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1863 October 24: Read This Before You Vote!

October 29, 2013

The Polk County Press printed this editorial in its October 24, 1863, issue.

Read this before you Vote.

How often do we hear men professing to be Democrats assert that every action of the present Democratic Party has been loyal since the war began.  Here in Polk county the leaders profess to be “War Democrats” but they support the Palmer Ticket [Henry L. Palmer], the nominees and platform of which endorse Vallandigham [Clement L. Vallandigham], and go in company with the Democracy of other States.  Hear what the principle exponents of that party give utterance to in this and other States.  No honest man can read them without shame that such doctrine can be professed in America :

“Negro slavery is the foundation of liberty and the essence of democracy.”—New York Day Book, Wood’s organ.¹

“There has never been anything called for by the South, and there cannot be, that I would not willingly consent to.”—Speech of Sat. Clark,² Wisconsin State Senator, March, 18-62.

“History will relate that we, the North, manufactured the conflict, forced it to hot-bed precocity, nourished, and invited it.”—Detroit Free Press, April 16th, 1863.

“We tell them (Congress) that a Cromwell will rise in their midst before they progress too far, who will bring their head to the block without delay or mercy.”—Free Press, March 24.

“I say to you, my constituents, that as your representative, I will never vote one dollar, one man, or one gun to the Administration of Abraham Lincoln to make war upon the South.”—D. W. Voorhies [sic],³ M. C. 7th Dia. Ind., April, 1861.

“The Democracy will yet teach Abe Lincoln and his co-usurpers that the ways of the transgressors is not easy.”—Hon. A. C. Dodge, of Iowa.

“This is a dammed abolition war.  We believe Abe Lincoln is as much of a traitor as Jeff. Davis.”—Ashland Democrat, Ohio.

“The President and his Cabinet were never worthy of the confidence of the nation.  The Democratic party should never have gived [sic] its assent to the appeal to the sword after the affair at Fort Sumpter [sic].”—Detroit Free Press, Aug., 1863.

The Crawford Co. Forum, Minn., referring to our soldiers says:

“It (the administration) has put arms in the hands of outlaws, thieves, murderers and traitors.”

The Democratic Press, Taylorville, Ill., speaking of the republican party and the army, says:

“In power less than a year it has spent millions of the people’s money, and five hundred thousand men are employed to steal negroes from their Southern masters.”

“If the North and South are ever re-united, we predict it will be when the Confederate States North Shall adopt their new Constitution, (of Jeff. Davis,) or something very near like it.  There’s a good time coming, boys.”—Van Buren Co. Press, at Paw Paw, Mich.

“Why this expenditure of more blood and treasure in a hopeless enterprise—why blame them for being traitors?  We cannot see why.”—Detroit Free Press.

“There, sir, is the damnable abolitionist who administers the government.  The people ought to raise up and by physical force hurl him from the chair of the Government.  in the eyes of God and men, the people would be justified.  They should do it, and I will go with them.”—Judge Pratt’s Speech in the Michigan Legislature, Feb. 12th, 1863.

George W. Peck, Democratic Member of Congress from Michigan, in a speech before the Lansing Democratic Association, March 1863, said:

“You black republicans begun this war. You have carried it on for two years.  You have sent your hell hounds down south to devastate the country—and what have you done?  You have not conquered the South.  You never can conquer them.  And why? Because they are our brethren, and are fighting for their liberties.”

John H. George, N. H. democratic nominee for Congress, declared:

“I won’t do anything to sustain the President, Congress, or any of the piratical crew that have control of this government.  I won’t do any thing that can, in any way, [be] interpreted as supporting this war.”

1.  Benjamin Wood (1820-1900), brother of New York City Mayor Fernando Wood, was the editor and publisher of the New York Daily News (not the same as the current newspaper of that title). In 1861 the federal government effectively shut down the paper for being sympathetic with the enemy. Wood was able to re-open the paper 18 months later. While it was closed, he wrote the novel Fort Lafayette or, Love and Secession. Wood was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Congresses, serving 1861-1865 and 1881-1883, and to the New York State Senate in 1866 and 1867.
2. Satterlee Clark (1816-1881) was a Wisconsin pioneer Indian trader and later politician. A Democrat, he was state assemblyman from Marquette County (1849), from Dodge County (1873), and represented Dodge County in the state senate (1862-1872). Outspoken in his political views, he vigorously opposed the Civil War and frequently praised the Confederate leader, Jefferson Davis, whom he had known briefly at Fort Winnebago. Although Clark took pride in his notoriety as a Copperhead, his warm personality and tendency toward exaggeration led many of his contemporaries to excuse his pro-Southern beliefs. For more on Clark, see his entry in the Dictionary of Wisconsin History.
3. Daniel W. Voorhees (1827-1897) was a lawyer from Indiana, who was also a leader of the Democratic party and an anti-war Copperhead, although not so radical as Clement Vallandigham and others. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1861-1866 and 1869-1873) and the U.S. Senate (1877-1897) from Indiana.

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