April 20, 2006

The Hysterics of Our Contemporary Copperheads

Go where desertion is no crime --
Where loyalty is dead
Where sad disaster gives no pain;
There is the Copperhead.
Go where foul scorn is heaped upon
Our noble boys, who go
To stand a wall of fire between
Us and our traitor foe:
Go where bold Grant's revilers are --
Where Burnside is defamed;
Where Banks and Butler -- noble names! --
In scorn alone are named:
Go where patriotic pride,
Honor, and Truth are dead --
Where our success brings but despair;
There is the Copperhead.

-- From "Where is the Copperhead? "
Harper's Weekly, September, 1863

"I believe . . . that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week."--Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, April 19, 2007

"Resolved, that this convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretence of military necessity, or war power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate convention of the States or other peaceable means, to the end that at the earliest practicable moment peace may be restored on the basis of the federal Union of the States."--1864 Democratic platform

So far the opposition's only resonance with the American people follows from its line about national self-interest (i.e., better to spend the money here at home on Americans who appreciate it). But if the administration will counter that mantra and daily explain why Iraq is the landmark event of the last 20 years, then these new shameful Copperheads [*Emphasis added. See below] will evaporate as the economy improves and Iraq is stabilized, leaving the Democratic party in the same state of bitter disarray that followed the catastrophic McGovern bid in 1972, which also offered angry protests but no concrete alternative policy.

Removing dictators and implanting democracies, after all, used to be just as much a Democratic idea as was the use of force to ensure national security in a world of dangerous and criminal tyrants. But now the sorry crop of would-be presidents resembles Republican antiwar contenders circa early 1939, who would have been outraged had we agreed to join Britain in stopping a nascent Hitler in Poland and France. We can imagine that the logic of the present hysteria would have led a Howard Dean and company in the dark days of early 1943 to hold press conferences damning those who got us into North Africa or the skies over Germany ("What do all these unnecessary B-17 deaths have to do with December 7?")

-- Victor Davis Hanson in "The Event of the Age"

Who were the original Copperheads? Here's a definition with disturbing parallels:

Copperheads "Peace Democrats"

Republican Abraham Lincoln was able to win the 1860 presidential election largely because the Democratic party had torn itself into several factions and could offer no united opposition. In the North the Democrats divided into two factions- the War Democrats and the Peace Democrats. Neither group agreed with the way the Republican administration conducted the war, but the War Democrats at least supported the fight for the Union.

The Peace Democrats were opposed to the war and would have accepted a negotiated peace resulting in an independent Confederacy. Most Peace Democrats were from the midwestern states of Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana, but political dissent was widespread throughout the North. Midwesterners had close economic and sentimental ties with the South, and many of them bitterly opposed the Union's war against what one of them called "the injured, incensed, downtrodden people of the South."

In 1861, Republicans started calling antiwar Democrats "copperheads", likening them to the poisonous snake. By 1863, the Peace Democrats had accepted the label, but for them the copper "head" was the likeness of Liberty on the copper penny, and they proudly wore pennies as badges.

The Copperheads mounted a forceful and sustained protest against the Lincoln administration's policies and conduct. The most popular of the Copperheads was Democratic Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham, who in 1862 introduced a bill in Congress to imprison the President. Instead, Vallandigham and a host of other Democrats, including judges, newspaper editors, politicians, and antiwar activists, were arrested and imprisoned without trial on the orders of Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton, who had decided to take off their gloves in dealing with persons "guilty of any disloyal practice".

Fascinating Fact: At the 1864 Democratic convention, Vallandigham persuaded the party to adopt a platform that declared the war a failure and called for negotiations with the Confederacy.


Posted by Van der Leun at April 20, 2006 8:24 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

What can I say? You've hit the nail square. The socialists can't grasp any of this since they can't see much past Trotsky. Can we trust our children's safety to these snakes?

Posted by: JD at April 21, 2007 6:09 AM

"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to bought at the price of chains and slavery?" For many, at least for Harry Reid and friends, it is apparently so.

Who do these pols go to for information about the war? Do they rely on the Defense Department, the CIA, the President, or..........the MSM?

Whenever I get my Iraq news from the MSM, my morale goes straight into the shitter. Then I hit my bloggers.......Michael Yon, Bill Roggio, Iraq the Model, Acute Politics, Black Five, and more. That's when I realize that it's tough sledding in the sandbox, but we're actually winning. When the guys (and gals) with boots on the ground start saying it's over and not worth spending more blood and treasure, then I'll start saying maybe it's over.

Until then........Harry Reid and friends...Copperheads is too nice a name for you.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at April 21, 2007 8:07 PM

Great quotes!

btw: i first posted on copperheads and the iraq war in june 2006.



Posted by: reliapundit at April 21, 2007 9:48 PM


I clock in on December 4, 2003 at

The Copperheads of the Civil War

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at April 22, 2007 10:08 AM