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The Great Abolitionist by Stephen Puleo

The Great Abolitionist

Charles Sumner and the Fight for a More Perfect Union

by Stephen Puleo
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  • First Published:
  • Apr 23, 2024
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About This Book



Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, an anti-slavery crusader in the 1850s, was determined to abolish the practice of human bondage for profit.

A decade before Confederate troops fired upon Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, initiating the Civil War, Charles Sumner entered the United States Senate. A political career had never been an ambition for the Massachusetts lawyer; Sumner was simply consumed with the eradication of slavery. In his biography The Great Abolitionist: Charles Sumner and the Fight for a More Perfect Union, historian Stephen Puleo explains the adoration Sumner had for the Constitution. The word "slavery" never appeared once in the document.

However, Sumner's view was the minority opinion. Popular Massachusetts senator Daniel Webster, who eventually became Secretary of State, leaving his seat up for grabs — Sumner won it by two votes — didn't agree with Sumner about slavery. Webster once said the North was wrong and the South was right.

Webster supported the Compromise of 1850 and Sumner ...

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