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“crime against Kansas” speech

Subject History

Place Northern America » United States of America

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781577180999.1997.x


On 19 May 1856, in a speech condemning the proslavery party in Kans., Senator Charles S umner made insulting remarks about Senator Andrew Pickens (S.C.), including sexual innuendos and mocking references to a stroke-related speech impairment. On 22 May, after Sumner had failed to apologize for his behavior and the Senate had taken no action to censure him, Congressman Preston Brooks, Pickens's nephew, assaulted him on the Senate floor with a cane and caused severe brain damage, which kept Sumner's seat vacant until December 1859. Brooks resigned from the House, but was returned by his constituents. The episode further polarized southerners, who applauded Brooks, from northerners, who condemned southerners as fanatics capable of any violence. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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