Clement Vallandigham

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New Lisbon, Ohio
Birth Sign
New Lisbon, Ohio

American politician and lawyer Clement Vallandigham was active in the 19th century. Vallandigham was a key player in the “American Civil War” as the leader of the “Copperhead” faction of anti-war Democrats (1861-1865). After completing a few terms in the “U.S. Despite being in exile in Canada, he ran for governor while serving in the House of Representatives. In addition to opposing the “American Civil War,” Vallandigham voted against the repeal of the “Black Laws.” For this stance, he was detained by the US government on May 5, 1863. Then he was kicked out of America and made to relocate to Canada. He was a candidate for Ohio’s governor who was from Canada. Vallandigham lived a completely dramatic life during a time when many things were rapidly evolving, and his death was even more spectacular. When seeking to make a point in a murder case involving his defendant Thomas McGehan, Vallandigham accidentally shot himself. Vallandigham was also mentioned in a few other novels. Edward Everett Hale’s short fiction “The Man without a Country” was inspired by Vallandigham’s deportation.

Early Childhood & Life

On July 29, 1820, in Lisbon, Ohio, the United States of America, Clement Vallandigham was born. His parents, Rebecca and Clement Laird Vallandigham raised him. His father, a Presbyterian clergyman, taught him at home.
The “Jefferson College” that Clement attended was in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

He was fired from the college after a disagreement with the president, hence he was not awarded a degree. Clement received a $500 loan from his acquaintance at the time, Edwin M. Stanton. Clement started his legal career and paid for a law course with the money.

Despite the fact that both Clement and Edwin were Democrats, they had different opinions regarding slavery. Clement started politics while working as a lawyer, and he later won the election as a representative of “The Democratic Party.” Also, he began serving as an editor for a monthly magazine named “Dayton Empire.”

Clement Vallandigham’s Biography

Vallandigham voted against the repeal of the “Black Laws,” which guaranteed African-Americans equality and the right to vote. He declared his intention to run for Ohio’s lieutenant governor in 1851, but his party members opposed his nomination.

When Vallandigham stood for Congress in 1856, he lost. But, following his appeal to the “Commission of Elections,” he was re-elected in 1858. In 1860, he won again, but in 1862, when he ran for a third term, he was soundly defeated. His defeat did not damage his standing because many people believed he was a serious contender for the presidency.

One of the most vocal opponents of Abraham Lincoln was Vallandigham. He also opposed the “Civil War,” rising to the position of leader of the “Copperhead” group. He continued to give lectures in which he attacked Lincoln and elements of the “Civil War” that had helped the administration despite its clear defeat.

Vallandigham gave numerous lectures condemning the war and its effects even after “General Order Number 38,” which forbade war criticism within the “Department of Ohio.” On May 5, 1863, Vallandigham was detained for disobeying “General Order Number 38.”

He was kept in a military jail in Fort Warren Massachusetts, which caused a great deal of unrest and demonstrations. President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis dispatched Vallandigham to Wilmington, North Carolina, on June 2, 1863, where he was placed under security. Vallandigham was able to escape the Confederacy and travel to Canada, where he launched his governorship campaign. Despite losing in the elections, he persisted in his anti-war protests.

He arrived back in the country on June 15, 1864, and made a public appearance at a conference. At the convention, he called for peace and said that the war had failed. Vallandigham persisted in his opposition to the legislation that guaranteed African-Americans the right to vote and equality even after the war was finished.

In 1867, Vallandigham went back to Ohio. He continued his legal career after losing his campaigns against Robert C. Schenck and Allen G. Thurman. He then began concentrating on developing his legal business and began accepting cases.

In Lebanon, Ohio, Vallandigham was representing Thomas McGehan, a man who had been detained on suspicion of killing Tom Myers. Vallandigham, who was defending Thomas McGehan, had performed a number of his own experiments and come to the conclusion that Tom Myers might have inadvertently shot himself while pulling his own gun.

If true, his theory would not only include him on the victorious squad but also result in the preservation of an innocent man’s life. Vallandigham examined Myers’ unloaded weapon and set it next to his own, which was loaded with three live shots. He decided to explain how Tom Myers might have shot himself in the head to his visitors, just as he did when he was formulating his theory.

An animated Vallandigham took up the revolver, put it in his pocket, and began drawing it while he was outlining his idea. Then he told his guests that Myers might have accidentally pressed the trigger while preparing his pistol. Vallandigham pressed the trigger while aiming the gun at his stomach.

He realized he picked up the wrong gun, but it was too late; he was already lying in a pool of blood. The surgeons at the neighboring hospital, where he was sent as soon as possible, were unable to find the bullet that had entered his bladder. The following day, on June 17, 1871, Vallandigham passed away at the age of 50. In Dayton’s “Woodland Cemetery,” he was laid to rest.

Clement Vallandigham’s Legacy

The author Edward Everett Haleto was inspired to write the short fiction “The Man without a Nation” by Vallandigham’s deportation. The article appeared in the monthly edition of “The Atlantic” magazine.
Moreover, Vallandigham was mentioned in a few other books. The protagonist Vallandigham goes on to become the President of the United States in Ward Moore’s book “Bring the Jubilee.” The Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove also made reference to Vallandigham.

Clement’s Individual Life

Charles Vallandigham was the name of the son that Clement Vallandigham with Louisa Anna. He firmly embraced the “doctrine of predestination.” Even on his deathbed, Vallandigham insisted that everything had happened for a reason and that his act of killing himself by shooting himself while speculating on how another man might have done the same was destiny.

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