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Thaddeus Stevens by Hans Louis Trefousse

Thaddeus Stevens (edition 2001)

by Hans Louis Trefousse

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Title:Thaddeus Stevens
Authors:Hans Louis Trefousse
Info:Stackpole Books (2001), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:history, civil rights, civil war, biography

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Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth-Century Egalitarian by Hans L. Trefousse



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I would like to give this book a higher rating, and were I an avid student of history perhaps I would. As a layman who became interested in Thaddeus Stevens after watching Spielberg's "Lincoln" I was underwhelmed by this biography. There were two drawbacks that made the book incredibly dry reading. First, virtually nothing is told of Stevens personal life. It is purely a political biography. Two or three sentences are given here and there for a brief anecdote, but no more. The other is its absolute focus on Stevens. I would have appreciated more side-story of what was happening around the country, before during and after the Civil War, in the White House, in the Senate... But anything that didn't directly involve Thaddeus Stevens was ignored completely. In the end, I have a good understanding of his politics, and certainly a great deal about the man can be gleaned from that, but I was hoping for a book that would let me into his life, and wouldn't assume that I already knew everything about history of his era, but would enlighten me on that as well. ( )
  fingerpost | Jan 10, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080782335X, Hardcover)

Thaddeus Stevens is best known for his leadership of the radical Republicans in Congress during Reconstruction, and throughout the years historians have either glorified him or vilified him. Trefousse's balanced biography traces Stevens's career from his early days as a Pennsylvania lawyer and state legislator, when he became an outspoken advocate for black freedom and equality, to his long tenure in the House of Representatives, which culminated in his involvement in the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment and the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:47 -0400)

One of the most controversial figures in nineteenth-century American history, Thaddeus Stevens is best remembered for his role as congressional leader of the radical Republicans and as a chief architect of Reconstruction. Long painted by historians as a vindictive "dictator of Congress," out to punish the South at the behest of big business and his own ego, Stevens receives a more balanced treatment in Hans L. Trefousse's biography, which portrays him as an impassioned orator and a leader in the struggle against slavery. Trefousse traces Stevens' career through its major phases, from his days in the Pennsylvania state legislature, when he antagonized Freemasons, slaveholders, and Jacksonian Democrats, to his political involvement during Reconstruction, when he helped author the Fourteenth Amendment and spurred on the passage of the Reconstruction Acts and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Throughout, Trefousse explores the motivations for Stevens' lifelong commitment to racial equality, thus furnishing a fuller portrait of the man whose fervent opposition to slavery helped move his more moderate congressional colleagues toward the implementation of egalitarian policies.… (more)

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