After 4 Years in Iraq, Copperhead Resurgence Complete
Although the country’s sacrifice was much greater in 1864 than it is today, the democratic platform remains unchanged.
Today’s democrats are much like the copperheads of 1864 who wanted to quit then, too.
This picture from a famous Thomas Nast illustration that exposed the hypocrisy of the 1864 Democratic Platform….
While totally undermining the Union Army, and what it was trying to do, the Chicago Platform went on to allege its support of the individual soldiers and their families. (Son of the South)
Mackubin Thomas Owens at National Review Online today reminds us of the… Copperheads Then and Now
While recovering from surgery recently, I had the good fortune to read a fine new book about political dissent in the North during the Civil War. The book, Copperheads: The Rise an Fall of Lincoln’s Opponents in the North, by journalist-turned-academic-historian Jennifer Weber, shines the spotlight on the “Peace Democrats,” who did everything they could to obstruct the Union war effort during the Rebellion. In so doing, she corrects a number of claims that have become part of the conventional wisdom. The historical record aside, what struck me the most were the similarities between the rhetoric and actions of the Copperheads a century and a half ago and Democratic opponents of the Iraq war today…
In the long run, the Democratic party was badly hurt by the Copperheads. Their actions radically politicized Union soldiers, turning into stalwart Republicans many who had strongly supported the Democratic party’s opposition to emancipation as a goal of the war. As the Democrats were reminded for many years after the war, the Copperheads had made a powerful enemy of the Union veterans.
The fact is that many Union soldiers came to despise the Copperheads more than they disdained the Rebels. In the words of an assistant surgeon of an Iowa regiment, “it is a common saying here that if we are whipped, it will be by Northern votes, not by Southern bullets. The army regard the result of the late [fall 1862] elections as at least prolonging the war.”
Weber quotes the response of a group of Indiana soldiers to letters from Copperhead “friends” back home:
Your letter shows you to be a cowardly traitor. No traitor can be my friend; if you cannot renounce your allegiance to the Copperhead scoundrels and own your allegiance to the Government which has always protected you, you are my enemy, and I wish you were in the ranks of my open, avowed, and manly enemies, that I might put a ball through your black heart, and send your soul to the Arch Rebel himself.
It is certain that the Union soldiers tired of hearing from the Copperheads that the Rebels could not be defeated. They surely tired of being described by the Copperheads as instruments of a tyrannical administration trampling the legitimate rights of the Southern states. The soldiers seemed to understand fairly quickly that the Copperheads preferred Lincoln’s failure to the country’s success. They also recognized that the Copperheads offered no viable alternative to Lincoln’s policy except to stop the war. Does any of this sound familiar?
Today, Democratic opponents of the Iraq war echo the rhetoric of the Copperheads. As Lincoln was a bloodthirsty tyrant, trampling the rights of Southerners and Northerners alike, President Bush is the world’s worst terrorist, comparable to Hitler.
Hat Tip to Dave Clark
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