Thaddeus Stevens

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Stevens, Thaddeus

 

Born Apr. 4, 1792, in Danville, Vt.; died Aug. 11, 1868, in Washington, D.C. US political figure; lawyer.

Stevens began his political career by supporting the Whigs and later joined the Republican Party. He was a member of the House of Representatives in 1849–53 and from 1859 until his death. He was a leader of the Republican Party’s left wing. During the American Civil War (1861–65), Stevens was a strong advocate of decisive measures in the conduct of the war. After the war, as de facto head of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, he defended the bourgeois-democratic program of Reconstruction, which provided for total liquidation of slavery, the establishment of equal civil and political rights for Negroes, and the confiscation of the land of plantation owners and its distribution among Negroes and poor whites.