South Carolina: Legendary Incivility

Joe Wilson wasn’t the first South Carolinan politician to grievously break House decorum — first, there was Preston Brooks, who famously beat Charles Sumner, abolitionist and father of the Reconstruction Amendments, for speaking against slavery. Not a man to leave a job half-done, Brooks went so far as to break his cane over Sumner’s head, for which the South Carolina legislature saluted him, and presented him with a new cane, bearing the inscription “Hit him again.”

I’ll let 19th-century cartoonists tell the rest:


A little rough on us Southerners — genteel by nature, our lot — but better than either Wilson or Brooks deserve.

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