BROOKS, Preston Smith

1819–1857

Biography

BROOKS, Preston Smith, a Representative from South Carolina; born in Edgefield District, S.C., August 5, 1819; attended the common schools and was graduated from South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) at Columbia in 1839; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1845 and commenced practice in Edgefield, S.C.; member of the State house of representatives in 1844; served in the Mexican War as captain in the Palmetto Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers; elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-third and Thirty-fourth Congresses and served from March 4, 1853, until July 15, 1856, when he resigned even though the attempt to expel him for his assault upon Charles Sumner on May 22, 1856, had failed through lack of the necessary two-thirds vote; chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the Department of State (Thirty-fourth Congress); reelected to the Thirty-fourth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by his own resignation and served from August 1, 1856, until his death in Washington, D.C., January 27, 1857; had been reelected to the Thirty-fifth Congress; interment in Willow Brook Cemetery, Edgefield, S.C.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

James Madison University
Carrier Library

Harrisonburg, VA
Papers: In the John Thomas Harris Political Papers, 1856-1896, 2 folders of 1 box. The collection includes items relating to Preston Brooks's caning of Senator Charles Sumner. Also included is a letter of Henry Force describing the expulsion proceedings in the House of Representatives, as well as a copy of Preston Brooks's resignation speech. A finding aid is available in the repository.

University of North Carolina
Southern Historical Collection

Chapel Hill, NC
Papers: 1856, 2 items. Photocopies of letters, 23 May and 21 June 1856, from Preston S. Brooks to his brother, John Hampden Brooks, describing his caning of Sen. Charles Sumner and subsequent events and feelings. The original letters are in private collections.

University of South Carolina
South Caroliniana Library

Columbia, SC
Papers: In the Cantey Family Papers, 1771-1913, 320 items. Subjects include Preston S. Brooks.
Papers: In the Noble Family Papers, 1752-1967, 135 items and 7 volumes. Correspondents include Preston S. Brooks.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Benson, T. Lloyd, ed. The Caning of Senator Sumner (American Stories). Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing, 2003.

Bocock, Thomas Stanley. Assault on Mr. Sumner. [Washington: Printed at the office of the Congressional Globe, 1856].

Brooks, Preston Smith. National politics. Speech of Hon. P.S. Brooks of South Carolina, on resigning his seat in Congress. Delivered in the House of Representatives, July 14, 1856. [Washington: The Congressional Globe, 1856?]

------. Pacific railroad. Speech of Hon. P.S. Brooks, of S. Carolina in the House of Representatives, June 14, 1854. [Washington: Printed at the Congressional Globe Office, 1854].

------. Speech of Honorable Preston S. Brooks: Delivered at Columbia, South Carolina, Aug. 29, 1856. Boston: J.P. Jewett, 1856.

------. Speech of the Hon. P. S. Brooks, of South Carolina, in the House of Representatives, March 15, 1854, on Nebraska and Kansas. Washington: Printed at the Sentinel Office, 1854.

Campbell, James Edwin. Sunmer--Brooks-Burlingame. Columbus, Ohio: N.p., 1925.

Cobb, Howell. Speech of Hon. Howell Cobb, of Ga., on the resolutions reported by the Select Committee to investigate the alleged asault upon Senator Sumner by Mr. Brooks. In the House of Representatives, July 10, 1856. Washington: Printed at the Union Office, 1856.

Columbia, S.C. Citizens. Reception and speech. [Boston: J. P. Jewett and company, 1856].

Etheridge, Emerson. The assault by Mr. Brooks on Mr. Summer. [Washington: Printed at the office of the Congressional Globe, 1856].

Gienapp, W.E. "Crime Against Sumner: The Caning of Charles Sumner and the Rise of the Republican Party." Civil War History 25 (September 1979): 218-45.

Hall, Robert B. (Robert Bernard). Speech of Hon. Robert B. Hall, of Massachusetts, on the assault on Senator Sumner. Delivered in the House of Representatives, July 12, 1856. Washington: Printed at the Congressional Globe Office, 1856.

Hoffert, Sylvia D. "The Brooks-Sumner Affair: Prelude to Civil War." Civil War Times Illustrated 11 (October 1972): 35-40.

Mathis, Robert Neil. "Preston Smith Brooks: The Man and His Image." South Carolina Historical Magazine 79 (October 1978): 296-310.

Oliver, Andrew. Assault on Mr. Sumner. [Washington: Printed at the office of the Congressional Globe, 1856].

Taylor, Miles. Speech of Hon. Miles Taylor, of Louisiana, on the assualt of Mr. Brooks on Mr. Sumner. Washington: Printed at the Congressional Globe Office, 1856.

Tyson, Job Roberts. Speech of Hon. J. R. Tyson, of Pennsylvania, on the resolutions reported from the Committee on the alleged assault of Mr. Brooks on Senator Sumner. Washington: Printed at the Congressional Globe Office, 1856.

U.S. Congress. House Select Committee on Assault upon Senator Sumner. 34th Cong., 1856. Washington: n.p., 1856.

Winslow, Warren. Assault on Senator Sumner. [Washington: N.p., 1856].

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