Moving on to the main topic. Surprisingly given their modern conservakin demographics, the history of Kansas makes for an excellent example of a transitional period for progressivism. Kansas became a center for progressive politics in the 1800s which peaked around 1890 because so many of them moved to Kansas because of the slavery issue. New England abolitionists were invested in a pure morality status signaling way in the outcome of whether new states came into the union as free state or slave states. Based on purely moral reasoning without regard to economics or convenience, many of these New England proto-cathedralites moved to Kansas just so they could ensure Kansas would be a free state.
The most famous example is that of abolitionist John Brown. He was every bit of the same kind as the violent far-left activist/terrorist of today, but in the setting of the 1850s. Brown led raids with other activists and even murdered a number of people as he believed a peaceful end of slavery was not possible so a violent overthrow of government was the only solution. He was motivated by his religion: “He believed he was the instrument of God’s wrath in punishing men for the sin of owning slaves.” The stage was set for the civil war by conflict between free-state puritans who had moved to Kansas and Slave-state Missourians who had a number of small conflicts that happened before the civil war. These events became known as bleeding Kansas. Brown later went on a raid of an armory in Virginia in 1859 in which he and his supporters killed five men. Brown was executed for treason for this act, but its effect was to greatly increase the tensions between the North and South. The South was correct in identifying the highly aggressive posturing and support of violence by Northern abolitionists. Even if most paid lip-service to a peaceful resolution, they weren’t exactly angry that the fringe of their movement was engaging in violence and were dead set in isolating and inconveniencing the south as much as possible. This was Anarcho-tyranny at its very core. During the civil war proper, the union army even had a marching song celebrating Brown as a martyr.
After the civil war, abolition was no longer an issue, but Kansas was still full of puritans and through their activism the state became one of the main centers of progressivism during last half of the 19th century and into the early part of the 20th century. They instituted or tried to institute child labor laws (somewhat understandable, but this had an undesirable side-effect of turning children from a economic gain into an economic cost for families), temperance/prohibition, direct election of federal senators, and labor reform among other things. They even had a populist party called “the people’s party” which engaged in outright illegal actions in the Kansas house of representatives. For example, locking the republican party out of the state congressional hall. Armed conflict almost resulted in Kansas because of these sorts of antics, which demonstrates that democracy really is just a low level civil war that always has the potential to turn violent.