Practiced law at an early age, but eventually was interested in politics. He was a leader of the Radical Republicans and also a leader of the antislavery forces. He believed African Americans needed to be literate before being allowed suffrage, which is strange because he is the leader of the antislavery forces group. Known for the incident in the courtroom, where he was ruthlessly beat with a cane after giving a radical antislavery speech. In it, he insulted another man's uncle, which led the dishonored to beat him savagely in the courtroom. Was very radical and believed harshly in equality, similar beliefs to Stevens.