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Copperheads  "Peace Democrats"
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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.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: 1860; abraham; copperheads; democratic; election; lincoln; party; presidential; republican; snake
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.
1 posted on 08/30/2005 3:40:14 AM PDT by tkathy
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To: tkathy

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.


2 posted on 08/30/2005 3:54:52 AM PDT by Past Your Eyes (Some people are too stupid to be ashamed.)
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To: tkathy
How the Copperheads Obtain Their Votes

Large version

Compromise with the South

Large version



3 posted on 08/30/2005 3:58:19 AM PDT by Skylab
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To: Past Your Eyes

The left really hated last year's election being compared to the 1864 campaign but the similarities were striking.


4 posted on 08/30/2005 4:09:23 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
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To: Past Your Eyes
The difference was that McClellan was actually a good soldier and that he was a self-made millionaire.
5 posted on 08/30/2005 4:11:40 AM PDT by iowamark
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To: tkathy

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.

6 posted on 08/30/2005 4:11:44 AM PDT by Libloather (Why are Democrats buried in nine foot graves? Deep down, they're good people...)
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To: tkathy

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.


7 posted on 08/30/2005 4:14:57 AM PDT by tkathy (Tyranny breeds terrorism. Freedom breeds peace.)
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To: iowamark
"The difference was that McClellan was actually a good soldier and that he was a self-made millionaire." ---Just think how much sooner the war would have ended if he had been a REALLY good soldier.
8 posted on 08/30/2005 4:16:40 AM PDT by Past Your Eyes (Some people are too stupid to be ashamed.)
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To: tkathy
The Peace Democrats were opposed to the war and would have accepted a negotiated peace resulting in an independent Confederacy.

To think, 145 years ago I would have voiced this prayer: "Lord help the peace democrats to carry the day..."

9 posted on 08/30/2005 4:18:16 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: newsgatherer

Ironic, ain't it. Well, for my part, I'm glad they didn't.


10 posted on 08/30/2005 4:24:16 AM PDT by Past Your Eyes (Some people are too stupid to be ashamed.)
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To: tkathy

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.


11 posted on 08/30/2005 5:15:00 AM PDT by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: tkathy

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.


12 posted on 08/30/2005 5:21:01 AM PDT by 6SJ7
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To: Past Your Eyes

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.


13 posted on 08/30/2005 5:51:53 AM PDT by katana
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To: Rodney King

"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.


14 posted on 08/30/2005 6:44:40 AM PDT by tkathy (Tyranny breeds terrorism. Freedom breeds peace.)
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To: iowamark

Yeah, but kerry had more medals!


15 posted on 08/30/2005 6:57:57 AM PDT by GadareneDemoniac
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To: tkathy
The Copperhead democrats were pro-slavery, preferring to let slavery continue unchecked, rather than bother themselves.
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.


16 posted on 08/30/2005 7:30:43 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters but PR.)
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