Brooks, Preston Smith | South Carolina Public Radio


"B" is for Brooks, Preston Smith (1819-1857). Congressman. Brooks attended Moses Waddel’s academy and the South Carolina College. In 1844, Edgefield District elected him to the General Assembly. During the Mexican War, he served as a captain in the Palmetto Regiment. In 1852 Brooks, as a States’ Rights Democrat, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1856, during a debate, U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts denigrated South Carolina’s role in American history and insulted Senator Andrew P. Butler of South Carolina. In defense of South Carolina’s honor, Brooks entered the Senate chamber and beat Sumner senseless with a cane. A special House committee recommended Brooks’ expulsion, but the measure failed. Denying the committee’s authority, Preston Smith Brooks resigned his seat and subsequently was unanimously re-elected by the voters of his district.

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