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Delivering the Best in Catholic News and Information

Blessing Biden

Charles Sumner was caned on the Senate floor in 1856. Sumner, an abolitionist senator from Massachusetts, had delivered a speech against slavery and its proponents two days prior. He was attacked by South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks, whose relative had been in the line of Sumner’s verbal fire. When I first learned of this incident in a junior high school history class in the 1980s, my teacher mentioned that Brooks’s office was soon flooded with canes from his supporters. As I recall, he delivered that coda with something of a chuckle, as if to say, “Can you believe it! Glad we aren’t like that anymore.”

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