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Thaddeus Stevens

February 14th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Thaddeus Stevens

Thaddeus Stevens

One of the most irascible politicians of the 19th Century was the abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee during the Civil War, Stevens was one of the most powerful members of the House of Representatives and one of the leaders of the Radical Republicans. In this position, Stevens helped set much of the national policy of Reconstruction. Stevens was also known as a witty and sarcastic speaker. During a Civil War course I took, the professor related this, one of my favorite anecdotes about him:
“One day in the 1830s in the Pennsylvania Assembly, a fellow representative spoke sharply against a measure Stevens had presented. Stevens took the floor and made a short speech on the merits of the bill, completely ignoring what the prior speaker had said. As he was about to sit down, he turned to glower upon his critic and said, “Mr. Speaker, it will not be expected of me to notice the thing which has crawled into this House and adheres to one of the seats by its own slime.” Great Leveler, by Thomas Frederick Woodley, page 10.” [1]

Sources:
[1] Thaddeus Stevens Society
[2] Thaddeus Stevens, Wikipedia

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