions, and along the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. But across the State line in the western counties of Missouri, were 80,000 citizens who owned approximately 12,000 slaves. It was to their interest to control the policies of the future State, and their resentment of antislavery activities was particularly intense. Many immediately crossed the Kansas line to "spot" claims, pending further action by the Government. 

In May 1854 treaties were made with the Delaware and Shawnee in eastern Kansas, by which more than two million acres of their reservations were made available to the whites by public auction and preemption. The race for Kansas was on. Settlers poured into the new Territory from Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and especially from Missouri. They came in caravans of prairie schooners or Conestoga wagons, by steamboats, on horseback, on foot in companies and alone. The majority brought their families, their cattle and farm implements, their spinning wheels and looms.