HOT BLAST: A question of Civil War history
Jul 22, 2013 | 1658 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
"The Copperheads were the northern antiwar faction of the Democratic Party that demanded an immediate peace with the Confederacy," writes Sidney Blumenthal in an Atlantic essay, Romanticizing the Villains of the Civil War. "The Democratic Party had splintered after the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 that opened the territories to a contest over whether they would be free or slave. It was now a party thoroughly dominated by the South and in which the only northern men that thrived within it were famously 'Northern men with Southern sympathies.' "

Blumenthal, a Clinton administration adviser, compares a new film based on the Copperheads to Gone With The Wind: 

Copperhead, the newly released Civil War movie directed by Ron Maxwell, lacks the scope, star power and drama of the all-time blockbuster. But it's in a tributary of the tradition -- stretching from Gone with the Wind through Maxwell's ponderous Gods and Generals -- of Lost Cause mythology. The story takes a few liberties with an obscure late-19th-century novella based on a completely fabricated and otherwise unlikely incident in upstate New York in order to offer an alternative interpretation of the Civil War: that Abraham Lincoln was a bloodthirsty tyrant trampling the Constitution, that those who opposed the war in the North were not Southern sympathizers but true patriots, and that those truly loyal to the Constitution were the persecuted victims of an oppressive regime and virtual dictator who used emancipation as an instrument of his drive for power. Though Copperhead is a sad little morality play that has swiftly flickered away, it represents an increasingly fashionable pseudo-history among ideological re-enactors who wear Revolutionary War costumes but never the Union blue. 'Do I think Lincoln was wrong in taking away the freedom of the press and the right of habeas corpus? Yeah,' said Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky recently."
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