Copperheads: The Rise and Fall of Lincoln's Opponents in the by Jennifer L. Weber

By Jennifer L. Weber

If Civil struggle battlefields observed gigantic carnage, the Northern home-front was once itself faraway from tranquil. Fierce political debates set groups on area, spurred mystery plots opposed to the Union, and caused common violence, reminiscent of the hot York urban draft riots. And on the middle of all this turmoil stood Northern anti-war Democrats, nicknamed "Copperheads." Now, Jennifer L. Weber bargains the 1st full-length portrait of this robust faction to seem in nearly part a century. Weber unearths how the Copperheads got here perilously on the subject of defeating Lincoln and finishing the conflict within the South's desire. certainly, via the summer season of 1864, they'd grown so robust that Lincoln himself concept his defeat used to be "exceedingly likely." Passionate defenders of civil liberties and states' rights--and frequently virulent racists--the Copperheads deplored Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, his liberal interpretation of the structure, and, such a lot vehemently, his strikes towards emancipation. Weber finds how the conflict over those matters grew so heated, quite within the Midwest, that Northerners feared their friends might smash their farm animals, burn their houses, even kill them. certainly, a few Copperheads went as far as to conspire with accomplice forces and plan armed insurrections, together with an try and release an rebellion in the course of the Democratic conference in Chicago. ultimately, Weber illuminates the function of Union infantrymen, who, livid at Copperhead assaults at the warfare attempt, moved firmly at the back of Lincoln. the warriors' aid for the embattled president saved him alive politically in his darkest instances, and their victories at the battlefield secured his re-election. Disgraced after the struggle, the Copperheads melted into the shadows of historical past. the following, Jennifer L. Weber illuminates their dramatic tale. jam-packed with sharp remark and clean interpretations, Copperheads is a gripping account of the fierce dissent that Lincoln known as "the hearth within the rear."

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Extra resources for Copperheads: The Rise and Fall of Lincoln's Opponents in the North

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Dissidents disputed the president’s policies loudly, immediately, and sometimes violently, and they terrorized many of their Unionist neighbors with threats of what they planned to do on behalf of the Confederacy or in defense of the Constitution. While they generally had little national attention, they were well known in areas where they were active. They represented the first phase, and the hard core, of the Copperhead movement. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know how many people were part of the opposition, or what percentage of the country they represented, at this point in the war or later.

Any explanations upon the subject, which you may offer, would be acceptable,” Seward wrote. Allegations of treachery led to extraordinary proclamations of loyalty. In Chicago, the publisher of the Daily Chicago Times, Cyrus McCormick, responded to threats that the paper would be sacked with a front-page letter to readers. Though he had been born and raised in the South, he assured them, “I am a citizen of Illinois and of the United States, and as such shall bear true 22 COPPERHEADS allegiance to the Government.

In Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Democratic and Republican poles were taken down, spliced, and reerected as a symbol of unity. The message that political differences were to be set aside was most potent coming from Senator Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln’s longtime political rival in Illinois. He now stood squarely behind the president. “There can be but two parties, the party of patriots and the party of traitors. ” Douglas, the North’s leading Democrat, was unrelenting in his belief that anyone who did not back the president and his war policies was a turncoat.

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