Thaddeus Stevens

Thaddeus Stevens

Overview
Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, was a Republican leader
History of the United States Republican Party
The United States Republican Party is the second oldest currently existing political party in the United States after its great rival, the Democratic Party. It emerged in 1854 to combat the Kansas Nebraska Act which threatened to extend slavery into the territories, and to promote more vigorous...

 and one of the most powerful members of the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

. As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee
United States House Committee on Ways and Means
The Committee of Ways and Means is the chief tax-writing committee of the United States House of Representatives. Members of the Ways and Means Committee are not allowed to serve on any other House Committees unless they apply for a waiver from their party's congressional leadership...

, Stevens, a witty, sarcastic speaker and flamboyant party leader, dominated the House from 1861 until his death and wrote much of the financial legislation that paid for the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Stevens and Senator Charles Sumner
Charles Sumner
Charles Sumner was an American politician and senator from Massachusetts. An academic lawyer and a powerful orator, Sumner was the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts and a leader of the Radical Republicans in the United States Senate during the American Civil War and Reconstruction,...

 were the prime leaders of the Radical Republicans during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 and Reconstruction.
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Quotations

I wished that I were the owner of every southern slave, that I might cast off the shackles from their limbs, and witness the rapture which would excite them in the first dance of their freedom.

Statement at the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention (July 1837), quoted in Thaddeus Stevens, Scourge of the South (1959) by Frawn M. Brodie, p. 63

I can never acknowledge the right of slavery. I will bow down to no deity however worshipped by professing Christians — however dignified by the name of the Goddess of Liberty, whose footstool is the crushed necks of the groaning millions, and who rejoices in the resoundings of the tyrant’s lash, and the cries of his tortured victims.

Letter (4 May 1838), quoted in Shapers of the Great Debate on the Civil War : A Biographical Dictionary (2005) by Dan Monroe and Bruce Tap, p. 255

I will be satisfied if my epitaph shall be written thus: "Here lies one who never rose to any eminence, who only courted the low ambition to have it said that he striven to ameliorate the condition of the poor, the lowly, the downtrodden of every race and language and color."

Speech (13 January 1865), as quoted in History of the Antislavery Measures of the Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth Congress (1865) by Henry Wilson, p. 388

I repose in this quiet and secluded spot not from any natural preference for solitude, but finding other cemeteries limited as to race by charter rules, I chosen this that I might illustrate in my death the principles which I advocated through a long life: EQUALITY OF MAN BEFORE HIS CREATOR.

Epitaph on his grave in Lancaster, Pensylvania
Encyclopedia
Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, was a Republican leader
History of the United States Republican Party
The United States Republican Party is the second oldest currently existing political party in the United States after its great rival, the Democratic Party. It emerged in 1854 to combat the Kansas Nebraska Act which threatened to extend slavery into the territories, and to promote more vigorous...

 and one of the most powerful members of the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

. As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee
United States House Committee on Ways and Means
The Committee of Ways and Means is the chief tax-writing committee of the United States House of Representatives. Members of the Ways and Means Committee are not allowed to serve on any other House Committees unless they apply for a waiver from their party's congressional leadership...

, Stevens, a witty, sarcastic speaker and flamboyant party leader, dominated the House from 1861 until his death and wrote much of the financial legislation that paid for the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Stevens and Senator Charles Sumner
Charles Sumner
Charles Sumner was an American politician and senator from Massachusetts. An academic lawyer and a powerful orator, Sumner was the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts and a leader of the Radical Republicans in the United States Senate during the American Civil War and Reconstruction,...

 were the prime leaders of the Radical Republicans during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 and Reconstruction. A biographer characterizes him as, "The Great Commoner, savior of free public education in Pennsylvania, national Republican leader in the struggles against slavery in the United States and intrepid mainstay of the attempt to secure racial justice for the freedmen during Reconstruction, the only member of the House of Representatives ever to have been known, as the 'dictator' of Congress."

Historians' views of Stevens have swung sharply since his death as interpretations of Reconstruction have changed. The Dunning School
Dunning School
The Dunning School refers to a group of historians who shared a historiographical school of thought regarding the Reconstruction period of American history .-About:...

, which viewed the period as a disaster because it violated American traditions of republicanism and fair government, depicted Stevens as a villain for his advocacy of harsh measures in the South, and this characterization held sway for much of the early 20th Century.

Early life



Stevens was born in Danville, Vermont
Danville, Vermont
Danville is a town in Caledonia County, Vermont, United States. It was named for the 18th-century French cartographer Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville...

 on April 4, 1792. His parents had arrived there from Methuen, Massachusetts
Methuen, Massachusetts
Methuen is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 43,789 at the 2000 census.-History:Methuen was first settled in 1642 and was officially incorporated in 1726; it is named for the British diplomat Sir Paul Methuen. Methuen was originally part of Haverhill,...

 around 1786. He suffered from many hardships during his childhood, including a club foot
Club foot
A club foot, or congenital talipes equinovarus , is a congenital deformity involving one foot or both. The affected foot appears rotated internally at the ankle. TEV is classified into 2 groups: Postural TEV or Structural TEV....

. The fate of his father Joshua Stevens, an alcoholic, profligate shoemaker who was unable to hold a steady job, is uncertain. He may have died at home, abandoned the family, or been killed in the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

; in any case, he left his wife, Sally (Morrill) Stevens, and four small sons in dire poverty. Having completed his course of study at Peacham Academy, Stevens entered Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. The institution comprises a liberal arts college, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business, as well as 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences...

 as a sophomore in 1811, and graduated in 1814; before doing so, he spent one term and part of another at the University of Vermont
University of Vermont
The University of Vermont comprises seven undergraduate schools, an honors college, a graduate college, and a college of medicine. The Honors College does not offer its own degrees; students in the Honors College concurrently enroll in one of the university's seven undergraduate colleges or...

. He then moved to York, Pennsylvania
York, Pennsylvania
York, known as the White Rose City , is a city located in York County, Pennsylvania, United States which is in the South Central region of the state. The population within the city limits was 43,718 at the 2010 census, which was a 7.0% increase from the 2000 count of 40,862...

, where he taught school and studied law. After admission to the bar, he established a successful law practice, first in Gettysburg
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg is a borough that is the county seat, part of the Gettysburg Battlefield, and the eponym for the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. The town hosts visitors to the Gettysburg National Military Park and has 3 institutions of higher learning: Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg College, and...

 in 1816, then in Lancaster
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster is a city in the south-central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is the county seat of Lancaster County and one of the older inland cities in the United States, . With a population of 59,322, it ranks eighth in population among Pennsylvania's cities...

 in 1842. He later took on several young lawyers, among them Edward McPherson
Edward McPherson
Edward McPherson was a prominent Pennsylvania newspaperman, attorney, and United States Congressman. As a director of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, he effected efforts to protect portions of the Gettysburg Battlefield.-Early life and career:McPherson was born in Gettysburg,...

, who later became his protégé and ardent supporter in Congress.

Stevens never married but two of his adult nephews came to live with him. He shared his home and parental responsibilities with his mixed-race housekeeper of twenty years, Lydia Hamilton Smith.

Political life


At first, Stevens belonged to the Federalist Party
Federalist Party (United States)
The Federalist Party was the first American political party, from the early 1790s to 1816, the era of the First Party System, with remnants lasting into the 1820s. The Federalists controlled the federal government until 1801...

, but switched to the Anti-Masonic Party
Anti-Masonic Party
The Anti-Masonic Party was the first "third party" in the United States. It strongly opposed Freemasonry and was founded as a single-issue party aspiring to become a major party....

, then to the Whig Party
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

, and finally to the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

. In 1833, he was elected on the Anti-Masonic ticket to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral Pennsylvania General Assembly, the legislature of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. There are 203 members, elected for two year terms from single member districts....

, where he served intermittently until 1842. He introduced legislation to curb secret societies, to provide more funds to Pennsylvania's colleges, and to put a constitutional limit on state debt. He refused to sign the new state constitution of 1838 because it did not give the right to vote to black citizens. He also came to the defense of a new state law, passed on April 1, 1834, providing free public schools. Newly elected members of the Pennsylvania State Senate
Pennsylvania State Senate
The Pennsylvania State Senate has been meeting since 1791. It is the upper house of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the Pennsylvania state legislature. The State Senate meets in the State Capitol building in Harrisburg. Senators are elected for four year terms, staggered every two years such...

 tried to repeal the public education act, while the lower house tried to preserve it. Although Stevens had been reelected with instructions to favor repeal, in a great speech, he defended free public education and persuaded the Pennsylvania Assembly to vote 2-1 in favor of keeping the new law.

Stevens devoted most of his enormous energies to the destruction of what he considered the Slave Power
Slave power
The Slave Power was a term used in the Northern United States to characterize the political power of the slaveholding class of the South....

, that is the conspiracy he saw of slave owners to seize control of the federal government and block the progress of liberty. In 1848
United States House election, 1848
Elections to the United States House of Representatives were held in 1848.The Democrats gained three seats, regaining the majority they had lost to the Whigs just two years earlier in the election of 1846....

, while still a Whig party member, Stevens was elected to serve in the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

. He served in congress from 1849 to 1853, and then from 1859 until his death in 1868.

He defended and supported Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, Seventh-day Adventists, Mormon
Mormon
The term Mormon most commonly denotes an adherent, practitioner, follower, or constituent of Mormonism, which is the largest branch of the Latter Day Saint movement in restorationist Christianity...

s, Jews, Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

, and women. However, the defense of runaway or fugitive slaves gradually began to consume the greatest amount of his time, until the abolition of slavery
History of slavery in the United States
Slavery in the United States was a form of slave labor which existed as a legal institution in North America for more than a century before the founding of the United States in 1776, and continued mostly in the South until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in...

 became his primary political and personal focus. He was actively involved in the Underground Railroad
Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was an informal network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century black slaves in the United States to escape to free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. The term is also applied to the abolitionists,...

, assisting runaway slaves in getting to Canada. A possible Underground Railroad site (which consists of a water cistern that shows evidence of being modified for human habitation) has been discovered under his office in Lancaster, PA. This office, along with Lydia Smith's home, is located next to the new conference center in the center of Lancaster; they may soon become a museum open to the public.

During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 Stevens was one of the three or four most powerful men in Congress, using his slashing oratorical powers, his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee, and above all his single-minded devotion to victory. His power grew during Reconstruction as he dominated the House and helped to draft both the Fourteenth Amendment
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

 and the Reconstruction Act
Reconstruction Act
After the end of the Civil War, as part of the on-going process of Reconstruction, the United States Congress passed four statutes known as Reconstruction Acts...

 in 1867.

Radical Republicanism


In July, 1861 the Congress passed the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution
Crittenden-Johnson Resolution
The Crittenden-Johnson Resolution was passed by the United States Congress on July 25, 1861 after the start of the American Civil War, which began on April 12, 1861....

 stating the limited war aim of restoring the Union while preserving slavery; Stevens helped repeal it in December. In August, 1861, he supported the first law attacking slavery, the Confiscation Act that said owners would forfeit any slaves they allowed to help the Confederate war effort. By December he was the first Congressional leader pushing for emancipation as a tool to weaken the rebellion. He called for total war on January 22, 1862:

"Let us not be deceived. Those who talk about peace in sixty days are shallow statesmen. The war will not end until the government shall more fully recognize the magnitude of the crisis; until they have discovered that this is an internecine war in which one party or the other must be reduced to hopeless feebleness and the power of further effort shall be utterly annihilated. It is a sad but true alternative. The South can never be reduced to that condition so long as the war is prosecuted on its present principles. The North with all its millions of people and its countless wealth can never conquer the South until a new mode of warfare is adopted. So long as these states are left the means of cultivating their fields through forced labor, you may expend the blood of thousands and billions of money year by year, without being any nearer the end, unless you reach it by your own submission and the ruin of the nation. Slavery gives the South a great advantage in time of war. They need not, and do not, withdraw a single hand from the cultivation of the soil. Every able-bodied white man can be spared for the army. The black man, without lifting a weapon, is the mainstay of the war. How, then, can the war be carried on so as to save the Union and constitutional liberty? Prejudices may be shocked, weak minds startled, weak nerves may tremble, but they must hear and adopt it. Universal emancipation must be proclaimed to all. Those who now furnish the means of war, but who are the natural enemies of slaveholders, must be made our allies. If the slaves no longer raised cotton and rice, tobacco and grain for the rebels, this war would cease in six months, even though the liberated slaves would not raise a hand against their masters. They would no longer produce the means by which they sustain the war."


Stevens led the Radical Republican faction in their battle against the bankers over the issuance of money during the Civil War. Stevens made various speeches in Congress in favor of President Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 and Henry Carey
Henry Charles Carey
Henry Charles Carey , a leading 19th century economist of the American School of capitalism. He is now best known for the book The Harmony of Interests, to compare and contrast what he called the "British System" of laissez faire free trade capitalism with the "American System" of developmental...

's "Greenback" system, interest-free currency in the form of fiat government-issued United States Note
United States Note
A United States Note, also known as a Legal Tender Note, is a type of paper money that was issued from 1862 to 1971 in the U.S. Having been current for over 100 years, they were issued for longer than any other form of U.S. paper money. They were known popularly as "greenbacks" in their heyday, a...

s that would effectively threaten the bankers' profits in being able to issue and control the currency through fractional reserve loans. Stevens warned that a debt-based monetary system controlled by for-profit banks would lead to the eventual bankruptcy of the people, saying "the Government and not the banks should have the benefit from creating the medium of exchange," yet after Lincoln's assassination the Radical Republicans lost this battle and a National banking monopoly emerged in the years after.


Stevens was so outspoken in his condemnation of the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 that Major General
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 Jubal Early of the Army of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

 made a point of burning much of his iron business, at modern-day Caledonia State Park
Caledonia State Park
Caledonia State Park is a Pennsylvania state park in Greene Township, Franklin County and Franklin Township, Adams County in Pennsylvania in the United States. The park is named for an iron furnace, Caledonia Furnace, that was owned by Thaddeus Stevens beginning in 1837. Today the park is known...

 to the ground during the Gettysburg Campaign
Gettysburg Campaign
The Gettysburg Campaign was a series of battles fought in June and July 1863, during the American Civil War. After his victory in the Battle of Chancellorsville, Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia moved north for offensive operations in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The...

. Early claimed that this action was in direct retaliation for Stevens' perceived support of similar atrocities by the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 in the South.

Stevens was the leader of the Radical Republicans, who had full control of Congress after the 1866 elections
United States House election, 1866
Elections to the United States House of Representatives were held in 1866 to elect Representatives to the 40th United States Congress.The elections occurred just one year after the American Civil War ended at Appomattox, in which the Union defeated the Confederacy....

. He largely set the course of Reconstruction. He wanted to begin to rebuild the South, using military power to force the South to recognize the equality of Freedmen. When President Johnson resisted, Stevens proposed and passed the resolution for the impeachment of Andrew Johnson
Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States, was one of the most dramatic events in the political life of the United States during Reconstruction, and the first impeachment in history of a sitting United States president....

 in 1868.

Stevens told W. W. Holden
William Woods Holden
William Woods Holden was the 38th and 40th Governor of North Carolina in 1865 and from 1868 to 1871. He was the leader of the state's Republican Party during Reconstruction. Holden was the second governor in American history to be impeached, and the first to be removed from office...

, the Republican governor of North Carolina
Governor of North Carolina
The Governor of North Carolina is the chief executive of the State of North Carolina, one of the U.S. states. The current governor is Bev Perdue, North Carolina's first female governor.-Powers:...

, in December, 1866, "It would be best for the South to remain ten years longer under military rule, and that during this time we would have Territorial Governors, with Territorial Legislatures, and the government at Washington would pay our general expenses as territories, and educate our children, white and colored and both."

Death



Thaddeus Stevens died at midnight on August 11, 1868, in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, less than three months after the acquittal of Johnson by the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

. Stevens' coffin lay in state inside the Capitol Rotunda
United States Capitol Rotunda
The United States Capitol rotunda is the central rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Located below the Capitol dome, it is the tallest part of the Capitol and has been described as its "symbolic and physical heart."...

, flanked by a Black Honor Guard (the Butler Zouaves from the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

). Twenty thousand people, one-half of whom were African-American, attended his funeral in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster is a city in the south-central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is the county seat of Lancaster County and one of the older inland cities in the United States, . With a population of 59,322, it ranks eighth in population among Pennsylvania's cities...

. He chose to be buried in the Shreiner-Concord Cemetery because it was the only cemetery that would accept people without regard to race.

Stevens wrote the inscription on his headstone that reads:
"I repose in this quiet and secluded spot, not from any natural preference for solitude, but finding other cemeteries limited as to race, by charter rules, I have chosen this that I might illustrate in my death the principles which I advocated through a long life, equality of man before his Creator."

Stevens' monument is at the intersection of North Mulberry Street and West Chestnut Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster is a city in the south-central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is the county seat of Lancaster County and one of the older inland cities in the United States, . With a population of 59,322, it ranks eighth in population among Pennsylvania's cities...

.

Legacy



Stevens dreamed of a socially just world, where unearned privilege did not exist. He believed from his personal experience that being different or having a different perspective can enrich society. He believed that differences among people should not be feared or oppressed but celebrated.
In his will he left $50,000 to establish Stevens, a school for the relief and refuge of homeless
Homelessness
Homelessness describes the condition of people without a regular dwelling. People who are homeless are unable or unwilling to acquire and maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence." The legal definition of "homeless" varies from country...

, indigent
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 orphan
Orphan
An orphan is a child permanently bereaved of or abandoned by his or her parents. In common usage, only a child who has lost both parents is called an orphan...

s.
"They shall be carefully educated in the various branches of English education and all industrial trades and pursuits. No preference shall be shown on account of race or color
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 in their admission or treatment. Neither poor Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

, Irish
Irish diaspora
thumb|Night Train with Reaper by London Irish artist [[Brian Whelan]] from the book Myth of Return, 2007The Irish diaspora consists of Irish emigrants and their descendants in countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa,...

 or Mahometan
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

, nor any others on account their race or religion of their parents, shall be excluded. They shall be fed at the same table."

This original bequest has now evolved into Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology is a two-year co-educational technical college that provides an education in twenty two programs for about 800 students. It was named for Thaddeus Stevens, a nineteenth-century politician. The school was founded in 1905.Stevens is located in southeastern...

. The College continually strives to provide underprivileged individuals with opportunities and to create an environment in which individual differences are valued and nurtured.

In Washington, D.C., the Stevens Elementary School was built in 1868 as one of the first publicly funded schools for black children. President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

's daughter, Amy Carter
Amy Carter
Amy Lynn Carter is the fourth child and only daughter of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter. She entered the limelight as she lived as a child in the White House during the Carter presidency.-Early life:...

, attended the school.

Other locations named in honor of Thaddeus Stevens includes the community of Stevens, Pennsylvania
Stevens, Pennsylvania
Stevens, Pennsylvania is an unincorporated community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. The Stevens post office is zip code 17578. Stevens was named in honor of Thaddeus Stevens.-Local businesses:...

,Stevens County, Kansas
Stevens County, Kansas
Stevens County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 5,724. Its county seat is Hugoton...

, Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School in New Castle, Pennsylvania
New Castle, Pennsylvania
New Castle is a city in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, United States, northwest of Pittsburgh and near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border just east of Youngstown, Ohio; in 1910, the total population was 36,280; in 1920, 44,938; and in 1940, 47,638. The population has fallen to 26,309 according to the...

, and Thaddeus Stevens School in Lyndon Center, Vermont.

Buildings associated with Stevens are currently being restored by the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster, PA with an eye toward focusing on the establishment of a $20 million dollar museum. These include his home, law offices, and a nearby tavern. The effort also celebrates the contributions of his housekeeper, Lydia Hamilton Smith, who was involved in the underground railroad.

Cinema and media portrayals


Austin Stoneman, the naive and fanatical congressman in D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation is a 1915 American silent film directed by D. W. Griffith and based on the novel and play The Clansman, both by Thomas Dixon, Jr. Griffith also co-wrote the screenplay , and co-produced the film . It was released on February 8, 1915...

, was modeled on Stevens. Additionally, he was portrayed as a villain in The Clansman
The Clansman
The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan is the title of a novel published in 1905. It was the second work in the Ku Klux Klan trilogy by Thomas F. Dixon, Jr. that included The Leopard's Spots and The Traitor. It was influential in providing the ideology that helped support the...

, the second novel in the trilogy upon which Birth of a Nation was based. He was also portrayed (by Lionel Barrymore
Lionel Barrymore
Lionel Barrymore was an American actor of stage, screen and radio. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in A Free Soul...

) as a villain and fanatic in Tennessee Johnson
Tennessee Johnson
Tennessee Johnson is a 1942 American film about Andrew Johnson, the 17th president of the United States. It was directed by William Dieterle and written by Milton Gunzburg, Alvin Meyers, John Balderston, and Wells Root. It starred Van Heflin as Johnson, Lionel Barrymore as his nemesis Thaddeus...

, the 1942 MGM film about the life of President Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

. In May of 2011, Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 cast Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones is an American actor and film director. He has received three Academy Award nominations, winning one as Best Supporting Actor for the 1993 thriller film The Fugitive....

 to play Stevens in a film adaptation of the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Doris Kearns Goodwin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American biographer and historian, and an oft-seen political commentator. She is the author of biographies of several U.S...

, currently titled Lincoln.

See also


  • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
    Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
    Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology is a two-year co-educational technical college that provides an education in twenty two programs for about 800 students. It was named for Thaddeus Stevens, a nineteenth-century politician. The school was founded in 1905.Stevens is located in southeastern...

  • National Union Party (United States)
    National Union Party (United States)
    The National Union Party was the name used by the Republican Party for the national ticket in the 1864 presidential election, held during the Civil War. State Republican parties did not usually change their name....


Further reading

  • Beale, Howard K.
    Howard K. Beale
    Howard Kennedy Beale was an American historian. He specialized in nineteenth and twentieth-century American history, particularly the Reconstruction Era. He also wrote biographies of Theodore Roosevelt, Edward Bates, and Charles A. Beard. Beale was born in Chicago to Frank A. and Nellie Kennedy...

     The Critical Year: A Study of Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction. (1930)
  • Belz, Herman. Reconstructing the Union: Theory and Practice During the Civil War. (1969)
  • Benedict, Michael Les. A Compromise of Principle: Congressional Republicans and Reconstruction 1863-1869. (1974)
  • Brodie Fawn M.
    Fawn M. Brodie
    Fawn McKay Brodie was a biographer and professor of history at UCLA, best known for Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History, a work of psychobiography, and No Man Knows My History, an early and still influential non-hagiographic biography of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint...

     Thaddeus Stevens, Scourge of the South (1959), controversial psychohistory
  • Bryant-Jones, Mildred. "The Political Program of Thaddeus Stevens, 1865", Phylon (1940–1956), Vol. 2, No. 2 (2nd Qtr., 1941), pp. 147–154 in JSTOR/271784
  • Foner, Eric. "Thaddeus Stevens, Confiscation, and Reconstruction," in Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick, eds. The Hofstadter Aegis (1974).
  • McCall, Samuel Walker. Thaddeus Stevens (1899) 369 pages; outdated biography online edition
  • Stryker, Lloyd Paul; Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage (1929), hostile to Stevens online version
  • Trefousse, Hans L. Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth-Century Egalitarian (1997) online version
  • Woodburn, James Albert. The Life of Thaddeus Stevens: A Study in American Political History, Especially in the Period of the Civil War and Reconstruction. (1913) online version
  • Woodburn, James Albert. "The Attitude of Thaddeus Stevens Toward the Conduct of the Civil War," The American Historical Review, Vol. 12, No. 3 (April, 1907), pp. 567–583 in JSTOR
  • Zeitz, Josh. "Stevens, Thaddeus", American National Biography Online Feb. 2000.

Primary sources

  • Palmer, Beverly Wilson and Holly Byers Ochoa, eds. The Selected Papers of Thaddeus Stevens 2 vol (1998), 900pp; his speeches plus letters to and from Stevens
  • Stevens, Thaddeus, et al. Report of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, at the First Session ...by United States Congress. Joint Committee on Reconstruction, (1866) 791 pages; online edition
  • Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of Thaddeus Stevens: Delivered ...by United States 40th Cong., 3d sess., 1868-1869. (1869) 84 pages; online edition

External links