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Alexander Long

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Alexander Long (1816-1886) was an American politician who served as a Representative from Ohio. He was a member of the Democratic Party. Long was most memorable for his vociferous opposition to the U.S. Civil War. The anti-war faction in the Democratic Party was pejoratively dubbed the "Copperheads", as opposed to War Democrats, who supported Lincoln and the Civil War efforts.

Early life and political career

Long was born in Greenville, Pennsylvania. Before his political career, he practiced law in Ohio. He served in the Ohio State House of Representatives between 1848 and 1849. He was elected to Congress in 1862 and served from 1863 to 1865.

Anti-war speech

In 1964, he delivered the famous speech denouncing the war and called for the recognition of the Confederate States of America. He criticized Lincoln's dictatorial policies and said the war was "in violation of the Constitution and of the fundamental principles on which the Federal Union was founded". He demanded the immediate termination of the war, saying the war "is not reconstructive but destructive...result in the destruction of the Government and the loss of civil liberties to both North and immediately cease".[1]


This speech caused consternation among the pro-war members of Congress. One representative remarked "A man is free to speak so long as he speaks for the nation … [but not] … against the nation on this floor."[2] James A. Garfield, then-Congressman and later United States President, said Long made "Fairfax and Arnold find their parallels of to-day" (Lord Fairfax was a Loyalist during the American Revolution and Arnold was a Revolutionary general who later betrayed and surrendered to Britain).[3]

Schuyler Colfax, then-Speaker of the House, proposed a resolution to censure Alexander Long for supporting the recognition of the Confederacy.[4] On April 9, 1864, Long was formally censured for "treasonable utterances".

Later life

He ran for reelection in 1964 but lost. After the end of his Congressional career he resumed his law practice and continued to be involved in Democratic Party. He died in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1886.