Charles Sumner

Charles Sumner
Charles Sumner
  • Born: January 6, 1811
  • Died: March 11, 1874
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Politician









Charles Sumner was an American politician and United States Senator from Massachusetts. As an academic lawyer and a powerful orator, Sumner was the leader of the anti-slavery forces in Massachusetts and a leader of the Radical Republicans in the U.S. Senate during the American Civil War. He worked hard to destroy the Confederacy, free all the slaves, and keep on good terms with Europe. During Reconstruction, he fought to minimize the power of the ex-Confederates and guarantee equal rights to the freedmen. He fell into a dispute with fellow Republican President Ulysses Grant on the question of taking control of Santo Domingo. Grant's allies stripped Sumner of his power in the Senate in 1871, and he joined the Liberal Republican movement in an effort to defeat Grant's reelection in 1872.

Quotes About
Author Quote
New York Tribune …the knocking down and beating to bloody blindness and unconsciousness of an American Senator while writing at his desk in the Senate Chamber is a novel illustration of the ferocious Southern spirit.
Edgar Cowan You have no understanding of what it is to live in a community surcharged with an idle, dissolute, vicious, ignorant negro population just emerged from slavery.
John White Chadwick Of the six men who have done most to make America the wonder and the joy she is to all of us, not one could be the citizen of a government so constituted; for Washington and Franklin and Jefferson, certainly the three mightiest leaders in our early history, were heretics in their day, Deists, as men called them; and Garrison and Lincoln and Sumner, certainly the three mightiest in these later times, would all be disfranchised by the proposed amendment. Lincoln could not have taken the oath of office had such a clause been in the Constitution.
Stephen Douglas That damn fool will get himself killed by some other damn fool.
Ward Laymanm Neither of them could defend himself against assaults from an able bodied woman in the city.
Edgefield, South Carolina, Advertiser Our Representative, Mr. Brooks, was among Mr. Senator Sumner's audience, on the second day; and it was on this day that Sumner, emptied one of his vials of vile vituperation on the head of Senator Butler, who was then absent at home. As soon as the speech was done and the Senate had adjourned, Mr. Brooks advanced to Sumner and demanded some explanation or retraction of his abuse of Judge Butler; and upon Sumner's refusal to accede to the proposition, our member fell to work upon him with a cane he happened to have in hand at the moment. The beating is said by all the reporters to have been a thorough one. Some say he received fifty stripes; yet we very much doubt if the Captain cared to exceed the legal number of thirty-nine, usually applied to scamps. But the beauty and propriety of the proceeding consists, to no small extent, in the fact that it was accomplished while yet the galleries had not emptied themselves, and while many of Sumner's constituents were probably there to look upon the deed. For our own part, we feel that our Representative did exactly right; and we are sure his people will commend him highly for it.
Ulysses S. Grant Charles Sumner didn’t believe in the Bible because he didn’t write it.
Quote Topics Cited
Every Constitution embodies the principles of its framers. It is a transcript of their minds. If its meaning in any place is open to doubt, or if words are used which seem to have no fixed signification, we cannot err if we turn to the framers; and their authority increases in proportion to the evidence which they left on the question Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
Every Constitution embodies the principles of its framers. It is a transcript of their minds. If its meaning in any place is open to doubt, or if words are used which seem to have no fixed signification, we cannot err if we turn to the framers; and their authority increases in proportion to the evidence which they left on the question. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
From the beginning of our history the country has been afflicted with compromise. It is by compromise that human rights have been abandoned. History ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
If the power exists in the present case it cannot be restricted to this alone. The Committee may distribute all the children into classes, according to mere discretion. They may establish a separate school for Irish or Germans… They may separate Catholics from Protestants … separate different sects of Protestants … establish a separate school for the rich, that the delicate taste of this favored class may not be offended by the humble garments of the poor … All this, and much more, can be done in the exercise of that high-handed power which makes a discrimination on account of race or color Discrimination & Prejudice
It is not enough to show me that a measure is expedient: you must show me also that it is right. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
It is with humiliation that I am forced to insist upon the same equality in other public institutions of learning and science, also in churches and in the last resting-places of the dead. So far as any of these are public in character and organized by law, they must follow the general requirement. How strange that any institution of learning or science, any church or any cemetery should set up a discrimination so utterly inconsistent with correct principle Equality & Equal Opportunity
Let the Negro have the shield of impartial laws. Let him be heard in court Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
More than one person was appointed provisional governor who could not take the oath of office required by act of Congress. Other persons in the same predicament were appointed in the revenue service. The effect of these appointments was disastrous. They were in the nature of notice to rebels everywhere, that participation in the rebellion was no bar to office. If one of their number could be appointed governor, if another could be appointed to a confidential position in the Treasury Department, then there was nobody on the long list of blood who might not look for preferment. And thus all offices from governor to constable were handed over to a disloyal scramble. Rebels crawled forth from their retreats. Men who had hardly ventured to expect their lives were now candidates for office, and the rebellion became strong again. The change was felt in all the gradations of government, whether in States, counties, towns, or villages. Rebels found themselves in places of trust, while the true-hearted Unionists, who had watched for the coming of our flag and ought to have enjoyed its protecting power, were driven into hiding-places. All this was under the auspices of Andrew Johnson Loyalty & Loyalty Oaths
My worst preconception of their appearance and their ignorance did not fall as low as their actual stupidity . . . They appear to be nothing more than moving masses of flesh unendowed with anything of intelligence above the brutes Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Separate schools for African Americans in effect branded a whole race with the stigma of inferiority and degradation Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Slavery is a conspiracy of the lords of the loom and the lords of the lash. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The Freedmen's Bureau, that sacred charity of the Republic, was despoiled of its possessions for the sake of rebels, to whom their forfeited estates were given back after they had been vested by law in the United States. The proceeds of captured and abandoned property, lodged under the law in the national treasury, were ravished from their place of deposit and sacrificed. Rebels were allowed to fill the ante-chambers of the Executive Mansion and to enter into his counsels. The pardoning power was prostituted, and pardons were issued in lots to suit rebels. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
The Great Guarantee; and the only sufficient Guarantee Voters, Voting & Elections
The nation needs"a president with brains; one who can make a plan and carry it out. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
The powers of the Senate over appointments were trifled with and disregarded by reappointing persons who had been already rejected …. The veto power conferred by the Constitution as a remedy for ill-considered legislation, was turned by him into a weapon of offence against Congress
The truest tokens of this grandeur in a State are the diffusion of the greatest happiness among the greatest number, and that passionless God-like Justice, which controls the relations of the State to other States, and to all the people, who are committed to its charge Miscellaneous ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
The wise fathers did not treat the country as a Chinese foot, never to grow after infancy; but, anticipating Progress, they declared expressly that their great Act is not final. According to the Constitution itself, there is not one of its existing provisions — not even that with regard to fugitives from labor — which may not at all times be reached by amendment, and thus be drawn into debate. This is rational and just. Sir, nothing from man's hands, nor law, nor constitution, can be final. Truth alone is final. Development & Growth ;Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
There are many disgusting elements in Slavery which are not present in Polygamy, while the single disgusting element of Polygamy is more than present in Slavery. By the license of Polygamy, one man may have many wives, all bound to him by the marriage tie, and in other respects protected by law. Discrimination & Prejudice ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
This is one of the last great battles with slavery. Driven from these legislative chambers, driven from the field of war, this monstrous power has found a refuge in the Executive Mansion, where, in utter disregard of the Constitution and laws, it seeks to exercise its ancient far reaching sway. . . . Andrew Johnson is the impersonation of the tyrannical slave power. In him it lives again. Discrimination & Prejudice ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I have never known a man who was sensual in his youth, who was high-minded when old.
No true and permanent fame can be founded except in labors which promote the happiness of mankind. Happiness & Unhappiness
The age of chivalry has gone; the age of humanity has come.
The true grandeur of humanity is in moral elevation, sustained, enlightened and decorated by the intellect of man.