Mount Vernon in Knox County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Vallandigham's Speech, 1863
On May 1, 1863, Peace Democratic Party leader Clement L. Vallandigham spoke to 10,000 people from this spot. Vallandigham's party, known by their opponents as "Copperheads," opposed the Civil War as an encroachment on both individuals' and states' rights, and favored a peaceful settlement with the Confederacy. Shortly after the beginning of the war, President Lincoln had suspended the writ of habeas corpus, which requires the state to show cause for arrest, as an emergency wartime measure. Peace Democrats viewed the suspension as unconstitutional. Vallandigham's speech intentionally tested the stringent wartime laws against "implied treason."
(Continued on other side)
(Continued from other side)
After two years of bloody battles with few Union victories, the Lincoln administration faced losing influence in several northern states. Lincoln once confided that he feared "the fire in the rear" (a reference to Midwestern dissent) as a greater threat to the Union than military reverses. General Ambrose Burnside ordered Vallandigham arrested; subsequently Lincoln banished him to the South. Vallandigham evaded the federal naval blockade and traveled to Canada, where he campaigned in exile for the governorship of Ohio. Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in July 1863 defused the Peace
Erected 2000 by Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, Sons of Union Veterans of Knox County, and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 5-42.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection marker series.
Location. 40° 23.62′ N, 82° 29.167′ W. Marker is in Mount Vernon, Ohio, in Knox County. Marker is at the intersection of High Street (U.S. 36) and Public Square, on the left when traveling east on High Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mount Vernon OH 43050, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Civil War Soldiers Monument (here, next to this marker); Knox County Veterans Walk of Honor (within shouting distance of this marker); Mary Ann Ball (within shouting distance of this marker); Johnny Appleseed's Early Landholdings (approx. 0.3 miles away); Little Indian Fields (approx. 1.2 miles away); Mt. Vernon (approx. 1.4 miles away); Lakeholm Administration Building (approx. 1.7 miles away); Mount Vernon Veterans Memorial (approx. 3.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Mount Vernon.
Also see . . .
1. Clement L. Vallandingham. Biographical entry for Vallandingham.
2. The Fire in the Rear. Part of the New York Times Disunion Series, Rick Beard's article (5/8/2013)tells the story of Clement Vallandigham, his speech, arrest, expulsion to the Confederacy, and exile. On his return from exile:" While in Canada, Vallandigham also joined in a harebrained plot by the secret group the Sons of Liberty to overthrow the state governments in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois and form a Northwestern Confederacy. The Confederate government provided $500,000 to purchase guns, which were to be used by Confederates held in Northern prisons. The arrest of Vallandigham when he returned to the United States was to be the signal to launch this insurrection. Return he did, on June 14, 1864, but Lincoln elected not to arrest him and the plan fizzled."
Categories. • Civil Rights • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page originally submitted on October 20, 2008, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 3,295 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 20, 2008, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.