U.S. Senator Charles Sumner served from 1851-74, representing the Commonwealth of Massachussetts. Sumner was an abolitionist, Yale-educated, and was one of the most hated men in the United States Senate in the days before the American Civil War, due to the fact that he had an ego the size of Texas. Served first as a member of the Free Soil party, then as a Republican when the Free-Soilers faded away.

Sumner's place in history was secured by the beating he received from Rep. Preston Brooks (D-SC), on 22 May 1856, after Sumner's two-day tirade against pro-slavery Kansans turned into a personal attack on Sen. Andrew Butler (D-SC), Brooks's uncle. (More details about the beating can be found at the Preston Brooks node.) Sumner's seat in the Senate was left vacant by Massachussetts until Sumner was medically capable of returning to service, as a memorial to the debasing effects of slavery.

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