Charles Sumner and His Views

Topics: American Civil War, Slavery in the United States, Abraham Lincoln Pages: 2 (600 words) Published: February 14, 2008
There were many active American individuals during the period 1830 and 1860. One significant individual was Charles Sumner, from Boston, Massachusetts. He had different opinions on several issues of the day. Sumner was best known as the guy who was caned in the senate in 1885.

Charles Sumner was born in January 6th, 1811 and died on March 11th, 1874. He was a United States senator from Massachusetts in 1851 to 1874. Sumner played a prominent role in the United States Civil War era. He was a keen abolitionist who refused compromise on the issue of equal rights for blacks. In 1855, Sumner expressed his feelings in his speech, "The Crime Against Kansas." In this speech, he denounced his opponents, including South Carolina's Senator Andrew P. Butler. Two days later Preston Brooks, Butler's nephew and a congressman from South Carolina, went into the senate chamber and beat Sumner unconscious with a cane. Brooks was a hero to his voters and was re-elected; Sumner, who took three years to recover from the beating, was a martyr to his voters and was re-elected. Sumner was a very influential member of the Radical Republicans. His insistence on immediate equal rights for blacks and punishments against slave owners caused him to clash with presidents Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson and Ulysses Grant. Sumner was a prominent advocate of ending slavery. Having many enemies because of his views and after recovering from the cane beating, the Massachusetts General Court re-elected him in November 1856. They thought that his unoccupied chair in the Senate chamber served as a powerful symbol of free speech and resistance to slavery. He made quite a few speeches about slavery, including one he delivered in the months leading up to the 1860 presidential election, called "The Barbarism of Slavery." His father hated slavery and told Sumner that freeing the slaves would "do us no good" except if they were treated equally by society. With this in mind, Sumner thought that moral law...
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