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“The Ranting of the Black-Hearted Villains”

“The Ranting of the Black-Hearted Villains”

Soldiers and the Anti-War Movement

(p.115) 5 “The Ranting of the Black-Hearted Villains”
Across the Divide
Steven J. Ramold
NYU Press

This chapter examines the Union soldiers' opposition to the anti-war movement that emerged during the Civil War. It considers how Union soldiers came to despise those who espoused peace at any cost, including those whom they suspected of conspiring with the Confederacy to undermine the Union Army and government from within. It argues that soldiers made little attempt to separate political anti-war support from nefarious conspiracy, and conveniently lumped all who opposed their dedication to the conflict under the Copperhead banner. It cites the Copperheads as a prime example of the communication divide between soldiers and civilians at home. As treasonous adversaries often accused of acting in concert with the Confederate foe, Union soldiers viewed the anti-war movement as unworthy of the political and legal protections granted to loyal citizens. This chapter also looks at the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC), believed to be conspiring against the Union, and the occurrence of riots throughout the North at the height of the war.

Keywords:   anti-war movement, Civil War, Union soldiers, Confederacy, conspiracy, Copperheads, civilians, Knights of the Golden Circle, riots, North

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