|Harriet Beecher Stowe|
wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
This quartet, by word or deed, hit regular folks in the gut, reduced complex issues to understandable terms, and helped galvanize opposing factions beyond reason and debate.
From my book-in-progress, Dear Father I Am Sorry To Tell You (Copyright B.J. Welborn. All rights reserved.):
|S.C. Congressman Preston|
Brooks let his cane do the talking.
In a letter dated August 24, 1855, Lincoln wrote to a Southern acquaintance: “The slave-breeders and slave-traders, are a small, odious and detested class among you; and yet in politics, they dictate the course of all of you, and are as completely your masters as you are the master of your own negroes."
Slavery tormented Lincoln’s nation; the North's fiery abolitionist movement and the South’s violent counter tactics swept the country toward war. Key events inflamed regional rage.
|Dred Scott sued to win his|
freedom in a non-slave state.
In 1856, South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks viciously beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner to unconsciousness with Sumner’s own walking cane on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Brooks held that Sumner, leader of anti-slavery forces in Massachusetts, was beneath a gentlemanly challenge to a duel. Three days earlier, Sumner had made a fiery anti-slavery speech that offended pro-slavery southerners and Brooks’ family personally.
The badly injured Sumner, a Puritan descendant who favored equal civil rights for black Americans, couldn’t return to the Senate for three years. A battle between icons of two polar-opposite states ended a history of words-only fighting at the Capitol. The North lionized Sumner; the South worshiped Brooks.
|John Brown raided the federal|
arsenal at Harper's Ferry.
A book, a beating, a trial and a terrorist thumped the drums of war. Eventually, everyone heard.
Wrote Whitman: So strong you thump. O terrible drums – so loud you bugles blow.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK. See PREVIEWS page.