Herman L. Humphrey speak at Union rally about the Copperheads.
In the 1860s, the Copperheads also known as the Peace Democrats, were a fraction of Democrats in the Union who opposed the American Civil War and wanted an immediate peace settlement with the Confederates.
Republicans started calling the anti-war Democrats “Copperheads” framing them as poisonous as a venomous snake. Those Democrats accepted the label, reinterpreting the copper “head” as the likeness of Liberty, which they cut from Liberty Head large cent coins and wore them as badges. By contrast, Democratic supporters of the war were called War Democrats. Republican prosecutors accused some prominent Copperheads of treason in a series of trials in 1864. The Copperheads became a major target of the National Union Party in the 1864 presidential election, where they were used to discredit the main Democratic candidates.