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Word Count: 389
Violence in Kansas spilled over into the Congress itself On May 22 1856 the day after the sack of Lawrence and two days before Browns Pottawatomie Massacre a sudden flash of savagery on the Senate floor electrified the whole country Just two days earlier Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts had finished an inflammatory speech in which he described the treatment of Kansas as the rape of a virgin territory and blamed it on the Souths depraved longing for a new slave State Sumner made Senator Andrew P Butler of South Carolina a special target of his censure He charged that Butler was a liar and implied that he kept a slave mistress Sumner also teased him about a speech impediment caused by a stroke Sumners rudeness caused outrage amongst many most notably Butlers nephew Preston S Brooks a fiery South Carolina Congressman Knowing that Sumner would refuse a challenge to a duel he finally confronted Sumner at his Senate desk on May 22 accused him of libel against South Carolina and Butler and began beating him about the head with a cane while stunned senators looked on Sumner struggled to rise wrenched the desk from the floor and collapsed A gloating Brooks reported Towards the last he bellowed like a calf and I wore my cane out completely but saved the head which is gold For two and a half years Sumners empty seat was a solemn reminder of the violence done to him Some thought the senator was feigning injury others that he really was physically disabled In fact although his injuries were bad enough including two gashes to the skull he seems to have suffered psychosomatic shock which left him incapable of functioning adequately Sumner was to become a Northern anti-slavery martyr According to Gienapp bleeding Sumner outrage Northerners more than bleeding Kansas Gienapp also claims the anger in the North was so great that Almost overnight the entire complexion
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