STEVENS, Thaddeus, American states man: b. Danville, Vt., 4 April 1792; d. Wash ington, D. C., 11 Aug. 1868. He was graduated at Dartmouth College in 1814; went to York, Pa., where he taught school. He was gradu ated in law, and began to practise in Gettys burg. In 1828 he joined the Whig party, and became active in politics. Pie worked with the party of anti-Masonry (q.v.), and took part in its Baltimore convention (September 1831). In 1833 and for several succeeding years he was a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, acted with the Whigs, and became distinguished through his opposition to slavery. At the State constitutional convention in 1836, to which he was a delegate, he advocated negro suffrage. During his legislative career he was engaged in fighting the party and in the end came off victorious. He was appointed a canal commissioner in 1838, and rendered im portant services to the State in developing its system of internal improvements. Remov ing to Lancaster, Pa., in 1842, he there engaged for six years in the practise of law. In 1848 and again in 1850 he was elected to Congress, where he strongly opposed the fugitive-slave law (see FUGITIVE-SLAVE LAWS), the Kansas Nebraska Bill (q.v.), and other measures in
volving concessions to Southern interests. Again in 1858 he was elected to Congress, and became the acknowledged leader of the House, in which he remained as such until his death. Throughout the Civil War he was chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, and after ward held the chairmanship of the Committee on Reconstruction. He reported from that committee the Reconstruction Act of 1867, hav ing previously (1865) assisted in framing the Wade-Davis Reconstruction Bill. (See UNITED STATES). He was also chairman of the House committee which had charge of the impeach ment of Andrew Johnson (q.v.). Stevens was a man of boundless energy and tenacity of will, with the intenseness of a zealot in the cause which he espoused; and in respect to slavery his radicalism outran that of all its other con gressional opponents. Consult Callender, E. B., Stevens) (Boston 1882) ; Mc Call, Stevens) (in (American Statesmen Series,) 1899) ; Woodburn, (Thad deus Stevens) (Indianapolis 1913).