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Thaddeus Stevens (1792–1868) was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania and one of the leaders of the Radical Republican faction of the Republican Party during the 1860s. A fierce opponent of slavery and discrimination against African-Americans, Stevens sought to secure their rights during Reconstruction, in opposition to President Andrew Johnson. After serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Stevens was elected to Congress in 1848 as a Whig. His activities in opposition to slavery cost him votes and he did not seek reelection in 1852. Stevens joined the newly formed Republican Party, and was elected to Congress again in 1858. Stevens argued that slavery should not survive the American Civil War; he was frustrated by the slowness of President Abraham Lincoln to support his position. As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee during the war, he played a major part in the war's financing. After Lincoln's assassination in April 1865, Stevens came into conflict with the new president, Johnson. Stevens's last great battle was to secure articles of impeachment in the House against Johnson, though the Senate did not convict the President. (Full article...)

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