Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Mahony, D. A. (Dennis A.); Dubuque herald (Dubuque, Iowa : 1859 : Daily); Dubuque (Iowa) -- History -- 19th century; Copperhead movement -- History; Iowa -- Politics and government -- 19th century; Newspaper editors -- Iowa -- History -- 19th century;


This thesis explores the life and arrest of prominent Civil War Copperhead, and nationally known editor of the Dubuque Democrat Herald, Dennis A. Mahony. This paper argues that Mahony’s arrest was an unfair event in which Mahony posed no actual threat in discouraging enlistments, the local Republicans, Lincoln’s administration, or the Union. Mahony’s arrest was the result of local Republican’s fearful of the threat he posed to Protestant Whigs because they were wary of his ethnic and partisan background. They were suspicious of Mahony because he brought forth the social inequality between the two parties and what he viewed as wealthy Republican’s abusing their power, particularly as the war progressed. Most notably they feared his election to Congress and were bitter personal and political enemies of Mahony. This thesis also examines the social, economic, and political division of Dubuque, Iowa in the years leading up to the Civil War and the early years of the war using newspaper editorials from the Dubuque Democrat Herald and the Dubuque Republican Times, correspondence, and Mahony’s book, The Prisoner of State. The analysis of these sources finds that Mahony proved no threat to the Republican’s or in upsetting Lincoln diplomatically, particularly after the 1862 arrests.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of History

First Advisor

Wallace A. Hettle

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 84 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download