Clement Vallandingham

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    Dr, McClanahan, you’ve said that Clement Vallandingham was an abolitionist, which I had never heard before. Do you have a source I can cite when I run into claims that he was, in fact, anti-abolitionist?


    Wikipedia claims he was not an abolitionist. And only softened when he proposed his ‘New Departure’ Democratic party platform right before his accidental death by his own hand.


    There is a difference between a moral abolitionist and a political abolitionist. Vallandingham was a moral abolitionist (he was a devout Methodist) but did not favor federal interference in regard to slavery. He was very critical of political abolitionists and believed they were to blame for the destruction of the Union. He made a speech in 1855 where he stated he was “pro-slavery,” but as a slap at those promoting the “slave power” attacks against northerners who did not favor political abolition, such as James Buchanan, Stephen Douglas, et. al, This same line of thinking has filtered into our own political discourse. See “Neo-Confederate.”

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