Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area

Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area includes the sites of extraordinary events that forever changed America. 

In the nineteenth century, the nation’s focus was on the Missouri-Kansas border, where peoples with different definitions of freedom collided, inciting and fueling a Civil War. The impact of these events is forever woven into the nation’s fabric.

The heritage area focuses on three main themes: Shaping the Frontier, Kansas/Missouri Border War and the Enduring Struggle for Freedom.

  • Shaping the Frontier:
    • For the half-million pioneers who traveled on the Santa Fe, California, Mormon, and Oregon Trails, the Missouri/Kansas border was the jumping-off point. In this place where river travel ended, traders, miners, and emigrants purchased provisions and prepared for long overland treks. As they traveled west, many began to see the "permanent" Indian frontier beyond Missouri’s western border as an obstacle to Manifest Destiny.
  • Missouri/Kansas Border War:
    • When Kansas was opened for settlement in 1854, a border war ensured, capturing the nation’s attention. The Kansas-Nebraska Act nullified the uneasy balance established by the Missouri Compromise and left the territory’s future slave status in the hands of settlers. The stakes were high for both sides. The violence of the Missouri/Kansas Border War ushered in the Civil War, consumed the region in bloody conflict through the war's end, and devastated communities on both sides of the border.
  • Enduring Struggles for Freedom:
    • The nation’s struggle for freedom did not end with the Civil War. Though the war eliminated clashes over geography, efforts to break down society’s barriers continue. Since the Civil War, this place has inspired national policies and ongoing efforts to secure equal freedoms for all Americans.

Kansas Counties included in the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area

 – Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clay, Coffey, Crawford, Douglas, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, Osage, Pottawatomie, Riley, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson, Woodson, Wyandotte. 

For the half-million pioneers who traveled on the Santa Fe, California, Mormon, and Oregon Trails, the Missouri/Kansas border was the jumping-off point. In this place where river travel ended, traders, miners, and emigrants purchased provisions and prepared for long overland treks. As they traveled west, many began to see the "permanent" Indian frontier beyond Missouri's western border as an obstacle to Manifest Destiny.

Many towns in both Missouri and Kansas thrived because of westward migration and the opening of new territories to settlement. Explore the links below to learn more about the settlement within Freedom's Frontier.

Explore the FFNHA

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