With the nominating convention for President less than four months away, the Copperhead New York Daily News began to see ulterior motives behind all of “Dictator” Lincoln’s decisions. From the Daily News, Feb. 15, 1864
HE CAN’T DO IT
By whom and when was Abraham Lincoln made dictator in this country? We are aware of no solemn vote of Congress declaring the Republic to be in danger, and the necessity for its salvation of suspending temporarily the normal function of the Constitution and the laws, that Abraham Lincoln may be invested with an absolute dictatorship. How, then, shall we qualify numerous acts of the President during the last three years, notoriously without the sphere of his executive duties, and some of them involving the highest legislative as well as executive powers, such as could be properly performed only by one invested with dictatorial authority. We must qualify such acts as sheer usurpation—audacious, criminal, perjured usurpation. President Lincoln has been guilty of usurpations, which if the dictatorial powers assumed were not used for his protection, would certainly subject him to impeachment and condign punishment.
Source: Abraham Lincoln A Press Portrait by Herbert Mitgang