As a divided nation faces a close election and recalls the 150th anniversary of polarization’s worst-case scenario — the Civil War — a new book focuses on an act of violence in 1856 that turned moderates into hard-liners and made war almost inevitable. “The Caning” of Massachusetts Senator William Sumner, Weymouth author Stephen Puleo said, had “enormous impact” on the subsequent events that led to the war between the states.
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