Ever hear of Thaddeus Stevens? He's the lawyer, legislator, and philanthropist whose legacy is championing free public education in Pennsylvania. Born in 1792, in Vermont, to extreme hardship (alcoholic dad, poverty, physical disability), education, beginning in a one-room schoolhouse, became his ticket to the show.
Today, Stevens would be described as a bleeding-heart liberal with a chip on his shoulder. He was also a joker, as well as an anti-Mason whose funeral was attended by scores of "black free men."
Stevens is a colorful character with admirable character traits, for sure. But this fierce egalitarian blindly championed an educational system that now subsidizes bullies and scoundrels and dumbs down the less affluent. The very things he abhorred.