Lawrence Massillon Keitt (American National Biography)

William L. Barney, "Keitt, Laurence Massillon," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
Keitt was present in the Senate chamber when Brooks caned Sumner in May 1856. Keitt approved of Brooks's actions as the necessary duty of a southern gentleman of honor, and he himself brandished a cane to warn off bystanders from coming to Sumner's assistance. Censured by the House of Representatives for his part in the affair, Keitt resigned from Congress on 16 July 1856. Shortly reelected to his seat in a special election, he returned to Congress convinced that his honor had been vindicated. In a more serious breach of self-control in February 1858, Keitt attacked Galusha Grow, a Republican representative from Pennsylvania, when Grow crossed over to the Democratic side of the House in the midst of a bitter debate over the admission of Kansas. Keitt did apologize to the House for his actions, but he refused to do so to Grow…

With the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860, Keitt immediately called on his fellow South Carolinians to "shatter this accursed Union." He left Washington on 10 December 1860 and returned home, where he served as a delegate to the South Carolina secession convention. He was also a member of the provisional Confederate Congress that met in Montgomery, Alabama. Suspecting that Jefferson Davis was a reluctant secessionist who favored a reunion with the North, Keitt unsuccessfully backed Howell Cobb of Georgia for the presidency of the confederacy.
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