Secession and Civil War

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How did Charles Sumner's views on Bleeding Kansas cause conflict?

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Charles Sumner's views on Bleeding Kansas created conflict because they inspired Sumner to make a speech on the Senate floor in which he bitterly criticized some Southern senators.  A member of the House of Representatives, who was also relative of one of the senators that Sumner criticized, came on to the Senate floor and beat Sumner badly with a cane.  He did so even though he was a young man and Sumner was much older.

The beating of Sumner did a great deal to inflame passions in the both the North and the South.  Southerners felt that the many who beat Sumner (his name was Preston Brooks) was a hero.  They did things like sending him canes to replace the one he broke while beating Sumner.  Northerners felt that this was evidence of what brutal people Southerners were.  These responses to Sumner’s beating created more tension between the North and the South.  The beating happened in 1856, raising tensions and helping to lead to the war that began five years later.

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