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Kansas History - Autumn 1998

(Vol. 21, No. 3)

Kansas History, Autumn 1998Jerry Bergman, "The Jehovah's Witness Upbringing of President Eisenhower."

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Few people would be surprised to learn that religion was a significant influence in Dwight David Eisenhower's Abilene home, but how many are aware of the fact that the Jehovah's Witness faith of the thirty-fourth president's mother, Ida Stover Eisenhower, was perhaps more predominant than the River Brethren beliefs of his father's family. As Dr. Bergman's research demonstrates, Ida and David Eisenhower's religious affiliation of some fifty years was no secret, but it has been largely ignored by students of the life of Kansas's most illustrious twentieth-century son.

Gary L. Cheatham, "'Slavery All the Time Or Not At All': The Wyandotte Constitution Debate, 1859-1861."

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The ratification of the Wyandotte Constitution in October 1859 put the institution of slavery in Kansas "on the road to ultimate extinction" and changed the nature of the political debate in the territory. Its overwhelming electoral success did not, however, as Gary Cheatham demonstrates, mean an end to the "opposition," which continued until the eve of the Civil War to oppose key provisions of the constitution and espouse a pro-Southern ideology.

Stephen C. Craig, "Army Medicine on the Plains: George M. Sternberg's Life on the Kansas Frontier, 1866-70."

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This highly informative and interesting article explores one phase of the career of Dr. George M. Sternberg, who essentially began as a battalion surgeon with the Third U.S. Infantry in May 1861 and ended, some forty years later, as the surgeon general of the army. During his Kansas frontier interlude, Sternberg experienced "success, failure, and personal tragedy," but in the final analysis Dr. Craig finds that the Plains "prepared him to accept the ideas that would become the germ theory of disease causation and establish the field of bacteriology."


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