Karre Schaefer, M.A.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in history (May 2011)
Bachelor of Arts in biblical languages from Manhattan Christian College
Master of Arts in political science from Kansas State University
McNair Project: For the Good of Mankind and the Glory of God: A Study of the Connecticut Kansas Colony and Its Involvement in the Kansas Territory (2010)
Mentor: Laurie Johnson, Ph.D.
This research examines the Connecticut Kansas Colony and its relationship to Henry Ward Beecher, its purpose for its 1856 migration to Kansas, and its decision to use violence to prevent Kansas from entering the Union as a slave state. Known as the Beecher Bible & Rifle Church, the Colony has gained the reputation of being directly connected to Beecher and having a willingness to use any violence as necessary to end slavery, contrary to the non-violent principles adhered to by Christianity in general. However, little scholarly research has actually been done regarding the Colony.
By examining the original record books of the Colony and the Church, which have not been previously reviewed in any serious way by scholars, certain preliminary determinations were made, including: (1) The purpose in emigrating to Kansas was to establish the Institutions of New England -- the Puritan model of John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill”; (2) The Colony accepted rifles from Beecher and the Plymouth Congregational Church, but intentionally minimized its links to Beecher; (3) The Colony did not act irrationally or haphazardly in decisions of warfare; and (4) The Colony saw the taking up of arms as self-defense, which included defense of America and God’s Word.