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Why Missouri Should Say "No" to Freedom's Frontier


From the News Team…

The minutes to the August 9th, 2007 Freedom’s Frontier meeting held at Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri, reveal the course that proponents of Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area plan to use to interpret the history of the Kansas / Missouri border area. Twice the neutral-value, concept of “no right or wrong” is mentioned as a marketing “hook”.

Supporters of Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area are quick to point out that the $10 million dollars that is to be distributed between 55 Kansas counties and 12 Missouri counties over the next fifteen years will be an economic windfall. It should be noted, however; that Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area will be a government bureaucracy, ran by the National Park Service with paid employees. This means any initial windfall resulting from the distribution of the money will be offset by the expense to maintain it.

The fact remains that culturally, Missouri and eastern Kansas could not be more different, and despite their “no right or wrong” marketing ploy , it is a fact that there is much more money to be made in the private sector by promoting these differences. A good example of this is the recent “Border War Showdown” football game between Mizzou and Kansas University. I can not remember in recent memory , in which the differences between two regions and cultures have been so celebrated. The following quotes were taken from news media outlets preceding this heavily promoted event.

From St. Louis’s Fox News 2 website dated Saturday November 24th, 2007 “For 116 years the Missouri and Kansas rivalry has been fought on the college football field but the “Border War” stretches years beyond that. “This is a deeply rooted rivalry of the nation,” says historian Mark Trout. Those roots aren’t just anchored in a football field they also reach deeply on the battlefield.

History chronicles many battles between the Confederates in Missouri and Union loyalists in Kansas. “You see this during the war in 1862 and 63 where you will see one side strike the other and the other will strike in retaliation.” A true border war between the “Jayhawker” brigade and the still slightly celebrated Missouri men Bloody Bill Anderson and William Quantrill. It was in the summer of 1863 when Quantrill lead attacks in Kansas killing dozens and burning Lawrence but many say that it was retaliation for guerilla attacks from the Jayhawkers.

“It’s not the cute little bird we see on the bumper sticker,” says Trout. “The Jayhawker brigades will be known by people in Missouri as a bunch of ruffians and guerillas murderers and thugs. In Kansas they are praised.”

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