Copperhead Reactions to Lincoln’s War Powers and the Emancipation Proclamation
(1) Lin 2200.5 (2) Lin 2048.19 The William Whiting Nolen Collection of Lincolniana.
While many Northerners supported the war against the Confederacy and opposed the enslavement of African Americans, there was a vocal minority, primarily within the Democratic Party, popularly known as “Copperheads,” who opposed the war and, especially, the suspension of habeas corpus and the Emancipation Proclamation. Copperheads believed that Lincoln was acting like a dictator by ignoring the Constitution when he issued these edicts. Abraham Africanus I depicts Lincoln making a pact with the devil to become the monarchical ruler of the United States. The Lincoln Catechism poses a series of questions and provides answers that lampoon Lincoln as a dictator named Abraham Africanus. Although these pamphlets, issued during the 1864 presidential campaign, address more than Lincoln’s policies concerning slavery, they unapologetically used racist language and images to promote their message. This is made clear in two questions and answers that appear in The Lincoln Catechism: “Does the Republican Party intend to change the name of the United States? It does. What do they intend to call it? New Africa.”