A Northern cartoonist's portrayal of when South Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks entered the Senate chamber in May 1856 and <a href="https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/The_Caning_of_Senator_Charles_Sumner.htm">savagely caned</a> Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner, who had earlier given a contentious speech on whether Kansas should be admitted to the union as a slave state or a free state.

A Northern cartoonist's portrayal of when South Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks entered the Senate chamber in May 1856 and savagely caned Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner, who had earlier given a contentious speech on whether Kansas should be admitted to the union as a slave state or a free state.

Got a question about Congress and can’t find the answer on Wikipedia? It’s likely the Senate historian can help. The Senate Historical Office serves as the institutional memory for Congress, the media and the general public. Today, a good part of the job is making Senate history available online — everything from transcripts of the McCarthy hearings to oral history interviews with senators and staffers. We speak with Senate Historian Donald Ritchie about the legislative body’s past and present.

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  • Donald Ritchie Historian of the United States Senate.

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