Sumner, Charles

Sumner, Charles

biographical name


Charles Sumner—Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

(born Jan. 6, 1811, Boston, Mass., U.S.—died March 11, 1874, Washington, D.C.) U.S. politician. He practiced law while crusading for the abolition of slavery, prison reform, world peace, and educational reform. He was elected to the U.S. Senate (1852–74) and spoke out against slavery. He denounced the Kansas-Nebraska Act as the “crime against Kansas” and scorned its authors, Sen. Stephen A. Douglas and Sen. Andrew P. Butler. In 1856 an incensed relative of Butler, Congressman Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina, invaded the Senate and severely beat Sumner with a cane. He returned to the Senate in 1859, and as chairman of the foreign relations committee (1861–71) he helped resolve the Trent Affair.

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