Restricted Debate The creation of West Virginia

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Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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I'm new and trying to catch up on this conversation, as I read it has covered several angles to the same problem. I will have to dig up some old documents that I have copy of for future display. From a local point of view and one that is strongly felt by many people in WV.
The procedure of being approved by the state Legislature and then approved by congress is not the biggest point of disagreement here. The problem is that in Wheeling the temporary or make shift Legislature communicated with Washington before the vote, that 37 of the southern counties (A Majority) were confederate and were refusing to recognize the Northern assembled Legislature in Wheeling. The 37 counties failed to send representatives to the convention. Washington instructed Wheeling to appoint temporary representatives. We can only guess that they picked reps. with the same goal as them. The communications were discovered right after the war. it is felt that SCOTUS upheld the rulings of the states as a path to re-unite the country and move on. The people in southern WV felt Lincoln would have done anything to protect the Rail Roads as he was totaly controlled by them. (follow the Money)
1. It was not a "Northern assembled Legislature in Wheeling." It was a legislature that was assembled by the people of western Virginia.
2. Lincoln was not totally controlled by the railroads. In his legal career he had been an attorney for the Illinois Central Railroad, but he had also represented railroad opponents.
 

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WV Digger

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Only my opinion but, the southern counties did not feel that the "Restored Government of Virginia" was a representative body of the southern part of the state. Drawing this from this from news paper columns from the southern part of the state 1858-1861 or until Lincoln closed the papers down. If you actually read some of the case briefs of Lincolns work for Rail Road opponents its strongly felt by some legal scholars that he took the cases to mediate and limit the damages to the Rail Roads.
 
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If only there was more of this.

For anyone who has an actual interest, here is a day by day contemporary breakdown of the events that led to statehood for West Va.

https://www.westvirginiastatehood.com/

It's very detailed, fascinating and - wonder of wonders - Lincolns name does not appear.

This was West Virginia people who simply did not want to leave the Union. Nothing more complicated than that.

And to me, nothing on Earth is more "constitutional" than the government protecting and defending the interests of loyal citizens. Anything else is ex post facto legal badminton.
Thanks for the link. Many counties in present day WV were loyal to the Union, many were not. I do not have numbers on all the votes. It was very lopsided here in Jefferson in favor of joining WV. As Jefferson was strongly southern some thing seems fishy here.
 

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Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Only my opinion but, the southern counties did not feel that the "Restored Government of Virginia" was a representative body of the southern part of the state. Drawing this from this from news paper columns from the southern part of the state 1858-1861 or until Lincoln closed the papers down. If you actually read some of the case briefs of Lincolns work for Rail Road opponents its strongly felt by some legal scholars that he took the cases to mediate and limit the damages to the Rail Roads.
Lincoln was retained as counsel by the Illinois Central Railroad and took cases on their behalf. He also took cases that opposed railroads. He even sued the Illinois Central once [the case of Lincoln v. Illinois Central Railroad]. He also handled a variety of cases that had nothing to do with railroads. He was a lawyer who represented clients, and that is how he made his living. He defended at least one client for murder. That doesn't mean he was controlled by murderers.
 
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I'm new and trying to catch up on this conversation, as I read it has covered several angles to the same problem. I will have to dig up some old documents that I have copy of for future display. From a local point of view and one that is strongly felt by many people in WV.
The procedure of being approved by the state Legislature and then approved by congress is not the biggest point of disagreement here. The problem is that in Wheeling the temporary or make shift Legislature communicated with Washington before the vote, that 37 of the southern counties (A Majority) were confederate and were refusing to recognize the Northern assembled Legislature in Wheeling. The 37 counties failed to send representatives to the convention. Washington instructed Wheeling to appoint temporary representatives. We can only guess that they picked reps. with the same goal as them. The communications were discovered right after the war. it is felt that SCOTUS upheld the rulings of the states as a path to re-unite the country and move on. The people in southern WV felt Lincoln would have done anything to protect the Rail Roads as he was totaly controlled by them. (follow the Money)
I see you are new. Welcome to CWT from a fellow West Viginian,Jefferson county
 

16thVA

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re: was statehood a good idea

Lincoln felt it was.
No, I don't think Lincoln liked it one bit. I think if he knew what the result would be of his recognizing Wheeling I don't think he would have done it, just encouraged them to support the Union. He wanted to restore the Union, as it was. No one believed they would be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Statehood split the Unionists in Wheeling when merely supporting the Union would have kept them together. Richard O. Curry states: "...by the spring of 1862, Unionists of western Virginia had divided into four distinct factions: (1) opponents of statehood under any circumstances; (2) a militant free state group; (3) a moderate wing that feared the complications of the slavery question and attempted to avoid it; (4) a conservative faction that would oppose dismemberment rather than submit to Congressional interference."

The vote on the secession ordinance in the west was not a pro-Union vote, much of it was a vote for the status quo. That status quo vote did not translate to Union support, as evidenced by Confederate recruitment in the 39 counties classified as the "northwest". West Virginia also includes part of the "southwest" and "Valley", counties that were resolutely opposed to Wheeling.

As Aaron Sheehan-Dean noted in "Everyman's War: Confederate Enlistment in Civil War Virginia"

"Many counties in the northwest also organized Confederate units, with most enrolling in excess of 25 percent of their eligible men and many in excess of 50 percent."
 

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re: was statehood a good idea



No, I don't think Lincoln liked it one bit. I think if he knew what the result would be of his recognizing Wheeling I don't think he would have done it, just encouraged them to support the Union. He wanted to restore the Union, as it was. No one believed they would be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat.
I didn't say Lincoln loved it. I said he thought it was a good idea. If he didn't, he wouldn't have signed the legislation. He said it was expedient for preserving the Union. As to speculating on what he would or would not have done had he known whatever, we'll never know, and my saying he would still sign knowing the future is just as correct as your saying he wouldn't. He didn't want to restore the Union as it was because that would mean restoring the Union with slavery intact, and with the issuing of the EP he wasn't going to do that.

I've got no real problem with the rest of your post.
 

16thVA

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He was distressed by the passage of the bill, as late as August 1862 he wrote to Horace Greeley:

"I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be 'the Union as it was.' "

At the White House , Senator Orville H. Browning meets with President Lincoln: ““Went at night to the Presidents with Judge Norton, Genl & Mrs N B Buford & Mrs Genl Jno: Buford. Left them with Mrs Lincoln and I went up and talked with the President. I took him the bill creating the State of New Virginia. He was distressed at its passage, and asked me how long he could retain it before approving or vetoing. I told him ten days. He wished he had more. That I would give him a few days more. That I would not now lay it before him, but would retain it and furnish him a copy to examine which I did.

https://abrahamlincolnandthecivilwar.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/president-lincoln-contemplates-state-of-west-virginia/

Lincoln didn't think it was a good idea at all, it was expedient. The only trouble with "expedient", it doesn't last, but "states" do. It actually didn't help the Union one iota and created enormous problems for the people of the two states. It was one big boondoggle.
 

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Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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He was distressed by the passage of the bill, as late as August 1862 he wrote to Horace Greeley:

"I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be 'the Union as it was.' "
That letter has nothing to do with West Virginia. On the eve of issuing the Final Emancipation Proclamation, when he signed the bill creating West Virginia, he wasn't concerned with the Union "as it was."


At the White House , Senator Orville H. Browning meets with President Lincoln: ““Went at night to the Presidents with Judge Norton, Genl & Mrs N B Buford & Mrs Genl Jno: Buford. Left them with Mrs Lincoln and I went up and talked with the President. I took him the bill creating the State of New Virginia. He was distressed at its passage, and asked me how long he could retain it before approving or vetoing. I told him ten days. He wished he had more. That I would give him a few days more. That I would not now lay it before him, but would retain it and furnish him a copy to examine which I did.

https://abrahamlincolnandthecivilwar.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/president-lincoln-contemplates-state-of-west-virginia/
That's Browning's claim. Unfortunately, we don't have Lincoln to verify its veracity. Even if true, he seems to have gotten over his distress.

Lincoln didn't think it was a good idea at all, it was expedient. The only trouble with "expedient", it doesn't last, but "states" do. It actually didn't help the Union one iota and created enormous problems for the people of the two states. It was one big boondoggle.
"Expedient" means practical or convenient, not temporary. In other words, a good idea to help preserve the Union.

Eric already posted Lincoln's written opinion:

"But is the admission into the Union, of West Virginia, expedient. This, in my general view, is more a question for Congress, than for the Executive. Still I do not evade it. More than on any thing else, it depends on whether the admission or rejection of the new State would, under all the circumstances tend the more strongly to the restoration of the National authority throughout the Union. That which helps most in this direction is most expedient at this time. Doubtless those in remaining Virginia would return to the Union, so to speak, less reluctantly without the division of the old state than with it; but I think we could not save as much in this quarter by rejecting the new state, as we should lose by it in West Virginia. We can scarcely dispense with the aid of West Virginia in this struggle; much less can we afford to have her against us, in Congress and in the field. Her brave and good men regard her admission into the Union as a matter of life and death. They have been true to the Union under very severe trials. We have so acted as to justify their hopes; and we can not fully retain their confidence, and co-operation, if we seem to break faith with them. In fact, they could not do so much for us, if they would.

"Again, the admission of the new State turns that much slave soil to free; and thus, is a certain, and irrevocable encroachment upon the cause of the rebellion,

"The division of a State is dreaded as a precedent. But a measure made expedient by a war, is no precedent for times of peace. It is said the admission of West Virginia is secession, and tolerated only because it is our secession. Well, if we can call it by that name, there is still difference enough between secession against the Constitution, and secession in favor of the Constitution.

"I believe the admission of West Virginia into the Union is expedient."

In other words, he thought it was a good idea to help preserve the Union.
 
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USS ALASKA

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Been reading about the formation of West Virginia. Have read the the inclusion of McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, and Pendleton counties in WV were done out of spite or to 'punish' Virginia and so forth...

1560256683869.png

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f3/October_24,_1861_county_vote_for_West_Virginia_statehood.jpg/992px-October_24,_1861_county_vote_for_West_Virginia_statehood.jpg

Could a reason have been to give WV a defensible border from the remaining parts of VA? The war was still going on...reason I ask is that looking at this map...

https://www.loc.gov/item/lva0000162/

...and zooming into the WV border area...

1.jpg


...kinda looks like they were trying to include the boxed-in ridge line...
4952

Just a thought,
USS ALASKA
 
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RochesterBill

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Been reading about the formation of West Virginia. Have read the the inclusion of McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, and Pendleton counties in WV were done out of spite or to 'punish' Virginia and so forth...

View attachment 311466
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f3/October_24,_1861_county_vote_for_West_Virginia_statehood.jpg/992px-October_24,_1861_county_vote_for_West_Virginia_statehood.jpg

Could a reason have been to give WV a defensible border from the remaining parts of VA? The war was still going on...reason I ask is that looking at this map...

https://www.loc.gov/item/lva0000162/

...and zooming into the WV border area...

View attachment 311467

...kinda looks like they were trying to include the boxed-in ridge line...
4952

Just a thought,
USS ALASKA
re: the results of that vote, while I do not doubt that it generally probably reflects an overall sentiment, it is preposterous to claim, as some do, that not a single person in all of those counties was in favor of separating from Virginia.

One large problem with the reported results is that at the time there was no such thing as a secret ballot (also called the Australian ballot). In fact, the government didn't even print up ballots in most states until the 1890's. Newspapers printed up pre-filled ballots and you'd take one and hand it in.

Point being, it was entirely open, everyone knew how you voted and particularly in cases where emotions were running very high, there could be consequences.

So a pro-Union voter in a very pro-Confederate town might very well come home and find his barn on fire. At the very least, you could and would be socially ostracized.

As a result, a lot of people who would have voted no simply stayed home, or sometimes went so far as to be seen voting yes. If you ran a store or a mill, it might be bad for business to do otherwise.

So while, as I said, as a general thing the numbers surely reflect overall sentiment, it can hardly be shown not not even one percent of the voters were pro-slavery.
 

Drew

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GwilymT

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Been reading about the formation of West Virginia. Have read the the inclusion of McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, and Pendleton counties in WV were done out of spite or to 'punish' Virginia and so forth...

View attachment 311466
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f3/October_24,_1861_county_vote_for_West_Virginia_statehood.jpg/992px-October_24,_1861_county_vote_for_West_Virginia_statehood.jpg

Could a reason have been to give WV a defensible border from the remaining parts of VA? The war was still going on...reason I ask is that looking at this map...

https://www.loc.gov/item/lva0000162/

...and zooming into the WV border area...

View attachment 311467

...kinda looks like they were trying to include the boxed-in ridge line...
4952

Just a thought,
USS ALASKA
Does this map’s “total number of voters” reflect the total number of votes cast or the total number of eligible voters?
 

GwilymT

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The map shows the # of votes in favor followed by the # of total voters in the county. Here is a much larger copy of the map so you can read the #'s more easily.

Ok, that clears it up a bit. It’s not comparing the number of votes for with the number of votes against. It’s comparing the number of votes for vs the number of possible votes.
 


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