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in the American Civil War, a reproachful term for those Northerners sympathetic to the South, mostly Democrats outspoken in their opposition to the Lincoln administration. They were especially strong in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, where Clement L. VallandighamVallandigham, Clement Laird
, 1820–71, American political leader, leader of the Copperheads in the Civil War, b. New Lisbon (now Lisbon), Ohio. He became (1842) a lawyer, was elected to the Ohio legislature (1845, 1846), and was editor (1847–49) of the Dayton
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 was their leader. The Knights of the Golden CircleKnights of the Golden Circle,
secret order of Southern sympathizers in the North during the Civil War. Its members were known as Copperheads. Dr. George W. L. Bickley, a Virginian who had moved to Ohio, organized the first "castle," or local branch, in Cincinnati in 1854 and
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 was a Copperhead secret society. The term was often applied indiscriminately to all Democrats who opposed the administration. It afforded an opportunity for impugning the loyalty of those who opposed Lincoln's policies, either military or civil (e.g., the suspension of habeas corpus), and it was not until years after the Civil War that the Democratic party succeeded in living down the association.


See W. Gray, The Hidden Civil War (1942); F. L. Klement, The Copperheads in the Middle West (1960).

References in periodicals archive ?
Copperhead snakes bite more people in than any other snake species in the United States, according to the (http://www.
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The first two movies are a cinematic presentation of why good men choose to fight," while Copperhead is an effort "to explore cinematically, why good and honorable, ethical, moral men choose not to go to war," Maxwell said.
The movie is narrated by one who stayed behind, an orphan named Jimmy (Josh Cruddas), who lives with the Copperhead Beeches.
State herpetologist Pete Mirick notes copperheads have never killed anyone.
Initially comprised of strict constitutional constructionists, Copperheads embraced the legality of secession but rejected Lincoln's expanded wartime powers and the resulting suspension of habeas corpus; declarations of martial law; censoring of the press and mail; use of military tribunals rather than civil courts; conscription; the creation of a huge bureaucracy; and, perhaps most passionately, emancipation.
A copperhead is as poisonous as a rattler and naturally, doesn't like to be stepped on and squashed flat.
Copperheads are blamed for most bites seen in emergency rooms.
Her book, Copperheads, will be published next year by Oxford University Press.
He was convinced that those opposed to the Union were led by "a few evil fanatics" and from this viewpoint he pursued not only the Copperheads during the war, but, with ever increasing determination, those whom he held responsible for the death of Lincoln as well as those responsible for the atrocities of the prisoner-of-war camps.