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Wed, 04.04.1792

Thaddeus Stevens, Politician and Abolitionist born

Thaddeus Stevens

*Thaddeus Stevens was born on this date in 1792. He was a white-American abolitionist. Stevens was born in Danville, Vermont.

After finishing his education in 1814, he was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Pennsylvania. A strong opponent of slavery, Stevens defended a large number of fugitive slaves and was paid no fee.  A member of the Whig Party, he was elected to the State Legislature in 1848 and served until 1851. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1849-53, where he played a leading role in the campaign against the Fugitive Slave Act passed in 1850. After the end of the Whig Party, Stevens became a Republican and was elected to Congress in 1859.

Though he supported Lincoln during the Civil War, after Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, Stevens came into conflict with Andrew Johnson. Stevens helped draft the Fourteenth Amendment and the Reconstruction Act in 1867. He argued in Congress that Southern plantations should be taken from their owners and divided among the former slaves. In 1868, as leader of the Radical Republicans in Congress, Stevens proposed for the impeachment of Johnson. Stevens’ health declined during his dispute and he requested that he should be buried among African Americans in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Thaddeus Stevens died on August 11, 1868. Inscribed on his tombstone were the words: "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 the Creator."

History of American Slavery
by Duncan Clarke JG Press
Copyright 1998 PRC Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 1 57215 256 7

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