The History of the Butterfly, Part 109: Rattan is a Verb

The assault on J. B. Grinnell by Lovell Rousseau and his cane happened in June 1866, and may have been sparked by conversations that happened then.  However, I would be willing to bet that the event was planned far in advance of the actual incident.  The personal attacks that happened in February could not go unanswered. 

J. B. Grinnell was clearly on the right side of history.  Rousseau’s arguments against federal enforcement of civil rights laws showed what a long fight it would turn out to be.

After the assault, a committee was set up in the house to investigate the matter.  A majority of the committee wanted to reprimand both parties, but the house voted to reprimand only Rousseau.

Rousseau resigned from the house.  He composed an address to his constituents, explaining his actions.  In his description of the events, he says “And so I RATTANNED GRINNELL.”

His constituents must have liked his explanation, because he was re-elected in the same year to fill the seat that he had vacated by resignation. 

Grinnell lost his re-election bid by thirteen votes.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in Iowa History, politics, The History of the Butterfly and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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