Charles Sumner was born on January 6, 1811 in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Sumner became a member of the Massachusetts bar in 1834 and a member of the United States Senate in 1851. He was considered a radical social reformer by many of his contemporaries. After insulting the South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler, Butler’s nephew Preston Butler beat Charles Sumner on the head with a cane in the Senate chamber. Other senators attempted to stop the violent assault but were stopped by a pistol wielding Lawrence Keitt. Due to Sumner’s injuries, he was absent from the Senate for the next three years but Massachusetts voters re-elected him during this time, supporting free speech and abolitionism. This event served to further divide the North and the South. Sumner returned to the Senate in 1859 and chaired the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Charles Sumner resented the policy of Reconstruction advocated by President Lincoln, advocating instead for harsh punishment of the South. Throughout his career he campaigned for the rights of African-Americans. He died in Washington, D.C. on March 11, 1874.