Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth-Century Egalitarianby Hans L. Trefousse
One of the most controversial figures in nineteenth-century American history, Thaddeus Stevens is best remembered for his role as congressional leader of the radical Republicans and as a chief architect of Reconstruction. Long painted by historians as a vindictive 'dictator of Congress,' out to punish the South at the behest of big business and his own ego, Stevens… See more details below
One of the most controversial figures in nineteenth-century American history, Thaddeus Stevens is best remembered for his role as congressional leader of the radical Republicans and as a chief architect of Reconstruction. Long painted by historians as a vindictive 'dictator of Congress,' out to punish the South at the behest of big business and his own ego, Stevens receives a more balanced treatment in Hans L. Trefousse's biography, which portrays him as an impassioned orator and a leader in the struggle against slavery.
Trefousse traces Stevens's career through its major phases: from his days in the Pennsylvania state legislature, when he antagonized Freemasons, slaveholders, and Jacksonian Democrats, to his political involvement during Reconstruction, when he helped author the Fourteenth Amendment and spurred on the passage of the Reconstruction Acts and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Throughout, Trefousse explores the motivations for Stevens's lifelong commitment to racial equality, thus furnishing a fuller portrait of the man whose fervent opposition to slavery helped move his more moderate congressional colleagues toward the implementation of egalitarian policies.
What People are saying about this
This book is well researched and engagingly written, and is likely to become the standard biography.Choice
[A] sterling biography of one of the leading men in America's middle period. . . . A masterful biography. Trefousse's research is most impressive. He shows a command of countless sources.Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
[This book] advances the author's thesis . . . that the Radicals were vanguards of racial justice. Here is a case study, expertly fitting the subject into a framework that differs from earlier biographies.James A. Rawley, University of Nebraska
A model biography of a most controversial figure. . . . A balanced and insightful study.Illinois Historical Journal
An outstanding political biography of Thaddeus Stevens that is rich in detail and based on an impressive array of original and secondary sources. . . . A compelling interpretation of Stevens' long life and career.Labor History
The 'Great Commoner' has at last found his proper biographer, one who explains his political greatness with knowledge and insight.American Historical Review
An especially valuable addition to Civil War literature. This is now the definitive work on Stevens.Library Journal
Meet the Author
Hans L. Trefousse (1921-2010), whose many books include a biography of Andrew Johnson and a study of the radical Republicans, was Distinguished Professor of History at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
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