Was Virginia Forced to Secede?

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Was Virginia Forced to Secede?

  • Yes

    Votes: 11 17.2%
  • No

    Votes: 49 76.6%
  • Don't Know

    Votes: 4 6.3%

  • Total voters
    64
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AndyHall

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Dec 13, 2011
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The common narrative is that Virginia seceded because of Lincoln's call for volunteers to suppress the rebellion in the already-seceded states. That's not really correct. Virginia had been debating secession for weeks already, and there were delegations from other southern states lobbying hard in Richmond for the Commonwealth to join them, even before the firing on Fort Sumter. Virginia was leaning increasingly toward secession, and Lincoln's call for volunteers provided an opportunity for Virginia to do what it was almost certainly going to do, regardless.

That said, I do think @Andersonh1 is right -- they'd got themselves in a situation where they had to make a choice.
 

O' Be Joyful

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Was Virginia Forced to Secede?
Of course they were. Well...at least that is what they convinced themselves had happened after the war. In the face of the death and ruin that resulted from the decision to secede, it is very understandable that the rationalization that "their hands had been forced" would take root.
 

Malingerer

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The common narrative is that Virginia seceded because of Lincoln's call for volunteers to suppress the rebellion in the already-seceded states. That's not really correct. Virginia had been debating secession for weeks already, and there were delegations from other southern states lobbying hard in Richmond for the Commonwealth to join them, even before the firing on Fort Sumter. Virginia was leaning increasingly toward secession, and Lincoln's call for volunteers provided an opportunity for Virginia to do what it was almost certainly going to do, regardless.

That said, I do think @Andersonh1 is right -- they'd got themselves in a situation where they had to make a choice.
Andy, when those delegations from other states were making their pitch to the Virginia representatives, what was their argument?
 
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Potomac Pride

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Virginia was forced to make a choice about secession based upon the decisions of their legislature and secession convention. They had originally wanted to remain in the Union as demonstrated by the actions of their secession convention which voted by a clear majority against secession in early April 1861. However, even before the secession convention met, the Va. state legislature had passed a resolution in Jan. 1861 vehemently protesting the use of federal coercion to maintain the union. The resolution stated "That when any one or more of the States have determined......to withdraw from the Union, we are unalterably opposed to any attempt on the part of the Federal Government to coerce the same into reunion or submission, and that we will resist the same by all the means in our power. " Therefore, after Lincoln's call for troops in mid-April 1861, Virginia reversed their original vote and decided to secede from the Union.
 
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WJC

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The common narrative is that Virginia seceded because of Lincoln's call for volunteers to suppress the rebellion in the already-seceded states. That's not really correct. Virginia had been debating secession for weeks already, and there were delegations from other southern states lobbying hard in Richmond for the Commonwealth to join them, even before the firing on Fort Sumter. Virginia was leaning increasingly toward secession, and Lincoln's call for volunteers provided an opportunity for Virginia to do what it was almost certainly going to do, regardless.

That said, I do think @Andersonh1 is right -- they'd got themselves in a situation where they had to make a choice.
The key phrase here is "they'd got themselves in a situation where they had to make a choice." The key word is "they". All of us are responsible for the choices we make- good and bad- in life. That is true of governments as well as individuals. Virginia- and Virginia alone- is responsible for the choice they made.
 

WJC

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They were forced to make a choice, at least. I think that if they'd attempted neutrality they'd have had no more success at maintaining it than Kentucky.
All of us- at one time or another- are "forced to make a choice". But that choice- when made- is ours and ours alone. It was no different with Virginia. Circumstances required them to choose; they chose unwisely.
Sadly, some would like us to remember the role Virginia and Virginians played in the founding of our country and forget about the role Virginia and Virginians played in trying to destroy it....
 

leftyhunter

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All of us- at one time or another- are "forced to make a choice". But that choice- when made- is ours and ours alone. It was no different with Virginia. Circumstances required them to choose; they chose unwisely.
Sadly, some would like us to remember the role Virginia and Virginians played in the founding of our country and forget about the role Virginia and Virginians played in trying to destroy it....
True but not all Virginians ;George Thomas , Faraguat and of course the Louden County Rangers and the men from Virginia who joined the various West Virginia Union Regiments and let us not forget the,USCT regiments raised in Virginia.
Leftyhunter
 
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WJC

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True but not all Virginians ;George Thomas , Faraguat and of course the Louden County Rangers and the men from Virginia who joined the various West Virginia Union Regiments and let us not forget the,USCT regiments raised in Virginia.
Leftyhunter
Thanks for your response.
Of course. However, the original Post did not make that distinction. It asked, "Was Virginia Forced to Secede?" Given that, I do not believe the question encompassed those who refused to follow the course Virginia chose, nor those Blacks in Virginia who were never asked their opinion.
 

mofederal

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I think they had a choice to make, maybe forced to make. I think as a slave state they felt a strong pressure to join the Confederacy. Individuals always had to make a choice, a most personal decision. Many would follow the lead of their state. While others felt a strong pull to the flag as an American. Union or secession was a question not easily decided for those that could see both sides of a question, and the question of loyalty tied to both sides of subject that could not e avoided.
 

BillO

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Quinton, VA.
Of course they were. Well...at least that is what they convinced themselves had happened after the war. In the face of the death and ruin that resulted from the decision to secede, it is very understandable that the rationalization that "their hands had been forced" would take root.
total bs.
They could be accused later that they thought being right was more important than winning but not being made to do anything.
 
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