Thaddeus Stevens | Pennsylvania Civil War 150
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Pennsylvania Civil War 150

Pennsylvania Civil War 150

Politicians

Thaddeus Stevens

He rose from poverty and misfortune. Making him uniquely qualified to help the South do the same.

Thaddeus Stevens was born in Danville, Vermont, on April 4, 1792. Despite a childhood wrought with difficulties and severe poverty, he graduated from Dartmouth College in 1814. He then moved to York, Pennsylvania, where he established a law practice. He later established two more practices in Lancaster and Gettysburg.

Stevens was affiliated with several political parties before he finally aligned with the Republican Party. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Whig in 1848, and would serve in the Senate for most of the rest of his life. His time in the Senate would be marked by his powerful speeches and stances against slavery. Following the Civil War, Stevens would become a central figure of the "Radical Republicans," who sought to severely punish the former Confederate States. He and the "Radicals" would have a great deal of influence over the execution of Reconstruction, as well as the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.

Thaddeus Stevens died in Washington, D.C. on August 11, 1868. He is buried in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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Information for this section was contributed by the National Civil War Museum.

Image Courtesy of Library of Congress

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