Hundreds of first-year students at Gettysburg College trooped from their campus to the Gettysburg National Cemetery on August 25 to hear about Lincoln’s immortal address. It would have also been the perfect time for them to hear about Thaddeus Stevens who played a crucial role in the history of the college and the nation.

As a member of the Pennsylvania state house in 1834, Stevens got the fledgling college an $18,000 appropriation to build the college’s first building — Pennsylvania Hall, the college’s iconic building. But Stevens’s support of the college provoked a political firestorm.

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 website:

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