Staunton hosted secession debate in 1861

Belle Montgomery

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#1
By the middle of March 1861, tensions between the North and the South were rapidly mounting. Seven Southern states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas—had already seceded from the Union.
In Virginia, the question of unionism or secession was hotly debated. While most of Staunton and Augusta County were against secession, some notable residents were in favor of it. One of these was prominent Staunton attorney James H. Skinner who, in 1861, sought to secure the Democrat party’s nomination to run for Congress.
Opposing him was the incumbent, pro-Union Democrat John T. Harris, a lawyer from Harrisonburg. In February, Harris had made an impassioned speech to the House of Representatives about the folly of secession and how sectional differences—even those regarding slavery—could be solved.
A debate between the two men was held in Staunton on March 25, 1861, at the Augusta County Courthouse. The Staunton Spectator reported that Skinner—a native of Norfolk—“seems to calculate with great certainty upon receiving the nomination,” and then wryly noted that:
“Some over hopeful persons ‘count their chickens before they are hatched.’”
REST OF ARTICLE:https://www.newsleader.com/story/ne...nton-hosted-secession-debate-1861/2430969002/
 

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BlueandGrayl

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#3
Needless to say most of Virginia voted for secession and thus joined the Confederacy. As Virginia was the most developed Southern state second only to Kentucky and Missouri (border states) and was home to the industrial powerhouse center of Richmond, Virginia (the eventual Confederate capital) it was crucial for it to join the CSA just as it was for the aforementioned KY and MO to swing Confederate.
 

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