In 1856, a time more politically polarized than even today, anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts received a beating that may helped lead to the Civil War, according to one Bay State author.
Stephen Puleo, author of “The Caning: The Assault that Drove America to Civil War,” will speak at the Canton Public Library at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11, and discuss that event.
Ardent pro-slavery Representative Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina was the perpetrator of the attack, splintering his cane across Sumner’s head, face, and shoulders until he lay unconscious and covered in blood.
Only 48 hours earlier, the Massachusetts Senator had finished a two-day speech during which he vilified Southern slaveowners and charged Brooks’s cousin, South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler, as having “a mistress… who ugly to others, is always lovely to him…. I mean, the harlot, Slavery.”
Follow that May 22 attack were the meteoric rise of the Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln, the Dred Scott decision, the increasing militancy of abolitionists and the secession of the Southern states who founded the Confederacy.
Puleo’s presentation will be sponsored by the Canton Historical Society, the Stoughton Historical Society and The Friends of the Canton Public Library. A book signing will follow.
For more information about Puleo, visit www.stephenpuleo.com.