Skip to comments.Copperheads "Peace Democrats"
Posted on 08/30/2005 3:40:14 AM PDT by tkathy
Copperheads "Peace Democrats"
Republican Abraham Lincoln was able to win the 1860 presidential election largely because the Democratic party had torn itself into several factions and could offer no united opposition. In the North the Democrats divided into two factions- the War Democrats and the Peace Democrats. Neither group agreed with the way the Republican administration conducted the war, but the War Democrats at least supported the fight for the Union.
The Peace Democrats were opposed to the war and would have accepted a negotiated peace resulting in an independent Confederacy. Most Peace Democrats were from the midwestern states of Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana, but political dissent was widespread throughout the North. Midwesterners had close economic and sentimental ties with the South, and many of them bitterly opposed the Union's war against what one of them called "the injured, incensed, downtrodden people of the South."
In 1861, Republicans started calling antiwar Democrats "copperheads", likening them to the poisonous snake. By 1863, the Peace Democrats had accepted the label, but for them the copper "head" was the likeness of Liberty on the copper penny, and they proudly wore pennies as badges.
The Copperheads mounted a forceful and sustained protest against the Lincoln administration's policies and conduct. The most popular of the Copperheads was Democratic Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham, who in 1862 introduced a bill in Congress to imprison the President. Instead, Vallandigham and a host of other Democrats, including judges, newspaper editors, politicians, and antiwar activists, were arrested and imprisoned without trial on the orders of Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton, who had decided to take off their gloves in dealing with persons "guilty of any disloyal practice".
Fascinating Fact: At the 1864 Democratic convention, Vallandigham persuaded the party to adopt a platform that declared the war a failure and called for negotiations with the Confederacy.
It seems to me that there were many similarities between the presidential elections of 1864 and 2004. John Freekin Kerry was about as much of a war hero as George Brinton McClellan. Maybe some day they'll name a fort after him, too.
The left really hated last year's election being compared to the 1864 campaign but the similarities were striking.
RAT Snakes are found in forests, fields, marshes, and farmland. In the spring and fall, these snakes are very active during the day; in the summer they are more active at night.
RAT Snakes are not poisonous, and are not interested in humans, but they will bite if threatened. People often kill RAT Snakes because they fear their large size.
Like all snakes, RAT Snakes use their tongues to "taste" the air.
In the winter, RAT Snakes hibernate in a den, often with other species of snakes, such as the Copperhead.
The Copperhead democrats were pro-slavery, preferring to let slavery continue unchecked, rather than bother themselves.
Great parallels with today's neocopperhead democrats who prefer terrorism unchecked rather than bother themselves.
To think, 145 years ago I would have voiced this prayer: "Lord help the peace democrats to carry the day..."
Ironic, ain't it. Well, for my part, I'm glad they didn't.
Terrible analogy. Not even close. The earlier group didn't want to see men drafted to fight other Americans for the purpose of establishing once and for all a federal government of near unlimited power.
The current group simply hates our country.
Good post on historical modus-operndi of many democrats through history. Their response, no matter what principle is at steak, appease. Those suffering the disease of 'moral relativism' have no principles, so there never is a time to take a stand.
McClellan was no great general but Kerry, an incompetent commander of a brown water gun boat, wouldn't amount to a pimple on his backside. If McClellan had done some of the things Kerry did, i.e. meet with Confederate officials to discuss a cessation of the war, fabricate reports of wounds in order to obtain decorations, summarily execute a badly wounded enemy combatant, he'd have been hung or shot at dawn.
"Terrible analogy. Not even close. The earlier group didn't want to see men drafted to fight other Americans for the purpose of establishing once and for all a federal government of near unlimited power."
I disagree. The earlier group of copperhead democrats was pro slavery.
Yeah, but kerry had more medals!
Thomas Sowell's take on it is interesting - well, it would be! In Black Rednecks and White Liberals, he makes the point that before the Civil War the Abolitionists were considered extremists, in the North as in the South. And for essentially the same reason that we consider "antiwar" Democrats extreme today. Namely that, precisely because the blacks were people who had been treated execrably, aboliton was seriously dangerous. There was serious danger of a race war if that many aggrieved people were allowed the freedom to undertake revenge.
20-20 hindsight would tell you that a race war wouldn't likely have killed more Americans than the Civil War did but then, that wasn't known when people blundered into the Civil War.
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