Charles Sumner, Frederick H. Meserve Collection of Americana, c. 1861

Abolitionist Senator

Two days after the Battle of Bull Run, Republican senator and abolitionist Charles Sumner of Massachusetts urged Lincoln to free the slaves. Sumner believed emancipation was both a political and military necessity but Lincoln claimed he could not get ahead of public opinion, particularly in the loyal slave states of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri.