“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Lancaster in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Thaddeus Stevens

Thaddeus Stevens Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 12, 2019
1. Thaddeus Stevens Marker

An important part of Thaddeus Stevens' legacy is his philanthropy. Throughout his life he could never recall the poverty and discrimination of his childhood without great pain. Its effect was to sensitize him to the oppression and human suffering in the world. He simply could not bear to hear or see suffering if his money or legal aid could relieve it. He gave of them both almost without limit. He did this irrespective of race, religion, national origin, or political affiliation. Even his harshest critics said he was charitable, kind, and lavish with his money in the relief of poverty. He had standing orders with his physician and cobbler to treat all deformed children at his expense.

It is impossible to estimate how much money he gave to the poor and needy or the value of the legal services he provided for free. One indicator was that, at the time of his death, he had over $100,000 in notes from individuals he had loaned money to and never been repaid.


Thaddeus Stevens saved the one-year-old public system in Pennsylvania from legislative
Thaddeus Stevens Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 12, 2019
2. Thaddeus Stevens Marker
repeal with an influential speech in the state legislature in 1835. The effect was free public education in the Commonwealth a generation before New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the entire South. As a consequence, Stevens became known as the savior of public education in Pennsylvania.

In 1834 Stevens secured state funding for Pennsylvania College, which later became known as Gettysburg College.

Stevens left a bequest for the establishment of a non-discriminatory institution to provide a free educational opportunity for indigent orphans, which has evolved into Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.

While a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature and Congress, Stevens consistently supported educational initiatives.

"I have done what I deemed best for humanity. It is easy to protect the interests of the rich and powerful. But it is a great labor to protect the interests of the poor and downtrodden. It is the eternal labor of Sisyphus, forever to be renewed."


Thaddeus Stevens was a delegate to the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention of 1837, but he refused to sign the document because it banned African-Americans from voting.

Stevens continuously pressured President Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

Stevens advocated
Thaddeus Stevens Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 12, 2019
3. Thaddeus Stevens Marker
and helped pass the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery.

In 1851, Stevens successfully defended the participants of the Christiana Resistance, where a slave owner was killed trying to recapture slaves.

Stevens defended escaped slaves and participated in the Underground Railroad.


On December 4, 1864, Thaddeus Stevens kept Southerners from taking seats in Congress by having the Clerk of the House, Edward McPherson, not call their names during the roll call. This prevented Southerners from joining with Northern Democrats and reversing the gains of the Civil War and reinstating slavery in the form of Southern Black Codes.

Stevens was one of the chief architects of Reconstruction that sought to bring about an equal society in the South. These measures included granting the right to vote to African-American men and the military occupation of the South to protect newly freed slaves.

Stevens spearheaded the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, who was undermining Reconstruction efforts. Even though the House of Representatives voted to impeach Johnson, the senate failed to convict by one vote. However, the process left Johnson virtually powerless fort the remainder of his term.


Thaddeus Stevens was one of the chief
Thaddeus Stevens Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 12, 2019
4. Thaddeus Stevens Marker
framers of the 14th Amendment, the single most important change to the Constitution. Ratified in 1868, the amendment requires equal treatment for all American citizens and prohibits states from violating basic rights, such as freedom of speech and religion. The meaning of the 14th Amendment was rediscovered by the Supreme Court in the 1950s and 1960s, and was used to dismantle segregation laws, and helped to usher in the new Civil Rights Movement.

In his speech about the 14th Amendment, Stevens said:
"I live among men and not angels; among men as intelligent, as determined and as independent as myself, who, not agreeing with me, do not choose to yield their opinions to mine. Mutual concession, therefore, is our only resort.
Stevens chose to be buried in the only integrated cemetery in Lancaster. His epitaph reads:
"I repose in this quiet and secluded spot
Not from 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 in my life:
Equality of man before his creator."
Thaddeus Stevens Convocation
April 4, 2008

Cobblestone Court and the Thaddeus Stevens Tribute in Bronze was conceived and designed
Thaddeus Stevens Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 12, 2019
5. Thaddeus Stevens Marker
by Alumni Association and Foundation Director, Alex B. Munro '60 with the encouragement and consulting support of the College President William E. Griscom throughout the project.

This standing memorial is in honor of our benefactor Thaddeus Stevens, known as the savior of public education and a champion of equality and human rights for all American citizens.

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology will be forever grateful to Thaddeus Stevens for the love and compassion he exhibited throughout his lifetime for the disadvantaged.

Thaddeus Stevens
Born April 4, 1792 — Died August 11, 1868

Lancaster, Pennsylvania sculptor, George K. Mummert was commissioned by College President William E. Griscom, Foundation President John A. Hackask, and foundation director Alex B. Munro on February 6, 2007 to sculpt in detail the Thaddeus Stevens Tribute in Bronze.

It is truly an honor and privilege to present this sculpture in remembrance of Thaddeus Stevens. May this monument serve to remind each one of us the great debt of gratitude we owe for his lifelong unbending fight for freedom & equality.

As sculptor & founder, I am grateful for the passionate and determined spirit of the many volunteers, assistants and contributors who have generously given help in the creation of the worthy tribute in bronze.

Thaddeus Stevens Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 12, 2019
6. Thaddeus Stevens Marker
K. Mummert
Sculptor & Founder

David Romanchock: Sculpture Assistant
Historical Text: Donald Rhoads, Ross Hetrick, and President William E. Griscom
1st Artist Rendering: Deirdre Foley Citro
2nd Artist Rendering: Delene S. Parmer
Erected 2008 by Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRArts, Letters, MusicCemeteries & Burial SitesCharity & Public Work. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #17 Andrew Johnson series list.
Location. 40° 2.304′ N, 76° 17.308′ W. Marker is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker is on Stevens Drive south of East King Street (Pennsylvania Route 462), on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 750 East King Street, Lancaster PA 17602, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. World War I Memorial (approx. half a mile away); Colonial Mansion (approx. 0.6 miles away); Henry Norwood "Barney" Ewell (approx. 0.7 miles away); George Ross (approx. 0.7 miles away); Monument to John Wise (approx. 0.7 miles away); Shippen House (approx.
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0.7 miles away); Sgt Joseph E Jackson (approx. ¾ mile away); First Presbyterian Church (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lancaster.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 13, 2019. It was originally submitted on July 13, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 159 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 13, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Mar. 6, 2021