Now for Number 6

The 6th Most Embarrassing Moment of Ohio History is…

6. Traitor Runs for Governor

Canada (1863). Clement Vallandingham, a Congressman from Dayton, opposed the Civil War.  He was voted out in 1862, but continued to make speeches calling for the end of the war on the basis that secession was acceptable and slavery was Constitutional.  In 1863 Vallandingham was arrested for “…declaring sympathies for the enemy,” tried by a military court and sent to the Confederacy.   He escaped to Canada, declared himself a candidate for Ohio governor, and ran his campaign from a hotel.   Ohioans might have been getting war weary in 1863, but they still believed in the Union cause.  They also seemed to prefer a governor who could legally enter the country.  John Brough, a Union supporter, beat Vallandigham easily.

Engraving of Clement Vallandingham from the collections of the Ohio Historical Society.

Further Reading:

Ohio History Central: Clement Vallandingham

Klement, Frank L. The Limits of Dissent: Clement L. Vallandigham & the Civil War. New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 1998.

Knepper, George. Ohio and Its People. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2003.

Come back tomorrow for more from The Most Embarrassing Moments of Ohio History!

Number 10:  Ohio Antiquities are Treasured … in London

Number 9:  Rhodes’ Road to Canada

Number 8: Newark Board of Trade Finds a Curious Way to Save an Earthwork

Number 7:  Presidents and Generals First

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3 Responses to Now for Number 6

  1. Scott Sanders says:

    And my favorite Clem Vallandigham story? His untimely demise. Back in Ohio after the war, he was staying at the Golden Lamb and preparing to defend a man on trial for murder. His case hinged on the victim accidentally shooting himself, and in the course of practicing his argument, he accidentally shot himself. The defendant was subsequently acquitted.

  2. Judith Zawodniak says:

    How is the last name spelled? I see it two ways.

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