Here are the portraits of famous figures from the Civil War:
The first is a Democrat. Politically, he was the polar opposite of Abraham Lincoln and the new Republican Party. He was ardently pro-slavery. He supported the Lecompton Constitution that sought to make Kansas a slave state, and favored the Dred Scott decision that threw out the Missouri Compromise and opened even Northern territories to slavery.
In 1860, this person attended the Democratic Convention. Before the party split and produced two rival nominees for president, he supported Jefferson Davis. After the split between the Northern and Southern democrats, he supported the Southern candidate, John C. Breckinridge, instead of the more moderate norther nominee, Stephen Douglas.
Our second figure looks decidedly different. He is a Union officer who worked to recruit volunteers for the Northern cause. He led a regiment into Washington D. C. to defend the capital. His quick action against the South earned him a promotion to general, and he was put in charge of Fort Monroe. While he ran the fort, the general invoked international warfare rules to declare the runaway southern slaves ‘contraband,’ effectively emancipating them, even as President Lincoln was undermining similar actions by his other generals as an attempt to capitulate to Southern slave owners.
But this Union general was brutal toward the South. In New Orleans, he was referred to as a ‘Beast.’ When he was placed in command of the Southern metropolis, one of his first actions was to execute William Mumford for his audacity in lowering the flag of the United States. Southerners saw him as exceedingly cruel, but he epitomized the image of a Northern patriot. Jefferson Davis, who had the political support of the first character, turned his ire on this second figure by publishing a list of his crimes against Southerners, futilely hoping to enrage the North.
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Dec 9, 2017.