Charles Sumner

Champion of Equality.  Hipster Abolitionist.  Most Awesome Person of the Civil War.

Evidence 1: Senator Charles Sumner (Republican), of Massachusetts, was a vocal abolitionist. He wanted equal rights for blacks and whites and was willing to go to great lengths to make that happen.

Warrant 1.1: During Bleeding Kansas, Sumner took to the floor of the Senate and made a four day long speech decrying slavery. His speech compared slavery to rape and suggested the congressman who introduced the bill wanted to keep slavery so he could rape black women. For this he was attacked by another congressman with a cane and beaten nearly to death.

Warrant 1.2: When it became clear that both national parties were supporting the plan that new states would decide for themselves if they would be slave or free states based on popular sovereignty, he helped form the Free Soil Party.  This party's platform was simply the abolition of slavery.  

Warrant 1.3: Before joining the Senate, Sumner was a lawyer who, one-hundred years before Brown v. Board, argued to the Massachusetts Supreme Court that segregated schools were inherently unequal.

Evidence 2: Sumner always acted in harmony with what he thought were good values.

Warrant 2.1: After Sumner was beaten for his 'Crime Against Kansas' speech, he could not return to the senate for 3 years. When he finally returned, his friends suggested he be less extreme in his expressed views. His response:

"When crime and criminals are thrust before us they are to be met by all the energies that God has given us by argument, scorn, sarcasm and denunciation."

Warrant 2.2: After the south seceded, Sumner became the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate.  He used this position to try and sway President Lincoln to free the slaves because he new Great Britain would not recognize the Confederacy as a legitimate country if the United States declared an end to slavery.  Although Lincoln only came to support emancipation as a last resort, he described Sumner as

"my idea of a bishop"

and consulted with him as an embodiment of the conscience of America.

Warrant 2.3: Although Sumner was a vocal advocate for the abolition of slavery and a leader of the Radical Republicans, he did not support the punishment of the south during Reconstruction.  In fact, he strongly opposed any hanging or imprisonment of Confederate leaders, thought no painting depicting the Civil War should hang in the Capitol, and that Civil War battle names should not appear on the battle honors of regimental flags.

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