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Republican Party Forms

The Republican Party is formed out of the Free Soil Party.

Pro-slavery Groups Attack Lawrence Kansas

Pro-slavery groups in Kansas attack the free soil town of Lawrence. Radical abolitionist John Brown and his followers strike in retaliation, initiating a wave of violence and destruction, known as Bleeding Kansas.

Republican Party Holds First Convention

The Republican Party, newly formed from various groups opposing the extension of slavery, holds its first convention in Philadelphia.

Wilberforce University Founded

Wilberforce University, named for English statesman and abolitionist William Wilberforce, opens in Ohio as a private, coeducational institution affiliated with The African Methodist Episcopal Church. This is the first institution of higher education owned and operated by African Americans.

Massachusetts Senator Badly Beaten by South Carolina House Rep for Attacking Slavery in Speech

Senator Charles Sumner delivers a stinging speech in the U.S. Senate, “The Crime against Kansas,” in which he attacks slavery, the South, and singles out his Senate colleague, Andrew Butler of South Carolina, for criticism. In retaliation, Butler’s nephew, Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina, attacks Sumner with a cane while the Massachusetts senator is seated at his desk on the floor of the Senate. The injuries he sustains cause Sumner to be absent from the Senate for four years.

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