This engraving of leading pro-slavery Representative William Yancey, based on an early photograph, depicts him as a successful plantation owner and solemn statesman. In truth, few of those words applied to him. Alabaman Yancey was a financial failure, losing both his and his wife’s inheritances even as he gained celebrity as a “fire-eater,” a nickname for the most heated pro-slavery politicians. Neither was he a temperate man. He left school after racking up 16 fines for drunkenness, swearing, and other infractions. Yancey killed a relative in a Georgia street brawl, but thanks to a family friend was released from prison. While in Congress in 1844, Yancey and North Carolinian Thomas Clingman took their verbal attacks to the dueling ground, solidifying the former’s intemperate reputation.