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One of the main debatable figures in 19th-century American historical past, Thaddeus Stevens is better remembered for his function as congressional chief of the novel Republicans and as a major architect of Reconstruction. lengthy painted through historians as a vindictive "dictator of Congress", out to punish the South on the behest of huge enterprise and his personal ego, Stevens gets a extra balanced remedy in Hans L. Trefousse's biography, which portrays him as an impassioned orator and a pacesetter within the fight opposed to slavery.

Trefousse lines Stevens' occupation via its significant levels, from his days within the Pennsylvania country legislature, while he antagonized Freemasons, slaveholders, and Jacksonian Democrats, to his political involvement in the course of Reconstruction, while he helped writer the 14th modification and spurred at the passage of the Reconstruction Acts and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. all through, Trefousse explores the motivations for Stevens' lifelong dedication to racial equality, hence furnishing a fuller portrait of the guy whose fervent competition to slavery helped circulate his extra average congressional colleagues towards the implementation of egalitarian policies.

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