Thaddeus Stevens

From Academic Kids

Thaddeus Stevens (April 4, 1792 - August 11, 1868), also known as "The Great Commoner," was an extreme Radical Republican and lawyer famous for defending runaway slaves. Stevens was born in Danville, Vermont, and after graduating from Dartmouth, he moved to Pennsylvania in 1815.

At first, Stevens belonged to the Federalist Party, but switched to the Anti-Masonic Party, then to the Whig Party, and finally to the Republican party. In 1848, while still a Whig party member, Stevens was elected to serve in the House of Representatives. Stevens was chairman of the Ways and Means Committee throughout the American Civil War and he helped to draft both the Fourteenth Amendment and the Reconstruction Act in 1867. Stevens wanted to rebuild the South using military power to force the South to recognize the emancipation of black slaves. Stevens proposed the resolution for the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, in 1868. Thaddeus Stevens died in Washington, D.C., less than three months after the acquittal of Johnson.

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