From a Speech in Congress
We have put the sword into one hand of our generals and shackles into the other. Freemen are not inspirited by such mingled music…. Give him the sword in one hand, and the book of freedom in the other… and the blood of every freeman would boil with enthusiasm, and his nerves be strengthened in this holy warfare… and he will soon sweep despotism and rebellion from every corner of this continent….
The occasion is forced upon us, and the invitation presented, to strike the chains from four millions of human beings, and create them MEN; to extinguish slavery on this whole continent; to wipe out, so far as we are concerned, the most hateful and infernal blot that ever disgraced the escutcheon of man; to write a page in the history of the world whose brightness shall eclipse all the records of heroes and of sages.
-Thaddeus Stevens, in Congress, January 22, 1862