Copperhead: Words That Got a U.S. Congressman Deported by Thomas DiLorenzo
Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham (D-Ohio) was the original American "whistleblower." Serving as a member of Congress from Dayton, Ohio during the War to Prevent Southern Independence, his criticisms of the Lincoln regime earned him the reputation as the leader of the Democratic opposition. The Republican Party smeared him (and all other opponents as a "copperhead" (a.k.a. snake in the grass). On May 5, 1863, sixty-seven heavily-armed soldiers broke into his home in the middle of the night and dragged him off to a military prison. This was done without any due process, as Lincoln had long ago illegally suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus. He was said to be guilty of "discouraging enlistments" in the army with his criticisms of the Lincoln regime. A military order issued in the state of Ohio declared all such speech to be illegal, and military officers were to have dictatorial powers in deciding what kind of speech would be permitted there. All of this was of course done at the direction of Abraham Lincoln.