CHARLES SUMNER Biography - Polititians


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Name: Charles Sumner                                                                 
Born: 6 January 1811 Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.                                     
Died: 11 March 1874 Washington D.C., U.S.                                           
Charles Sumner (January 6, 1811 – March 11, 1874) was an American politician and   
statesman from Massachusetts. An academic lawyer and a powerful orator, Sumner       
was the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts and a leader of the       
Radical Republicans in the United States Senate during the American Civil War       
and Reconstruction along with Thaddeus Stevens, who filled that role in the         
United States House of Representatives. He jumped from party to party, gaining       
fame as a Republican. One of the most learned statesmen of the era, he               
specialized in foreign affairs, working closely with Abraham Lincoln. He devoted     
his enormous energies to the destruction of what he considered the Slave Power,     
that is the conspiracy of slave owners to seize control of the federal               
government and block the progress of liberty. His severe beating in 1856 by         
South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks's cane on the floor of the United       
States Senate (Sumner-Brooks affair) helped escalate the tensions that led to       
war. After years of therapy Sumner returned to the Senate to help lead the Civil     
War. Sumner was a leading proponent of abolishing slavery to weaken the             
Confederacy. Although he kept on good terms with Abraham Lincoln, he was a           
leader of the hard-line Radical Republicans.                                         
As a Radical Republican leader in the Senate during Reconstruction, 1865-1871,       
Sumner fought hard to provide equal civil and voting rights for the freedmen,       
and to block ex-Confederates from power. Sumner, teaming with House leader           
Thaddeus Stevens defeated Andrew Johnson, and imposed their hard-line views on       
the South. In 1871, however, he broke with President Ulysses Grant; Grant's         
Senate supporters then took away Sumner's power base, his committee chairmanship.   
Sumner supported the Liberal Republicans candidate Horace Greeley in 1872 and       
lost his power inside the Republican party.