The creation of West Virginia

Joshism

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#41
What was the state of government in the Delmarva Peninsula of eastern Virginia? Did those counties vote for secession? Where they under military government like most other Union-occupied portions of seceding state, or under some other arrangement?

Once WV was admitted as a state did the Provisional Reorganized Government of VA cease to exist?

How does the quasi-VA government compare to the restored government in TN? (and LA?)

I think these questions have some bearing on WV and the state government that created her.
 

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NH Civil War Gal

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#42
I got this from:​
www.virginiaplaces.org/boundaries/boundaryk.htm

I did not know that four other states had been created from other existing states.

The final chapter of the evolution of Virginia’s boundaries involves West Virginia. Only four states were created directly from existing states: Vermont from New York in 1791, Kentucky from Virginia in 1792, Maine from Massachusetts in 1820, and West Virginia from Virginia in 1863.

Like Kentucky, the residents of western Virginia were geographically isolated from Richmond and economically oriented to the Ohio Valley.

The narrow shaded valleys of the trans-Allegany region precluded large plantations and discouraged slavery. The eastern plantation powers refused to invest the state treasury in western internal improvements, which inhibited economic development.

They also refused to establish a public school system. The western counties were unable to change the situation in Richmond, because the reapportionment process favored counties with large slave populations.

Slaves were counted as whole people for the purposes of apportioning the legislature, but of course they could not vote. Thus the western counties were at a terrible political disadvantage. They could do virtually nothing to change their economic situation. This unfavorable condition led to a statehood movement as early as the 1820’s.​

When Virginia seceded from the union in 1861, most of the delegates to the secession convention who represented western counties voted against secession. These delegates held their own convention in Wheeling. They established a restored government of Virginia. The restored government elected a governor, two US senators, and three US representatives. Wheeling was selected to serve as the provisional capital. Congress and President Lincoln recognized this government, and hoped to make it a model for other Confederate states seeking readmission after a union victory. The restored government, now controlled by western Virginians, took advantage of the unique political situation to create a new state. They voted to grant the western counties the right to establish a state called Kanawha in 1862. A constitutional convention changed the name of the proposed state to West Virginia. It also provided for slavery. This provision was included to gain the support of several western counties that had voted in favor of secession. Congress objected to the slavery provision. A second convention was held which modified the original constitution. This new charter provided for the gradual abolition of slavery.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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#43
So I'm not clear then, where the other four states that came into existence early on, unconstitutional also? If the western part of Virginia was "at a terrible economic disadvantage and had been trying to be a separate state as early as 1820" why would this have been unconstitutional? The war made it expedient but it seems like there had already been a very longstanding economic oppression going on. Weren't Blacks counted as 3/5ths in other states but now they could be counted as a whole person in Virginia? That was convenient for Richmond.
 

16thVA

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#44
Most of the delegates from West Virginia at the Richmond convention voted against secession on April 17, 1861...BUT...(and it's a big 'but') most of them returned to Richmond for the 2nd session in June and signed the Ordinance of Secession, 29 of 49 delegates signed, only 13 of the delegates went to Wheeling for the Restored Government. The popular vote against the ordinance eroded once the invasion of western Virginia began, and many counties that had voted, sometimes 5 to 1, against the ordinance, nevertheless gave half or more of its available men to the Confederate army.


Counties in blue, delegate signed Ordinance of Secession, counties in purple, 1 of 2 delegates signed Ordinance.
15537454331_21579bde34_z.jpg
 

16thVA

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#45
There was never a movement to create a new state before the war, I don't know who came up with that or where they found it. I have never, ever, in 20 years of reading West Virginia history seen even one dedicated group trying to create a new state in western Virginia. Even Ambler's "Sectionalism in Virginia" cannot name one organized attempt at such a thing. You only have to read the debate on what to name the new state to see just how upset even the Unionists were in losing their connection to Virginia, which is why it is called "West Virginia" and not Kanawha, as some wanted it.

"What's In A Name?" The Naming of West Virginia
 

Eric Wittenberg

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#47
As promised, here is Lincoln's statement about the pending bill to admit West Virginia to the Union: “The division of a state is dreaded as a precedent,” he told his friend, Sen. Orville Browning of Illinois. “But a measure made expedient by a war is no precedent in times of peace. It is said that the admission of West Virginia is secession, and tolerated only because it is our secession. Well, if we call it that by name, there is still difference enough between secession against the Constitution and secession in favor of the Constitution.” The source for this is Carl Sandberg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, 4 vols. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1939), 1:656.
 

cash

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#48
There is no question that the entire thing was unconstitutional from beginning to end.
I very respectfully disagree. The Richmond government was constitutionally unqualified to be the legitimate government of Virginia because they no longer agreed to abide by the U.S. Constitution.

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution." [Article VI, Clause 3]

In the case of Luther v. Borden, the Supreme Court said the United States government had the authority to determine which of two competing governments was the legitimate government of a state.

"The fourth section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the United States provides that the United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on the application of the legislature or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence. Under this article of the Constitution it rests with Congress to decide what government is the established one in a State. For as the United States guarantee to each State a republican government, Congress must necessarily decide what government is established in the State before it can determine whether it is republican or not. And when the senators and representatives of a State are admitted into the councils of the Union, the authority of the government under which they are appointed, as well as its republican character, is recognized by the proper constitutional authority. And its decision is binding on every other department of the government, and could not be questioned in a judicial tribunal." [48 US 1, 42]

Both Congress and the President recognized the Restored Government of Virginia as the legitimate government of that state. That government gave their consent to the partition in accordance with the Constitution.

From what I see, it was done following the form prescribed in the Constitution.
 

jgoodguy

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#51
I very respectfully disagree. The Richmond government was constitutionally unqualified to be the legitimate government of Virginia because they no longer agreed to abide by the U.S. Constitution.

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution." [Article VI, Clause 3]

In the case of Luther v. Borden, the Supreme Court said the United States government had the authority to determine which of two competing governments was the legitimate government of a state.

"The fourth section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the United States provides that the United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on the application of the legislature or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence. Under this article of the Constitution it rests with Congress to decide what government is the established one in a State. For as the United States guarantee to each State a republican government, Congress must necessarily decide what government is established in the State before it can determine whether it is republican or not. And when the senators and representatives of a State are admitted into the councils of the Union, the authority of the government under which they are appointed, as well as its republican character, is recognized by the proper constitutional authority. And its decision is binding on every other department of the government, and could not be questioned in a judicial tribunal." [48 US 1, 42]

Both Congress and the President recognized the Restored Government of Virginia as the legitimate government of that state. That government gave their consent to the partition in accordance with the Constitution.

From what I see, it was done following the form prescribed in the Constitution.
I agree and note this part of the ruling from Texas v White which seems to be to lay out the general rule even if the case was about Texas.
12. In the exercise of the power conferred by the guaranty clause, as in the exercise of every other constitutional power, a discretion in the choice of means is necessarily allowed. It is essential only that the means must be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the power conferred, through the restoration of the State to its constitutional relations, under a republican form of government, and that no acts be done, and no authority exerted, which is either prohibited or unsanctioned by the Constitution.​
 

GwilymT

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#52
Because it was expedient, they made it constitutional. There was a convention that came up with a constitution and a proposal for a new state. There was the recognized government of Virginia who approved of the split. With a few changes, the whole endeavor was blessed by Congress. According to the letter of the law, I don’t see how it was unconstitutional. Was it against the spirit of the law? Perhaps, the majority of people in the state didn’t have a say in it. However, that majority was in open rebellion and thus not recognized by The United States.
 

jgoodguy

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#53
Because it was expedient, they made it constitutional. There was a convention that came up with a constitution and a proposal for a new state. There was the recognized government of Virginia who approved of the split. With a few changes, the whole endeavor was blessed by Congress. According to the letter of the law, I don’t see how it was unconstitutional. Was it against the spirit of the law? Perhaps, the majority of people in the state didn’t have a say in it. However, that majority was in open rebellion and thus not recognized by The United States.
Good concise summary.
 

jgoodguy

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#57
This is all very interesting and clearly if this was done in peacetime the creation of West Virginia would never have happened. The Constitution was not written to be a 'catch all' especially in a civil war with states claiming that they have by unilateral left the Union.

Politics is described as "the art of the possible" and the agreement of a state that has voluntarily left the Union is definately not possilbe. Therefore the loyal counties of NW Virginia were always going to be admitted giving that the Union armed forces also occupied the terrritory.

This a case where reality was always going to win over a constitution that was never going to be capable of being able to resolve a real world issue rather than in the theoretical legal world that did not exist in 1861-1865.
IMHO by rebelling, the citizens of VA lost all political rights under the Constitution. I am reminded of the incident between Ben Butler and the slave owners at Fort Monroe when they demanded he respected their constitutional rights to their escaped slaves. Butler reminded them they considered themselves to be in a different nation.
Link
“I intend to hold them,” Butler said.
“Do you mean, then, to set aside your constitutional obligation to return them?”​
Even the dour Butler must have found it hard to suppress a smile. This was, of course, a question he had expected. And he had prepared what he thought was a fairly clever answer.​
“I mean to take Virginia at her word,” he said. “I am under no constitutional obligations to a foreign country, which Virginia now claims to be.”​
“But you say we cannot secede,” Cary retorted, “and so you cannot consistently detain the Negroes.”​
“But you say you have seceded,” Butler said, “so you cannot consistently claim them. I shall hold these Negroes as contraband of war, since they are engaged in the construction of your battery and are claimed as your property.”​
 

jgoodguy

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#58
So I'm not clear then, where the other four states that came into existence early on, unconstitutional also? If the western part of Virginia was "at a terrible economic disadvantage and had been trying to be a separate state as early as 1820" why would this have been unconstitutional? The war made it expedient but it seems like there had already been a very longstanding economic oppression going on. Weren't Blacks counted as 3/5ths in other states but now they could be counted as a whole person in Virginia? That was convenient for Richmond.
The case of Vermont is interesting. Looks to me as a precedent for West Virginia.

Link

The Green Mountain Boys militia protected the interests of the established New Hampshire land grant settlers against the newly arrived settlers with land titles granted by New York.​
Ultimately, a group of settlers with New Hampshire land grant titles established the Vermont Republic in 1777 as an independent state during the American Revolutionary War. Vermont then became the fourteenth state
 

jgoodguy

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#59
As promised, here is Lincoln's statement about the pending bill to admit West Virginia to the Union: “The division of a state is dreaded as a precedent,” he told his friend, Sen. Orville Browning of Illinois. “But a measure made expedient by a war is no precedent in times of peace. It is said that the admission of West Virginia is secession, and tolerated only because it is our secession. Well, if we call it that by name, there is still difference enough between secession against the Constitution and secession in favor of the Constitution.” The source for this is Carl Sandberg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, 4 vols. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1939), 1:656.
Regretabily I see this as having little value as evidence. It is an unofficial comment, not an official statement, court decision or law nor does Lincoln imply or directly say it was illegal or unconstitutional, just unusual.
 

jgoodguy

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#60
What was the state of government in the Delmarva Peninsula of eastern Virginia? Did those counties vote for secession? Where they under military government like most other Union-occupied portions of seceding state, or under some other arrangement?

Once WV was admitted as a state did the Provisional Reorganized Government of VA cease to exist?

How does the quasi-VA government compare to the restored government in TN? (and LA?)

I think these questions have some bearing on WV and the state government that created her.
Congress got to recognize the States it wanted to recognize. A power of Congress.
 



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