Vallandigham, Clement Laird

Vallandigham, Clement Laird

(vəlăn`dĭghăm', –găm'), 1820–71, American political leader, leader of the CopperheadsCopperheads,
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.
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 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 Empire, a Democratic weekly. A strong upholder of states' rights, Vallandigham was a U.S. Representative from 1858 to 1863, being defeated for reelection in 1862. On May 1, 1863, in a political speech at Mt. Vernon, Ohio, he declared, among other things, that the Civil War was being fought not to save the Union but to free the blacks and enslave the whites. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, then commanding the Dept. of the Ohio, accused him of violating "General Order No. 38," which threatened punishment for those declaring sympathy for the enemy, and Vallandigham was arrested, court-martialed, and sentenced to imprisonment for the rest of the war. President Lincoln commuted the sentence to banishment behind Confederate lines. The Peace Democrats of Ohio nevertheless nominated (July, 1863) Vallandigham for governor, but he was defeated by John BroughBrough, John
, 1811–65, Civil War governor of Ohio (1864–65), b. Marietta, Ohio. In 1844, after publishing newspapers in Marietta and Lancaster, he became owner and editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer,
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. He made his way from the Confederacy to Canada, and from there he returned to the United States and was allowed to go unmolested. In the presidential campaign of 1864, the Democratic platform, representing his views, demanded immediate cessation of hostilities. Made commander of the Sons of Liberty (see 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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), he was the most prominent of the Copperheads. After the war he was an unsuccessful aspirant to Congress.

Bibliography

See biography by his brother, J. L. Vallandigham (1872, repr. 1972); study by F. L. Klement (1970).

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Vallandigham, Clement Laird

(1820–71) politician; born in New Lisbon, Ohio. Of southern ancestry, a supporter of state's rights, and an ardent antiabolitionist, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives (Dem. Ohio; 1858–63) opposing the Republicans at every step. After the outbreak of the Civil War he became a leader of the Peace Democrats—better known as the Copperheads. A military court convicted him of treason in May 1863, and Lincoln ordered him banished from the North. He ran for governor of Ohio in absentia later in 1863 and was soundly defeated. Returning to Ohio in June 1864 via Canada and the South, he prepared the peace plank in the Democrats' 1864 presidential platform. He worked after the war for reconciliation between the North and South.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.