When I was a young lad in graduate school, I wanted to to write my dissertation in Abraham Lincoln. This was post Tom DiLorenzo’s The Real Lincoln, and I wanted to focus exclusively on Lincoln’s abuse of power.

This had already been done, at least to an extent. One faculty member at South Carolina pulled me aside and told me not to do it, not because he didn’t think the material was there, but because he wanted me to do something fresh.

I was glad I listened.

I kicked around a couple of ideas and settled on James A. Bayard of Delaware. This was the home run, at least from an academic standpoint.

Nothing much had ever been written on the man. He had piles of primary documents, and he was an important, albeit forgotten, Lincoln opponent.

The same can be said for dozens of Lincoln’s opponents, dubbed the “Copperheads” by the opposition press. These people are the key to understanding the Lincoln administration, the Republican Party, the war effort, and Reconstruction.


Because they point out all the shady and illegal acts of the Grand Old Party. And there are many.

I fell in love with the topic and the broad subject.

You should, too.

If you are in graduate school or thinking of graduate school, you should pick out one of these people and give them a proper history.

I discuss the Copperheads on episode 677 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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