According to a biography published on the National Parks Service website:
"Ohio Congressman, Clement Laird Vallandigham served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1858 until 1862. While in Congress Vallandigham became a leader of the Copperhead faction of anti-war Democrats. Vallandigham was a vigorous proponent of states' right, including the right to secede. He believed that the Union had no constitutional right to regulate slavery or to militarily attack the Confederacy. As such, Vallandigham opposed every military bill before Congress, giving ammunition to his critics who charged him with favoring the Confederacy during the war.
Following the issuance by General Ambrose E. Burnside of General Order Number 38, which warned of the consequences of "declaring sympathies for the enemy," Vallandigham denounced the "wicked and cruel" war by which "King Lincoln" was "crushing out liberty and erecting a despotism." He was arrested on May 5, 1863, denied a writ of habeas corpus, convicted by a military tribunal and sentenced to two years in prison. Not wishing to create a martyr, Lincoln sent Vallandigham through the lines to the Confederacy, from where he travelled by ship to Canada. There Vallandigham won the Democratic nomination for Governor of Ohio in absentia, but lost the general election in a landslide."
Clement Vallandigham was a man ahead of his time. Today, to be a Democrat in favor of states rights is an oxymoron. In this writer's opinion he was absolutely correct to denounce the war as wicked and cruel and proclaim that it was as much about the federal government declaring war on the states as it was about slavery. It was the beginning of "we the people" having our rights usurped by Big Government. Even in the dispute of placing Vallandigham's statue on the square in Lisbon we have a state legislator's office weighing in on something that is absolutely none of its business.
To characterize Clement Vallandigham with Charles Manson is absolutely absurd. Today we need more Clement Vallandighams. He could see beyond the trees and into the forest. The Civil War did not end slavery, it just transferred it from the private sector to the U.S.Government.
I say allow the statue to be placed, if for no other reason than to remind people that at one time in this great country states rights was worth fighting a Civil War over. When the government fears the people we have liberty, when the people fear the government we have tyranny.