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Charles Sumner

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Charles Sumner
Daguerreotype of Senator Sumner, 1855
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
April 24, 1851 – March 11, 1874
Preceded by Robert Rantoul, Jr.
Succeeded by William B. Washburn
Personal details
Born January 6, 1811(1811-01-06)
Boston, Massachusetts, Massachusetts
Died March 11, 1874(1874-03-11) (aged 63)
Washington, D.C.
Resting place Mount Auburn Cemetery
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Political party Republican (earlier Whig, Free Soil, Democrat)
Spouse(s) Alice Hooper Sumner (m. 1866–1871) «start: (1866)–end+1: (1872)»"Marriage: Alice Hooper Sumner to Charles Sumner" Location: (linkback: (divorced)
Profession Politician
Religion Episcopal

Charles Sumner (January 6, 1811 – March 11, 1874) was an American politician, and lawyer. He was senator from Massachusetts from April 24, 1851 until his death.


Sumner was the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts. He was a leader of the Radical Republicans in the United States Senate during the American Civil War. He worked to destroy the Confederacy, free all the slaves and keep on good terms with Europe. During Reconstruction, he fought to minimize the power of the ex-Confederates and guarantee equal rights to the Freedmen.

Brook's attack

The attack of Charles Sumner, 1856

Sumner made a speech to put an end to slavery and attack the Kansas-Nebraska act. Sumner attacked many senators about the war and slavery including Senator Stephen A. Douglas and South Carolina's Andrew Butler. This made the Representative from South Carolina, Preston Brooks (Andrew Butler's nephew), angry because he attacked his uncle. Brooks grabbed his cane and knocked Sumner onto the Senate floor.[1] Sumner had to stop his political career until he recovered two years later.

Personal life

Sumner was born on January 6, 1811 in Boston, Massachusetts.[2] He studied at Boston Latin School and at Harvard College. Sumner was married to Alice Hopper from 1866 until they divorced in 1873. They had no children. Sumner died on March 11, 1874 in Washington, D.C. from an heart attack, aged 63.


  1. William James Hoffer, The Caning of Charles Sumner: Honor, Idealism, and the Origins of the Civil War (2010) p. 62
  2. Long, William R. (August 8, 2005). "Charles Sumner (1811-74) - Three Essays on A Massachusetts Abolitionist". Retrieved 23 December 2011.

Other websites

Media related to Charles Sumner at Wikimedia Commons