The 1856 Caning of Charles Sumner in the United States Senate

It has been considered symbolic of the “breakdown of reasoned discourse” and the use of violence that eventually led to the Civil War. Introduction The Caning of Charles Sumner, or the Brooks–Sumner Affair, occurred on May 22, 1856, in the United States Senate chamber, when Representative Preston Brooks, a pro-slavery Democrat from South Carolina, used[…]

Charles Sumner: The Fight for Equal Naturalization Rights in 1870

Sumner added fire to an already explosive debate with his amendment to do away with the “whites only” clause of the naturalization law. On July 4, 1870 – 150 years ago this week – Republican Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts urged the U.S. Senate to take a radical step: to strike out the word “white”[…]