Where does the phrase “sound (or all right) on the goose” come from and What does it mean?

Back in 1854 Congress, admitting Kansas and Nebraska as territories, weakly made the slave question a matter of local option.

But abolitionists among the new settlers were at first in the minority. “How are you on the goose?” became a customary question put to any newcomer in a community, especially in Kansas.

It was never clear just how the term “goose” became involved in the question of slavery, but if the answer was “All sound (or all right) on the goose,” the newcomer was recognized to be in favor of slavery and was usually welcomed to the community.

But if the answer was “I’m a free stater,” one who wanted Kansas to become a free state, he was likely to be looked upon with disfavor or threatened or told to move on.

Though Kansas eventually entered the Union as a free state, this particular “goose” brought about not only the John Brown rebellion, but also the birth of the Republican Party, replacing the Whig Party, and ultimately led to the disastrous War between the States.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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