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America in the 1850s

The Emergence of John Brown

What happened to Preston Brooks?

The better question might be: What happened for Preston Brooks? Over the next few months, he received hundreds of canes in the mail, many from distinguished Southerners. The implication was clear: hit the Yankees where it hurts.

No charges were ever brought against Brooks, who died of natural causes a year later (had he lived longer, charges might have been brought). Charles Sumner spent the next three years as a convalescent. His fellow Republicans intentionally left his Senate chair empty during all that time, a testament to how far sectional division had come. When he finally returned to the Senate, in 1859, Sumner was, not surprisingly, among the toughest of congressional leaders where the South was concerned.



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