Thaddeus Stevens Quotes in Lincoln (2012)


Thaddeus Stevens Quotes:

  • Thaddeus Stevens: Trust? Gentlemen, you seem to have forgotten that our chosen career is politics.

  • Thaddeus Stevens: How can I hold that all men are created equal when here before me stands, stinking, the moral carcass of the gentleman from Ohio? Proof that some men ARE inferior, endowed by their maker with dim wits, impermeable to reason, with cold, pallid slime in their veins instead of hot, red blood! YOU are more reptile than man, George, so low and flat that the foot of man is incapable of crushing you!

    George Pendleton: How dare you!

    Thaddeus Stevens: Yet even YOU, Pendleton - who should have been gibbetted for treason long before today - even worthless, unworthy you ought to be treated equally before the law! And so again, sir, and again and again and again, I say, I do not hold with equality in all things, only with equality before the law!

  • Thaddeus Stevens: The greatest measure of the Nineteenth Century. Passed by corruption, aided and abetted by the purest man in America.

  • Thaddeus Stevens: Slavery is the only insult to the natural law, you fatuous nincompoop.

  • Thaddeus Stevens: When will Mr. Wood conclude his interminable gabble? Some of us breathe oxygen, and we find the mephitic fumes of his oratory a lethal challenge to our pulmonary capabilities.

  • Thaddeus Stevens: I don't hold with equality in all things, just equality before the law, nothing more.

  • Thaddeus Stevens: [responding to a knock at the door] It opens!

  • Thaddeus Stevens: You are a democrat. What's the matter with you? Are you wicked?

  • Thaddeus Stevens: I haven't noticed you. I'm a Republican, and you, Coughdrop, are a Democrat?

  • Thaddeus Stevens: Lincoln the inveterate dawdler, Lincoln the Southerner, Lincoln the capitulating compromiser, our adversary, and leader of the God forsaken Republican Party, our party... Abraham Lincoln has asked us to work with him to accomplish the death of slavery in America. Retain, even in opposition, your capacity for astonishment.

  • Abraham Lincoln: When the people disagree, bringing them together requires going slow until they're ready to...

    Thaddeus Stevens: Shit on the people and what they want and what they're ready for. I don't give a goddamn about the people and what they want. This is the face of someone who has fought long and hard for the *good* of the people without caring much for any of 'em. And now I look a lot worse without my wig.

  • Thaddeus Stevens: It's late, I'm old and I'm going home.

  • Thaddeus Stevens: Nothing surprises you, Asa, therefore nothing about you is surprising. Perhaps that is why your constituents did not re-elect you to the coming term.

  • Thaddeus Stevens: What violates natural law? Slavery and you! Pendleton, you insult God. You unnatural noise.

  • Asa Vintner Litton: Have you lost your very soul, Mr. Stevens? Is there nothing you won't say?

    Thaddeus Stevens: I'm sorry you're nauseous, Asa. That must be unpleasant. I want the amendment to pass, so that the constitution's first and only mention of slavery is its absolute prohibition. For this amendment, for which I have worked all my life and for which countless colored men and women have fought and died and now hundreds of thousands of soldiers... No, sir, no, it seems there's very nearly nothing I won't say.

  • Thaddeus Stevens: [to Lincoln] The people elected me to represent them, to lead them, and I lead. You ought to try it.

  • Thaddeus Stevens: As long as your household accounts are in order, Madam, we have no need to investigate them.

    Mary Todd Lincoln: You have always taken such a lively, even prosecutorial interest in my household accounts, Mr. Stevens.

    Thaddeus Stevens: Your household accounts have always been so interesting.

    Mary Todd Lincoln: Yes, thank you, it's true. The miracles I have wrought out of fertilizer bills and cutlery invoices, but I had to. Four years ago, when the President and I arrived, this was a pure pigsty. Tobacco stains in the carpets, mushrooms sprouting from the ceilings! And a pauper's pittance allotted for improvements. As if your committee joined with all of Washington waiting, in what you anticipated to be our comfort in squalor, further proof that my husband and I were prairie primitives, unsuited to the position to which an error of the people, a flaw in the democratic process, had elevated us.

  • Thaddeus Stevens: The people elected me to represent them, to lead them, and I lead. You ought to try it.

    Abraham Lincoln: I admire your zeal, Mr. Stevens, and I have tried to profit from the example of it. But if I'd listened to you, I'd have declared every slave free the minute the first shell struck Fort Sumter. Then the border states would've gone over to the Confederacy, the war would've been lost and the Union along with it, and instead of abolishing slavery, as we hope to do in two weeks, we'd be watching helpless as infants as it spread from the American South into South America.

    Thaddeus Stevens: Oh, how you have longed to say that to me. You claim you trust them, but you know what the people are. You know that the inner compass that should direct the soul toward justice has ossified in white men and women, North and South, unto utter uselessness through tolerating the evil of slavery. White people cannot bear the thought of sharing this country's infinite abundance with Negroes.

    Abraham Lincoln: A compass, I learned when I was surveying, it'll... it'll point you true north from where you're standing, but it's got no advice about the swamps, deserts and chasms that you'll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination, you plunge ahead heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp... what's the use of knowing true north?

  • Thaddeus Stevens: You're a great stickler for the Constitution, aren't you?

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