Clement Vallandigham was a well-known Northern Democrat who campaigned for states' rights during the Civil War. In 1863 Vallandigham was convicted of treason for his speeches attacking the administration of President Lincoln. He was banished to the South, where he continued to voice his political views.
After the war, Vallandingham became a lawyer. In his last appearance in the courtroom, he represented a client on trial for murder. The accused man's defense was that the victim had drawn his own gun in a fashion that caused it to fire, killing himself. To prove the defense argument, Vallandigham demonstrated the victim's method of drawing a gun--using the loaded evidence gun as his prop. The firearm went off, and he lost his life--but proved his case.
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Submitted by: Steve
Reference: Limits of Dissent (1970), HarpWeek LLC