James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
of the Golden Circle. In the Western States, at all events, the words Democrat and Copperhead became, after the middle of January , practically synonymous, and the cognomen, applied as a reproach, was assumed with pride. The War Democrats, in contradistinction from those who favored peace, acted at elections in the main with the Republicans, voting the Union ticket, as it was called in most of the States. It may be safely said that practically all the men who adhered with fidelity and enthusiasm to the Democratic organization and name found a spokesman in either Horatio Seymour of New York or Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio, both of whom had the peculiar ability required for political leadership. The tendency of the Eastern Democrats was to range themselves with Seymour whilst the Western Democrats were attracted by the more extreme views of Vallandigham.
Under any constitutional government, where speech and the press are free, the necessity should be readily admitted of an opposition in time of war, even when the Ship of State is in distress. It is not difficult to define a correct policy for the Democrats during the civil conflict, when, as was conceded by everyone, the republic was in great danger. In Congress they should have coöperated to the full extent of their power with the dominant party in its effort to raise men and money to carry on the war; and in any opposition they ought to have taken the tone, not of party objection, but of friendly criticism, with the end in view of perfecting rather than defeating the necessary bills. While in the session of Congress that ended March 4, 1863, they failed to rise to this height, they did not, on the other hand, pursue a policy of obstruction that would be troublesome if not pernicious. For that matter it is doubtful if obstructive tactics could have prevailed against the able and