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Lucius Fairchild

Lucius Fairchild, a Union Army officer whose arm was amputated after the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, was elected Wisconsin's 10th governor in 1865 following the Civil War. A Republican who fervently supported civil rights for blacks, Fairchild defeated Democratic opponents again in 1867 and 1869. 


This State Journal editorial ran on Sept. 17, 1867, two years after the Civil War ended:

A set of politicians in this state are ashamed of their antecedents. In the dark days of rebellion and civil war, they were not on the side of the country. They either sympathized with treason, or were indifferent. They held personal ease and safety in more esteem than their country’s safety and honor.

When brave men were laying down their lives in defense of nationality, these men were declaring the war a failure, clamoring for peace at the sacrifice of country, and bewailing the high prices of tea, coffee and shirting.

The war is over. The Republic is victorious. These men now aspire to positions of honor and profit. In order that they may succeed, it is essential that the people should forget the past. They want it blotted from memory. ...

Hence their fury when anyone ventures to remind the people of their antecedents. In speaking of the recent Democratic Party Convention and its nominees, we referred to the antecedents of some of its leading members. We used no harsh and violent language. We merely stated facts in the cool tone of history. We reminded the people of what occurred three or four years ago.

We pointed out men who opposed the draft, men who pronounced the war a failure, men who encouraged the South to believe that it could secede without difficulty, men who justified the Southern States in seceding, men who thought it unconstitutional to defend the national life against armed rebellion, men who opposed soldiers’ suffrage.

Such are the men, we said to the people, who are the leading spirits of this so-called Democratic Convention. Do you want to commit the control of the state of Wisconsin to their hands?