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The Caning of Charles Sumner
The same landless men they denied to vote suddenly were worthy of citizenship. Three years, before the passage of the Kansas Nebraska Act Congress passed the Manhood Suffrage Act. This act gave landless white men their right to vote. Poor landless white men were offered land grants in exchange for voting to accept Kansas into the Union as a slave state. Many of these Missourian thugs accepted the offer. Led by militia men, they strapped on their gear, left their homes with their guns went to Kansas and stole countless votes.

The abolitionists protested. They felt the election had been stolen and they accused the Missourian ruffians of election fraud. The Kansas abolitionists set up their own government in Lawrence, Kansas. Congress, which was pro- slavery, refused to recognize the abolitionist government. Consequently, the militia and the abolitionists were left to iron out their own problems. The Missouri militia raided the town of Lawrence, which is near the African Cherokee town of Humboldt.

In Washington, an abolitionist congressman, Charles Sumner, enraged over the incident known as “Bloody Kansas,” the burning and murders in the city of Lawrence, blamed South Carolina’s Senator Butler and pro-slavery Senators for the death of his abolitionist friends. Two days later, Senator Butler’s cousin, Representative Preston Brooks, marched into Congress and attacked Senator Sumner from behind with a cane.

To Learn more about Senator Charles Sumner listen to our Podcast with Museum Curator Beverly Welch Morgan and Sumner Grand Army of The Republic
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