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Robert McNamara

Books About Thaddeus Stevens

By December 2, 2012

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If you've seen Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," you are probably curious about the life of Thaddeus Stevens. And, you'll be happy to know, there are some classic books about the eccentric abolitionist no farther away than a few mouse clicks.

Thanks to Google's efforts at scanning rare library books, hard-to-find 19th century texts have been digitized, and can be read on your computer or tablet. I've assembled a handy list of vintage books about Thaddeus Stevens and quoted some notable passages.

One long-forgotten gem is a collection of speeches given in the House of Representatives after Steven's death in 1868. In true 19th Century style, friends and some very bitter foes stood up and praised the man they all respected, even those who despised him when he ruled Congress and took great pleasure in ridiculing them.

Others were written by a political activist who idolized Stevens, a member of Congress in the 1890s who saw both the good and bad in his career, and a history professor in the early 20th century who recognized the central role Stevens played in national affairs while leading a controversial private life.

If you've had the great performance by Tommy Lee Jones spark your curiosity, you'll want to treat yourself to some classic accounts of "The Great Commoner."

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