Sumner, Charles, 1811-74, U.S. senator from Massachusetts (1851-74), b. Boston. He attended (1831-33) and was later a lecturer at Harvard law school, was admitted (1834) to the bar, and practiced in Boston. He spent the years 1837 to 1840 in Europe. Later he became involved in several reform movements, including antislavery, and in 1851 a combination of Free-Soilers and Democrats sent him to the Senate. An aggressive abolitionist, Sumner attacked the fugitive slave laws, denounced the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and on May 19-20, 1856, delivered his notable antislavery speech called "The Crime against Kansas." A master of invective, he singled out as his special victim Senator Andrew Pickens Butler of South Carolina, who was not there to reply. Two days later he was assaulted in the Senate chamber by Preston S. Brooks, Butler's nephew. It took Sumner more than three years to recover from the attack, but Massachusetts reelected him, and he resumed his seat in Dec., 1859. He had been important in organizing the new Republican party and in 1861 was made chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee. In the Trent Affair he favored the release of the captured Confederate commissioners. Sumner highly approved Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation; indeed he had been impatient at the long delay. Sumner in the Senate and Thaddeus Stevens in the House led the radical Republicans in their Reconstruction program for the South. He held that the Southern states had "committed suicide" by their secession and thus had lost any rights under the Constitution. Reconstruction he considered the function of Congress alone and he was most active in trying to secure the conviction of President Andrew Johnson on the impeachment charges. During the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, Sumner's excessive demands regarding Civil War claims against Great Britain hampered the administration's negotiations with that country. His relationship with Grant deteriorated further when Sumner denounced Grant's questionable scheme to annex Santo Domingo; this led to his removal (Mar., 1871) from the chairmanship of the committee on foreign relations. Humiliated, Sumner helped organize (1872) the short-lived Liberal Republican party. Sumner wrote and spoke widely, and there are two editions of his works (15 vol., 1870-83; 20 vol., 1900).

See E. L. Pierce, Memoir and Letters of Charles Sumner (4 vol., 1877-93); D. H. Donald, Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War (1960, repr. 1970) and Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man (1970).

Sumner, Edwin Vose, 1797-1863, American soldier, Union general in the Civil War, b. Boston. He fought in the Black Hawk War and in the Mexican War. Made colonel of the 1st Cavalry in 1855, he was commander of Fort Leavenworth during the disturbances (1856) in Kansas between proslavery and antislavery groups. In 1857 he campaigned against the Cheyenne in Kansas, and from 1858 to 1861 was commander of the Dept. of the West. At the beginning of the Civil War he was promoted to brigadier general in the regular army. Sumner ably led the 2d Corps of George B. McClellan's army in the Peninsular campaign, particularly at Fair Oaks, and later in the Antietam campaign. In the battle of Fredericksburg his "grand division" bore the brunt of the futile assault on Marye's Heights. Made commander of the Dept. of the Missouri early in 1863, Sumner died on his way there.
Sumner, James Batcheller, 1887-1955, American biochemist, b. Canton, Mass., Ph.D. Harvard Medical School, 1914. He was a professor at Cornell from 1914 until his death in 1955. In 1946 Sumner was a corecipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with John Northrop and Wendell Stanley; Sumner was awarded the prize for his discovery that enzymes can be crystallized. His research on the enzyme urease, which is found in jack beans, laid the foundation for subsequent work by others that elucidated the crystal structures of a large number of biological macromolecules.
Sumner, William Graham, 1840-1910, American sociologist and political economist, b. Paterson, N.J., grad. Yale, 1863, and studied in Germany, in Switzerland, and at Oxford. He was ordained an Episcopal minister and from 1872 was professor of political and social science at Yale. In economics he advocated a policy of extreme laissez-faire, strongly opposing any government measures that he thought interfered with the natural economics of trade. As a sociologist he did valuable work in charting the evolution of human customs—folkways and mores. He concluded that the power of these forces, developed in the course of human evolution, rendered useless any attempts at social reform. He also originated the concept of ethnocentrism, a term now commonly used, to designate attitudes of superiority about one's own group in comparison with others. His major work was Folkways (1907). The massive Science of Society by Sumner and Albert G. Keller, a colleague, was not completed and published until 1927 (4 vol.; Vol. IV by Sumner, Keller, and M. R. Davie).

See H. E. Starr, William Graham Sumner (1925); A. G. Keller, Reminiscences (Mainly Personal) of William Graham Sumner (1933); W. G. Green, Sumner Today (1940, repr. 1971); R. G. McCloskey, American Conservatism in the Age of Enterprise (1951, repr. 1964); M. R. Davie, William Graham Sumner (1963).

Welles, Sumner, 1892-1961, American diplomat, b. New York City. Welles began his diplomatic career as secretary of the U.S. embassy at Tokyo (1915-17). Attached to the embassy at Buenos Aires (1917-19), he then served as assistant chief (1920-21) and chief (1921-22) of the division of Latin American affairs of the Dept. of State. As commissioner to the Dominican Republic in 1922, he helped prepare for the evacuation of American troops from that country; later he was sent to offer mediation in the Honduras revolution of 1924. He wrote a book on the Dominican Republic, Naboth's Vineyard (1928), and was an influential member of the Dawes financial mission to the Dominican Republic (1929).

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him assistant secretary of state in 1933 and in the same year sent him as ambassador to Cuba. There he was unable to bring about successful mediation between the opposing groups in the revolution against Gerardo Machado in 1933, and in the midst of political turmoil he was recalled and resumed his duties as assistant secretary of state. He later (1937-42) was undersecretary of state and served as U.S. delegate to several Pan-American conferences. In 1940 he went on a confidential fact-finding mission to Europe, and he took part in the meeting at sea between Roosevelt and Winston Churchill that produced the Atlantic Charter (1941). He resigned from public service in 1943. Some of his speeches were collected in The World of the Four Freedoms (1943); his other writings include The Time of Decision (1944), The Intelligent American's Guide to Peace (1945), Where Are We Heading? (1946), and Seven Decisions That Shaped History (1950).

See biography by his son B. Welles (1997).

Sumner is a town in Worth County, Georgia, United States. The population was 309 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Albany, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Sumner is located at (31.510979, -83.738315).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 309 people, 110 households, and 87 families residing in the town. The population density was 288.4 people per square mile (111.5/km²). There were 125 housing units at an average density of 116.7/sq mi (45.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 83.82% White, 14.89% African American, 0.97% Native American, and 0.32% from two or more races.

There were 110 households out of which 32.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.7% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.9% were non-families. 18.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the town the population was spread out with 24.6% under the age of 18, 12.3% from 18 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $30,781, and the median income for a family was $33,750. Males had a median income of $23,000 versus $16,875 for females. The per capita income for the town was $13,532. About 13.4% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.3% of those under the age of eighteen and 22.9% of those sixty five or over.


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