There are periods in the history of nations when statesmen can make themselves names for posterity; but such occasions are never improved by cowards. In the acquisition of true fame courage is just as necessary in the civilian as in the military hero. In the Reformation there were men engaged as able and perhaps more learned than Martin Luther. Melancthon and others were ripe scholars and sincere reformers, but none of them had his courage. He alone was willing to go where duty called though" devils were as thick as the tiles on the houses." And Luther is the great luminary of the Reformation, around whom the others revolve as satellites and shine by his light. We may not aspire to fame. But great events fix the eye of history on small objects and magnify their meanness. Let us at least escape that condition.
-Thaddeus Stevens, 1867