"SHSI Certificate of Recognition"
"Best on the Web"

Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
Jump to navigationJump to search
Copperhead Poster

COPPERHEADS. Name applied to Northern Democrats opposed to the Union war policy during the CIVIL WAR. The name of the group may have come from the copper badges made from Indian head pennies some people wore to show their viewpoint. Another theory is that the group was named after the poisonous snake known for striking without warning. The name was first used in the New York Tribune on July 20,1861. Copperheads believed in a negotiated peace.

In response to their presumed threat, President Lincoln assumed extraordinary executive powers including censorship, suppression of the press, arrests, and suspension of habeas corpus. One of the strongest supporters of the Copperhead Movement was Dubuque newspaper editor Dennis MAHONY.