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Chase, Salmon Portland (13 January 1808–07 May 1873), statesman, antislavery leader, and chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was born in Cornish, New Hampshire, the son of Ithamar Chase, a glassmaker and tavernkeeper, and Janette Ralston. When Chase was nine years old, his father died. To ease the financial burden on his mother, Chase, the eighth of eleven children, moved to Ohio and lived with his uncle ...

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Clay, Cassius Marcellus (19 October 1810–22 July 1903), antislavery politician and diplomat, was born in White Hall, Kentucky, the son of Green Clay, a land speculator, and Sally Lewis. Green Clay was one of the wealthiest landowners and slaveholders in Kentucky, and young Cassius was raised in comfort and affluence. He attended Transylvania University (1829–1831) and Yale College (1831–1832), where he received his bachelor’s degree. After returning to Transylvania to study law in 1832–1833, Clay married Mary Jane Warfield in 1833. The marriage produced ten children....

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Sumner, Charles (06 January 1811–11 March 1874), politician and reformer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Pinckney Sumner, a lawyer and sheriff, and Relief Jacob. Raised in a middle-class family committed to humanitarian reform, at age fifteen Sumner entered Harvard, where he excelled in literature and history. Following graduation in 1830, he enrolled in the Harvard Law School, revealing his love of learning and study more than a desire to become a practicing attorney. In fact, he regarded a lawyer “as one of the veriest wretches in the world.”...