The case for Thaddeus Stevens being an American hero

“The key idea, it seems to me, in the discussion of who are our heroes, is really who are we,” says author on a new book honoring Thaddeus Stevens.

Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Thaddeus Stevens was a radical Republican who grew up poor in Vermont. He came to support abolition, fight economic inequality, advocate for reparations, and usher in Reconstruction during his time as a representative from Pennsylvania.

And yet, many people don’t know who he is. A new book makes the case that Americans should honor and cherish Stevens, and that he should be considered a national hero.

“The fact that he effectively fought – from the 1830s through his death in the late 1860s — for the end of slavery and the end of racial discrimination, in so far as he could accomplish the latter, makes him a crucially important figure.” — Bruce Levine, author


Listen: How abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens changed the shape of the country.

 


Guest

Bruce Levine is a professor emeritus of history at University of Illinois. His recently wrote the book, “Thaddeus Stevens: Civil War Revolutionary, Fighter for Racial Justice.” He says he pushed the Republican party and the country to put an end to slavery and to try to erase legal racial discrimination.

“The fact that he effectively fought — from the 1830s through his death in the late 1860s — for the end of slavery and the end of racial discrimination, in so far as he could accomplish the latter, makes him a crucially important figure,” says Levine.

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