Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1811-01-06
Death 1874-03-11
French, Italian, German, Spanish; Castilian, Latin, Russian, English

Biographical notes:

Massachusetts lawyer and U.S. Senator, 1851-1874. He was an ardent abolitionist who attacked the south in his "crime against Kansas" speech in 1856. Two days later he was assaulted in the Senate, receiving injuries that took him years to recover from.

From the description of Letters, 1858-1869. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 55768315

Born in Boston, Mass., the U.S. statesman Charles Sumner studied law at Harvard and practiced law in his native city before turning to politics. After an unsuccessful run for a U.S. Congressional seat in 1848, Sumner was elected to the Massachusetts Senate as a Democrat in 1850 and was selected to finish Daniel Webster's term in the U.S. Senate in 1851. He later became a Republican. A committed abolitionist, Sumner became known in the Senate for his fierce anti-slavery speeches, one of which provoked South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks, nephew of one of Sumner's political adversaries, pro-slavery South Carolina Congressman Andrew Butler, to physically attack him while he was seated at his desk in the Senate. During the U.S. Civil War Sumner served as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

From the description of Charles Sumner letter, 1861 Jan. 6. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 243768748

Massachusetts senator.

From the description of Copy of a resolution of the Georgia Legislature, ca. 1831. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 174144887

Charles Sumner was a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (1851-1974), an attorney and an author.

From the description of Letter, to Charles Stewart Daveis, 1844 June 9. (University of Delaware Library). WorldCat record id: 122594344

Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina believed that Sumner had insulted his cousin, Senator Butler. In retaliation, Brooks used his cane to beat Sumner, who was seated at his desk on the Senate floor, to unconsciousness. The caning of Sumner became a symbol in the North of Southern brutality.

From the description of The crime against Kansas : the apologies for the crime. The true remedy. Speech of Hon. Charles Sumner, in the Senate of the United States, 19th and 20th May, 1856 : manuscript, 1856. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612783352

U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, orator, author.

From the description of Correspondence, 1848-1861. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 86167750

Radical Republican politician and U. S. Senator from Massachusetts.

From the description of Letter to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [manuscript],1866 October 11. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647977521

Senator for Massachusetts and campaigner against slavery.

From the description of [The anti-slavery enterprise] : draft, ca. 1855. (New York University, Group Batchload). WorldCat record id: 58775292

Charles Sumner was the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts for 23 years. He was a prominent abolitionist who was deeply involved in the legislation preceding the Civil War, as well as the Reconstruction process.

From the description of Miscellaneous papers, 1833-1874. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 82302904

From the guide to the Miscellaneous papers, 1833-1874., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Sumner was a U. S. Senator from Massachusetts. On 2 December 1872, Charles Sumner introduced in the U.S. Senate a bill "to regulate the Army Register and the regimental colors of the United States." This provided that Civil War victories should not be among those commemorated in regimental honors. Rabid Northerners in the Massachusetts House of representatives passed a vote of unqualified censure against Sumner for his act. Willard P. Phillips, John Greenleaf Whittier and others fought to have this resolution rescinded and annulled, which was accomplished early in 1873.

From the guide to the Papers concerning the 1872 resolution of condemnation against Charles Sumner, 1862-1873., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Charles Sumner (1811-1874), an American statesmen and abolitionist. A graduate of Harvard Law School (class of 1833), he was admitted to the bar in 1834 and began practicing law in Boston, Mass. He also lectured at Harvard Law School in 1836-1837. In 1848, Sumner, one of the founders of the Free Soil Party, ran, unsuccessfully, for Congress. In 1851, he was elected to the United States Senate as a Free Soiler, and was reelected as a Republican in 1857, 1863, and 1869. On May 22, 1854, Sumner was assaulted by South Carolina congressman Preston Brooks and was absent from Congress until December 1859. Sumner served as the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Thirty-seventh through Forty-first Congresses. In 1871, left the post because of disagreeemnts with President Ulysses S. Grant over policy in Santo Domingo.

From the description of The Law of Human Progress: An Oration before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Union College, in New York. July 25th 1848.: autograph manuscript. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 747732424

Sumner was a United States senator and anti-slavery advocate.

From the description of Collection, 1863-1873. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania). WorldCat record id: 122544735

United States Senator from Massachusetts.

From the description of Charles Sumner papers, [not after 1874 March 11]. (Boston College). WorldCat record id: 50265954

American politician and statesman.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : [Boston], to an unidentified man, 1867 Sept. 19 or later. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 603588658

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Boston, to Gustavus S. Drane, 1837 Mar. 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 603587050

Charles Sumner was an U.S. statesman of the American Civil War period dedicated to human equality and to the abolition of slavery. George Washington Greene was an American author and educator.

From the description of Letters to George Washington Greene, 1839-1873. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 80601565

From the guide to the Letters to George Washington Greene, 1830-1873., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

American statesman.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Boston, to the Rev. John Pierpont, 1854 Aug. 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270574524

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Boston, to an unidentified correspondent, 1867 Aug. 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270574527

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Boston, to an unidentified correspondent, 1869 Aug. 27. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270574530

U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.

From the description of Letter, ca. 1869, [Washington, D.C.?], to Mrs. Hamilton Fish. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 231316613

From the description of Papers, 1835-1874. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 20188554

Born in Boston, Mass., U.S. statesman Charles Sumner studied law at Harvard and practiced law in his native city before turning to politics. After an unsuccessful run for a U.S. Congressional seat in 1848, Sumner was elected to the Massachusetts Senate as a Democrat in 1850 and was selected to finish Daniel Webster's term in the U.S. Senate in 1851. He later became a Republican. A committed abolitionist, Sumner became known in the Senate for his fierce anti-slavery speeches, one of which provoked South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks, nephew of one of Sumner's political adversaries, South Carolina Congressman Andrew Butler, to physically attack him while he was seated at his desk in the Senate. During the U.S. Civil War Sumner served as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

From the description of Charles Sumner letters, 1856, 1861. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 243769177

From the description of Charles Sumner letter, 1854 Mar. 22. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 243763729

Sumner was an American politician and abolitionist.

From the description of ALS: to Luther Bellews, 1869 Oct 6. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122384478

Charles Sumner, American senator and statesman. As the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was instrumental in maintaining peace between the Union and Great Britain during the Civil War. Sumner opposed Johnson's Reconstruction policies and lead the move to impeach the president.

From the description of Correspondence of Charles Sumner, 1835-1874. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122585055

Sumner was a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (1851-1874) and noted abolitionist. Francis William Bird was a radical reformer and antislavery activist in Massachusetts.

From the guide to the Letters to Francis William Bird, 1847-1907., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Charles Sumner (1811-1874) was a Republican senator from Massachusetts and a principal figure in the anti-slavery movement.

From the description of Charles Sumner autograph collection, 1482-1812. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612827288

From the guide to the Charles Sumner correspondence, 1829-1874., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

From the guide to the Charles Sumner compositions, 1827-1872., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

From the guide to the Charles Sumner scrapbooks of personal and political clippings, 1850-1874., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

U.S. senator from Massachusetts.

From the description of Papers of Charles Sumner, 1841-1874. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79272069

Charles Sumner, abolitionist, statesman and the principal antislavery spokesman in the Senate during the 1850's.

From the description of Documents : Charles Sumner. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 84125335

Sumner was a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. On 2 December 1872, Charles Sumner introduced in the U.S. Senate a bill "to regulate the Army Register and the regimental colors of the United States." This provided that Civil War victories should not be among those commemorated in regimental honors. Rabid Northerners in the Massachusetts House of representatives passed a vote of unqualified censure against Sumner for his act. Willard P. Phillips, John Greenleaf Whittier and others fought to have this resolution rescinded and annulled, which was accomplished early in 1873.

From the description of Papers concerning the 1872 resolution of condemnation against Charles Sumner, 1862-1873. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 80927693

Sumner was a Republican senator from Massachusetts and a principal figure in the anti-slavery movement.

From the description of Charles Sumner compositions, 1827-1872. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612817572

U.S. Senator born in Boston.

From the description of ALS : 1864 June 27. (Boston Public Library). WorldCat record id: 37585602

Sumner was a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (1851-74) and noted abolitionist who graduated form Harvard in 1833. Francis William Bird was a radical reformer and antislavery activist in Massachusetts.

From the description of Letters to Francis William Bird, 1847-1907. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 78201713

Charles Sumner (1811-1874) was a politician from Massachussets. He was famously beaten with a cane by South Carolina Senator Preston Brooks in 1856, after Sumner made a speech criticizing the Southern system of slavery which Brooks considered insulting. Edward M. Davis (1811-1887) was a Philadelphia Quaker active in the anti-slavery movement, and the son-in-law of Lucretia Mott. Reynolds's Political Map of the United States (New York: Wm. C. Reynolds, 1856) presents graphic and statistical comparisons of slave-states and free-states, featuring data garnered from the 1850 census.

From the description of Letter from Charles Sumner to E. M. Davis, 1856 November 2. (Swarthmore College). WorldCat record id: 554912408

Charles Babbage was a mathematician and inventor.

From the guide to the Charles Babbage selected correspondence, 1827-1871, 1827-1871, (American Philosophical Society)

Charles Sumner (1811-1874), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, 1851-1874, leading abolitionist, civil rights activist, and orator, played a large part in the formation of the Republican Party, served with distinction as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and became a leading opponent of Abraham Lincoln's Reconstruction policies.

From the description of Papers, 1834-1874. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 207173899

U.S. statesman, Massachusetts senator 1852-1874.

From the description of Letter : Nahant, Mass., to Mr. Purvis, [not after 1868]. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 33320656

U.S. senator from Massachusetts, a leading abolitionist.

From the description of ALS : Boston, Mass., to John William Wallace, 1845 Jan. 14. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122617077

From the description of AMsS : Cresson, Alleghany Mts., Pa., [18]50 Aug. 7. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122525119

Charles Sumner (1811-1874) was an American politician, lawyer, and orator from Massachusetts. A learned statesmen, he specialized in foreign affairs and worked closely with Abraham Lincoln; with Thaddeus Stevens, he led the antislavery faction in Massachusetts and in the United States Senate. He was an early proponent of civil rights for blacks, believing that anything which inhibited a man's right to grow to his full potential was inherently evil. As early as 1849 he represented the plaintiffs in one of the first lawsuits to challenge segregation, Roberts v. Boston, and during Reconstruction he continued his efforts to gain voting and civil rights for the newly-freed blacks in the South.

His uncompromising and outspoken opposition to slavery earned him both supporters and detractors, and in 1856 it nearly cost him his life. In May of that year Sumner delivered a rousing condemnation of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its authors, Stephen Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler of South Carolina. Offended by Sumner's remarks, Butler's nephew Preston Brooks, also a congressman from South Carolina, attacked Sumner in his Senate chambers and beat him nearly to death. Butler became a hero to many in the South while Sumner was equally championed in the North.

Sumner was eventually able to return to the Senate where in March 1861 he was named chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, a position he used in part to block any actions which might bring Britain or France into the growing conflict between North and South. One of his achievements as chairman was the diplomatic recognition of Haiti. After the war, Sumner became a leader of the Radical Republicans and during Reconstruction he was a fierce advocate of harsh penalties for the former Confederacy, viewing them as conquered territories. His reputation in Britain, formerly excellent, suffered when he proposed that Britain turn over Canada to the Unites States as payment for actions which, Sumner claimed, had prolonged the Civil War, and in 1871 he was removed from the chairman position. He died in Washington in 1874.

Sumner began his Senatorial career with the words, "The slave of principles, I call no party master," and his political life bore out that promise. He changed parties several times during his career, preferring to act as his ethics and principles demanded rather than bind himself to a party platform.

From the guide to the Charles Sumner Letters, 1848-1861, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)



Biographical notes are generated from the bibliographic and archival source records supplied by data contributors.

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