“Lincoln,” the new Steven Spielberg film starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role and Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, presents a more positive picture of Stevens than has been previously seen in cinema.
In his 2004 memoir, “Chronicles, Volume One,” Dylan said Stevens and the Civil War provided the “template” on which he created his songs. Dylan said he read Stevens’ biography as a young man. He found that the abolitionist “grew up poor, made a fortune and from then on championed the weak and any other group who wasn’t able to fight equally. Stevens had a grim sense of humor, a sharp tongue and a white-hot hatred for the bloated aristocrats of his day.”