Learning About Charles Sumner, Thinking About 19th Century America

SumnerI went to a talk tonight about Charles Sumner, who we all know from the caning incident (which is unfortunately how we tend to know him). He was a passionate abolitionist, was unafraid to speak out against the slave-owners who sat next to him in the Senate, and apparently was a good friend of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The two of them were friends for over thirty years, and exchanged critiques, Sumner to Longfellow about his poetry, Longfellow to Sumner about his speeches. Sumner himself might have had literary/writing aspirations as well, which explains the close friendship. Continue reading