For more than a decade Readex has brought acclaimed historians to speak about their scholarly work to the sharp and curious membership of the American Library Association. At the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., last month, Joanne B. Freeman, Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, presented “Savage Sessions: The Lost History of Congressional Violence in Antebellum America.”
Freeman shared evidence of more than 70 incidents in the United States House of Representatives and Senate of mortal threats, canings, fist fights and even a duel. In a post-event survey, participants offered their reactions:
Dr. Freeman was a fantastic speaker. She was engaging, she was insightful.
Best presentation yet! Wonderful speaker, timely topic.
Great! Informative & entertaining.
Presentation brought history to life!
The best presentation at this year’s ALA. Dr. Freeman’s depth of knowledge was stunning.
In her fascinating talk, Freeman described the events leading up to the Brooks-Sumner Affair, which occurred on May 22, 1856. While it may be the most well-known act of Congressional violence, it was far from the only incident. See the full presentation.
So, why hasn’t the story of congressional violence been more fully told before?