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Clement Vallandigham

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 5 years, 7 months ago

 

 

 

 

Copperhead, a movie set to open this coming Friday, June 28, grapples with one of these complicated truths: Northern opposition to the war. This is a truly unique Civil War movie. There are no battle scenes; no exploration of different campaigns and the military logic that informed them. Rather, this movie explores the politically uncomfortable realities – the divergence of interests and opinions, of rhetoric versus reality, and the social upheavals – that accompany major conflict. It may not change your view on the Civil War, but certainly challenges orthodox thinking, and deepens our understanding of an aspect that is rarely mentioned.

 

Copperheads were the derogatory name given by Republicans to “Peace Democrats,” a wing of the Democratic Party that opposed the Civil War. While Republicans were referring to the poisonous snake of that name, Copperheads responded by defiantly wearing lady liberty lapel buttons cut from copperhead pennies. They wielded a fair amount of influence, especially in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, but their protest was felt throughout the North. Most Copperheads believed the war was unconstitutional and destructive, and that Lincoln was abusing his power. Some low-income laborers, for example in the coal fields of Pennsylvania, also saw liberation of the slaves as a threat to their jobs. Prominent leaders included Ohio Representative Clement Vallandigham.

 

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