In the new biography of Thaddeus Stevens, acclaimed historian Bruce Levine lets it be known on the first page that Stevens was recognized by both friend and foe as a Civil War giant. He quotes the famous black abolitionists Frederick Douglass as saying: “There was in him the power of conviction, the power of will, the power of knowledge, and the power of conscious ability (that) at last made him more potent in Congress and in the country than even the president and cabinet combined.”

On the other side, Levine said Confederate Gen. Jubal Early said he had Stevens’s Caledonia iron works destroyed in the lead up to the Gettysburg battle because Stevens had done more damage to the Confederacy than any other U.S. congressman.

Ross Hetrick is president of the Thaddeus Stevens Society, which is dedicated to promoting Stevens’s important legacy. More information about the Great Commoner can be found at the society’s web page, thaddeusstevenssociety.com.

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