The Great
Commoner
Volume 19, No. 2  thaddeusstevenssociety.com  Fall 2017
Stevens Quote:
    “I am for Negro suffrage in every rebel state. If it be just, it should not be denied; if it be necessary, it
should be adopted; if it be a punishment to traitors, they deserve it." January 3, 1867
How mean was Thad?
   Thaddeus Stevens was “perhaps the most despicable, malevolent and morally deformed character who
has ever risen to high power in America,” James Truslow Adams, a prominent historian in the early 20th
century wrote. This is quite a statement directed at a man who fought ceaselessly for the liberation of
slaves, was acknowledged by friend and foe as generous to a fault, opposed capital punishment and was
never charged with maleficence in office.
And even though Stevens now enjoys a much better assessment as one of history’s greatest champions of
equality, his reputation continues to be plagued by accusations that he wanted to “punish” the south and
had a personal animosity towards the leaders of the Confederacy, creating the image that he was
consumed by unreasonable rage. Click here for story:
MeanThad
Abolitionists Day to be held March 3 in Gettysburg
   The second annual Abolitionists Day will be held Saturday, March 3, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the GAR
Hall at 53 E. Middle Street in Gettysburg, PA.  Admission is free and refreshments will be served. This
year the focus is on southern abolitionists and how they should be honored by both northerners and
southerners as part of their heritage.The people to be portrayed are Frederick Douglass, Levi Coffin,
Cassius Clay, Angelina Grimke, Harriet Jacobs and Elizabeth Van Lew.
 Abolitionists Day was first held last March to counter Confederate Flag Day and to honor the brave
men and women who risked their lives and fortunes to end the terrible scourge of slavery. Besides the
Society, other groups involved are the Gettysburg Human Relations Council, Gettysburg College and the
Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary. If you would like to help in this effort, please email us at
contact@thaddeusstevenssociety.com or call 717-334-1912.
14th Amendment celebration planned for July 2018
  In July of 2018 the Thaddeus Stevens Society and other organizations will celebrate the 150th
anniversary of one of the most significant changes in our nation’s history -- the ratification of the 14th
Amendment. While not well known, the amendment is the linchpin of the Constitution, requiring equal
treatment under the law and extending civil rights to the state level. The guiding force behind the
adoption of this amendment was Thaddeus Stevens, who introduced  the initial version to the Joint
Committee on Reconstruction in the House of Representatives, a committee he started to deal with
Reconstruction matters efficiently.
 Stevens set the stage for the amendment on December 4, 1865 when he orchestrated the blocking of ex-
Confederates from entering Congress. If they had taken their seats, there would have been no 14th
Amendment.
 Planning is underway for a possible exhibit at LancasterHistory.org, a dance performance, a panel
discussion and a light show at Stevens’s grave. Besides the Society, other groups involved are
Gettysburg College, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, LancasterHistory.org and the Theatre for
Transformation. If you would like to help with this celebration, please email us  at
contact@thaddeusstevenssociety.com or call 717-334-1912.
Updates:
Books
  Bruce Levine’s Stevens’s biography now has a title: Thaddeus Stevens, The Making Of A
Revolutionary,
and he has drafted five of the six projected chapters. The manuscript is due at Simon &
Schuster in early spring, but health problems may delay that. Levine is the author of
The Fall of the
House of Dixie,
a study of the civil war and the social revolution that transformed the South.
 
 Manisha Sinha’s dual biography of Stevens and Sen. Charles Sumner has evolved into a new history of
Reconstruction, in which Stevens will play a prominent role. Publication will probably be in 2020.
  Fergus Bordewich is about half-way through his book, Congress At War, which will be about Congress
during the Civil War. It is due to be published in either late 2019 or early 2020. Stevens will loom large in
the book along with Sen. Ben Wade of Ohio, Sen. William Pitt Fessenden of Maine and the Copperhead
Democrat Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio.

Statues
 The proposed Stevens statue at the closed Stevens school in Washington, D.C. should be completed by
2020. The statue -- only the second one erected to the Great Commoner -- will be part of a school and
commercial complex being done by the developers Akridge and Argos Group. Buildings next to the school
on 21st Street, NW. have been demolished to make way for the commercial portion of the project,
according to David Toney, vice president of development for Akridge. Proposals for the statue may be
requested during 2018 and the statue and surrounding park should be completed two years later, Toney
said.
 The Thaddeus Stevens Society’s effort to raise money to erect a Stevens statue in Gettysburg has
reached about $17,000 in pledges and cash and a deadline of July 2018 has been set to reach $60,000. At
that point the Society will launch a search for a location. If you would like to make a pledge, please
contact us at
contact@thaddeusstevenssociety.com or call 717-334-1912.

House
The completion of Thaddeus Stevens’s house on Queen Street in Lancaster, PA, is still on hold until
2020 as LancasterHistory.org completes its last major fundraising effort before embarking on one for the
Stevens house. The exterior of the house has been restored to the way it looked in the 1860s, but the
interior remains an empty shell. Visitors can still go into the convention center’s entrance on Vine Street
and see information about the house, Stevens and his housekeeper, Lydia Hamilton Smith. They can also
see down into a cistern that was behind the house, which is believed to be a hiding place in the
Underground Railroad. More information can be found at this link:
StevensSmithProject
Click here for pictures of December 2, 2017 meeting.