Sample Historical Essay Paper_The Hiss of the Copperhead.docx

Sample Historical Essay Paper_The Hiss of the Copperhead.docx

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1 The Hiss of the Copperhead: The Arrest, Trial, and Exile of Clement Vallandigham By: Victoria Bryant Stewart William Logan, editor of the Dayton Empire , wrote, “Vallandigham kidnapped! A dastardly outrage! Will free men submit? The hour for action has arrived,” following the arrest of Clement Vallandigham. 1 William Howard Russell, the Washington correspondent for the London Times , once described Clement Vallandigham as “an ultra Democrat” that was “very nearly a Secessionist.” 2 Russell’s diary further described Vallandigham as “a tall, slight man, of a bilious temperament, with light flashing eyes, dark hair and complexion, and considerable oratorical power.” 3 This description, written in July of 1861, captures significant aspects of Vallandigham, which include his political leanings and substantial public speaking abilities. These political leanings, his political ideologies, his stance on issues, and public orations regarding these beliefs ultimately brought Vallandigham before a military tribunal. His appearance before a military tribunal resulted from his alleged violation of a general order, which prohibited the utterance of controversial and defamatory statements that were pro-Confederate. Vallandigham had been closely watched since the Civil War began and was on the defensive. Members of the United States Congress and President Abraham Lincoln’s administration were ever vigilant to his statements and actions. 1 Dayton Empire, May 5, 1863. An extensive summation of local Ohio newspaper accounts surrounding Clement Vallandigham’s arrest can be found in the thesis of Arnold Michael Shankman. Arnold Michael Shankman,, “Candidate in Exile: Clement Vallandigham and the 1863 Ohio Gubernatorial Election,” M.A. Thesis, Emory University, 1969. 2 “The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries,” The University of Chicago, accessed March 28, 2012, . 3 “Civil War: Letters and Diaries,” ? c.1017:9:0:-1:2.cwld.74933 .
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2 Representative Clement Vallandigham (D-OH) eventually lost his legal battles, but these legal battles represent significant civil liberty issues during times of war and the implementation of restrictions on speech despite the First Amendment. Vallandigham’s case demonstrates the restrictions on speech, the limits placed upon the speaker, and the evaluation of intent of the speaker’s speech. Peter Irons asked, “But did the Constitution allow this distinction between peacetime and wartime speech?” 4 American history has shown that certain civil liberties have been compromised during times of national emergency or times of war. General Order Number 38, implemented by Major General Ambrose E. Burnside in April of 1863, sought to criminalize acts that assisted the Confederacy through various means. Harboring enemies or enemy recruitment officers, sending mail with questionable contents, providing various means of
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