A History Lesson on Civil Discourse, 1856 vs. 2019, Socialist Democrats Take Heed


Canning of Sen. Charles Sumner (R-MA)
Canning of Sen. Charles Sumner (R-MA) by Rep. Preston Brooks (D-SC)

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Have you ever heard of Sen. Charles Sumner (R-MA)? How about Rep. Preston Brooks (D-SC)? Probably not, and I wouldn’t hold it against you. Both men served in Congress back in 1856 before the outbreak of civil war, and in some ways, both men came to symbolize one of the many factors that brought America to that hellish place: The breakdown of public discourse in politics. Does any of this sound familiar?

Sen. Charles Sumner (R-MA)
Sen. Charles Sumner (R-MA)

Sen. Charles Sumner was an anti-slavery Republican from Massachusetts who, on May 19th, 1856 gave a fiery speech on the floor of the Senate chamber that he titled “Crime Against Kansas.” At that time, the nation was debating the entry of Kansas to the Union as a slave state or a free state. Sen. Sumner, being anti-slavery, used very colorful language, even by today’s standards, and called out two other members of the Senate, Sen. Stephen Douglas (D-IL) and Sen. Andrew Butler (D-SC) whom he deemed to be mostly responsible for the crime of slavery debated in Kansas.

During his speech, Sumner looked Douglas directly in his face and called him a “noise-some, squat, and nameless animal . . . not a proper model for an American senator.” Andrew Butler, who was not present during the heated speech took it on the chin from Sumner who pulled no punches when describing him as someone who had taken “a mistress . . . who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight—I mean,” added Sumner, “the harlot, Slavery.” Bold words indeed during what was a very contentious debate. While Butler was not present in the chamber that day, word got back to his Democrat colleague and second cousin, South Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks who did not take kindly to what he had heard. Surely to Brooks, those were fighting words.

Three days later on May 22, 1856, Rep. Brooks would walk into the U.S. Senate chamber holding a “metal-topped” cane. Approaching Sen. Sumner who was seated and folding his written versions of his “Crime Against Kansas” speech for delivery to members of Congress, Brooks violently swung the cane down upon the top of Sumners’ head.

According to the official version in the U.S. Senate archives, ”Moving quickly, Brooks slammed his metal-topped cane onto the unsuspecting Sumner’s head. As Brooks struck again and again, Sumner rose and lurched blindly about the chamber, futilely attempting to protect himself. After a very long minute, it ended.”

It ended all right, with a sitting U.S. Republican Senator violently beaten on the floor of the “old chamber,” bleeding and beaten within an inch of his life. Brooks, according to reports, calmly exited and was not taken into custody. On the other hand, Sumner received much needed medical attention. He survived after a lengthy recuperation period of three years and would go on to finish an additional 18 years as a Senator from MA. Brooks, while never detained was given a slap on the wrist, never being held legally accountable for his actions. In fact, he resigned in July 1856 so a special election could take place and he was immediately re-elected by his Democrat constituents to fill the slot that opened due to his resignation. He died days before his new term was to begin.

So why do I tell you of this fascinating piece of American history?

To remind you, as we watch the hate-filled rage of today’s modern Democrat (Socialist) from leftist actors, professors, fake journalists and elected Democrats such as Waters, Pelosi, Schumer, Cortez, and too many others to count, of their hate-filled legacy. You see, back in 1856, according to the U.S. Senate page, “Overnight, both men became heroes in their respective regions.” You read that correctly. Democrats across America during the antebellum years, praised the violent actions of a fellow Democrat against a Republican, an act that almost killed him and was likely intended to do so. The town of Brooksville in Florida, previously the county seat of Hernando, took its name that year in honor of the violence of Brooks’ actions. Again, you read that correctly.

So here we are today facing a newly emboldened Democrat party of Socialists with a well-known but little-discussed history of violence. A tale that not only supported slavery and bigotry but would go on to give the nation some of the most racist laws of all in the form of post-civil war gun control and Jim Crow laws. We would be ever wise to remember when we see Kathy Griffin holding a severed head of a sitting president or Democrat officials calling for mob actions against their Republican colleagues that they do have a history of such violent action against their political rivals. It is no coincidence that the Democrats hide their past, the media assists them, and the calls for civilian disarmament continue, just as they did pre and post civil war.

How bad can it get? I’ll leave you with the final sentence from the Senate site regarding the caning of Sen. Charles Sumner;

“The nation, suffering from the breakdown of reasoned discourse that this event symbolized, tumbled onward toward the catastrophe of civil war.”

You be the judge.

Mark Walters
Mark Walters

About Mark Walters

Mark Walters is the host of two nationally syndicated radio broadcasts, Armed American Radio and Armed American Radio’s Daily Defense with Mark Walters. He is the Second Amendment Foundations 2015 Gun Rights Defender of the Year award recipient and co-author of two books, Lessons from Armed America with Kathy Jackson (Whitefeather Press) and Lessons from UnArmed America with Rob Pincus (Whitefeather Press)

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Peter Burlingame

My great, great, grandfather was Anson Burlingame, also a congressman from Massachusetts. He denounced Brooks in a famous speech on the floor of Congress, calling him “the vilest kind of coward” The next day, Brooks sent two men, acting as seconds, to Burlingame, challenging him to a duel. Rather than back down, Anson banged his fist on his desk, stood, and stated; “Rifles!”. It was agreed that the duel would be held at the Naval yard on the Canadian side of Niagra, dueling being illegal in the U.S. at that time. On the way, Burlingame and entourage stopped at Coney… Read more »

No Filter

Mark, thanks for the history refresher. Actually l was never taught it to this depth but it’s a stark reminder that the face of violence never changes..the struggle for power and control remains. If your reading this, then l’ve yet to kick my Ammoland addiction:)

Jimmy James


If it comes to a Civil War, the winner will be the side backed by the majority of our Military and Law Enforcement. Make no mistake, despite the rhetoric, most of these guys will follow their paychecks. Thus the end of a Civiil War will likely be determined by who holds office at a given time. Today it would be the right and Donald Trump. Five years ago,it would have been the left, and Obama. All of this would be short of a full rebellion of all the people against a tyrannical government.


How will the sides identify one another in order to have a civil war?
And if we have one will the U.N. send in the Chinese army to end it?


I do believe that “The nation, suffering from the breakdown of reasoned discourse…. tumbled onward toward the catastrophe of civil war.” will be the end result. Again.

Its only a matter of time… very little ‘time”. For sure

Big Jim

Charles Sumner kinda looks like Charlie Sheen. Winning

Dr. Jeffry Smith

Thank you, Mark, for researching and presenting this prophetic peace of history. We have all heard the words of philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (often misquoted). In my friend Dinesh D’Souza’s film, “The Death of A Nation” he likens Donald Trump to Lincoln, in that they both presided at a time of the breakdown of civility, over a deeply divided America. I am afraid that if a John Brown rises in present day America as a catalyst, there is enough anger on both sides to fuel another full blown civil war.… Read more »

Alfred S Morency

The second photo is of Sen. Charles Sumner (R-MA)


Sometimes, there are occasions, when an individual is in dire need of a good ass whuppin’. But in this country, today, it is either illegal or politically incorrect to do so, much less even mention it. Corporal punishment appropriate applied (spanking) can be effective upon the right individual. [ Now, I’m waiting for the outraged responses.]

Wild Bill

, Yep, that is what happens when some individual thinks that they can say anything they want, without regard for the common courtesy demanded by society. And a good ass whopping is the appropriate teaching method.

Roy D.

“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”
Robert A. Heinlein

Heed the Call-up

JPM, no outrage here, but you must have read a different story. The one above your post is about a person being beaten almost to death – taking three *years* to recover from his injuries. I’m not sure of your point about spanking, since it isn’t relevant to the story, unless you are implying beating someone to death is similar to being spanked.


Hey GOOD ARTICLE!!Im passing it on to others…


Good article. I believe I read that one in the ‘Barnes Review’ a while back.


Canning huh ????interesting ,No felony charges ?don’t tell the leftists .it will be Their new method of operation/Until they get their free hot lead facials

Robert Shown

What is the answer? Does anyone know. This country is so divided it may never come back to what it is meant to be. It’s like the period just before the civil war. All I can say is may God have mercy on all of us!

Roy D.

Most people have no idea how much bitter hatred and money were tied up in trying to get slavery in the new territories and conversely keeping them free. The saying “Kansas, bloody Kansas” came about righteously.

Bev W.

Love it, Mark!!! Well done


Excellent article! The atmosphere today, in this nation, shows what can happen when history is no longer taught or learned.
The Civil War had many causes and slavery was just one of those causes.
Today, the Democrat Party exists only in name as it has become a repository for Marxism and a hatred as virial as that prior to the Civil War.
The Left will use any means to win the argument and violence in only one of those means.


Where do you think the Marxists got their ideas?

Will Flatt

Leftists always resort to violence when they can’t win arguments or silence their opponents through censorship.

Carol B Combs

Then they be fools.


With abject apologies to Melville… “Aye, thar be fools!”