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Thaddeus Stevens, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives during Abraham Lincoln's presidency, fought to abolish slavery and helped draft the 14th Amendment during Reconstruction.
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Their work largely set the course for Reconstruction in the South.
Stevens's Reconstruction efforts were resisted by President Andrew Johnson, which frustrated the congressman and prompted him to fight back against the president; Stevens introduced the resolution for President Johnson's impeachment, and chaired the committee responsible for drafting impeachment articles.
Following the Civil War,
Stevens served on the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, and played an important role in drafting both the 14th Amendment and the Reconstruction Act of 1867. The 14th Amendment—prohibiting local and state governments from depriving citizens of "life, liberty or property," among other important protections for citizens—later served as a basis for civil rights legislation.
Stevens died in Washington, D.C. on August 11, 1868. In failing health, Stevens had requested to be buried in Shreiner-Concord Cemetery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, because the state accepted all races. He composed his own epitaph, which reads, "I repose in this quiet and secluded spot, not for any natural preference for solitude. But finding other cemeteries limited as to race by charter rules, I have chosen this that I might illustrate in my death the principles which I advocated through a long life, equality of man before his creator."
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