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May 22, 1856
Two days after delivering his “Crime against Kansas” speech, abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner was physically attacked by Representative Preston Brooks on the floor of US Senate. Sumner had denounced a number of southern senators in his speech. It took Sumner three years to recover from the beating and return to his Senate seat. Brooks became a hero in the South; merchants in Charleston, South Carolina, bought Brooks a new cane, inscribed, “Hit him again.” In the North, Sumner became a martyr to the cause of freedom, and a million copies of Sumner’s “Crime against Kansas” speech were printed.