Was Virginia Forced to Secede?

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

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Sure. When the state wide vote occurred there were rebel troops from other states present who enforced the vote.

More information, please. Or am I being led to believe ALL of Virginia, from the gov, the legislature, to all the people of Virginia were forced by rebel forces to vote for secession? That no free will was exercised by anyone?

I have a whole thread"was the vote for secession free and fair" lots of sourced information that no the vote for secession was not always free and fair. Also there was no secret ballot until years after the Civil War.

Leftyhunter

Lefty,

I'll check out your thread.

Unionblue
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
More information, please. Or am I being led to believe ALL of Virginia, from the gov, the legislature, to all the people of Virginia were forced by rebel forces to vote for secession? That no free will was exercised by anyone?
You are not being led to believe anything. If you choose to throw out ridiculous straw men, go ahead. But I am not inclined to continued as I don't have time to waste with silliness.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
You are not being led to believe anything. If you choose to throw out ridiculous straw men, go ahead. But I am not inclined to continued as I don't have time to waste with silliness.

NedBaldwin,

My above was not intended as a "strawman" but a serious inquiry as to whether Virginia was forced to secede or not. In my own view, it seems quite impossible for everyone in a state to be forced to vote in one direction.

However, upon reading your posts and the thread leftyhunter provided me, I see that I must rethink my original view. I had no idea how extensive the threat of force was during the vote on Virginia's secession.

My apologies if I have given you any offense with any of my posts on this thread.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

Kenneth Almquist

Corporal
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
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.

Thirteen days later, on January 21, the Virginia legislature passed another resolution:

Resolved by the General Assembly of Virginia, That if all efforts to reconcile the unhappy differences existing between the two sections of the country shall prove to be abortive, then, in the opinion of the General Assembly, every consideration of honor and interest demands that Virginia shall unite her destiny with the slave-holding States of the South.​

With the attack on Fort Sumter and Lincoln's call for troops, that point had been reached.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Virginia was just a political corporation made of up human beings. It could secede, or not secede, dissolve, of lose its independence like Scotland and Wales and Ireland.
Once the United States becomes a temporary and arbitrary constructs, the temporary nature of state governments is exposed.
Some had existed for a few centuries. But most had been created by the United States or had explicitly requested to join the United States.
So once states can secede, the regions within states can secede and all that is necessary is to come up with electoral and legal formula to make it happen.
California, Texas, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, and New Orleans, all have potential secessionist movements.
People who lived in Virginia at that time conducted political activity that created the secession of Virginia. And then their state split up and was the United States destroyed the part that conducted war against it.
 
Sure. When the state wide vote occurred there were rebel troops from other states present who enforced the vote.

Agree. The popular vote was taken almost a month after the Virginia delegates had voted and announced secession of the state. Add to that the fact that on April 17th, 1861 at the locked door session of the Virginia Convention, a former Virginia governor, Henry Wise, jumped up on the stage pulling a revolver out of his coat and denounced the state leader's failure to pull Virginia out of the Union and threatened the assembled delegates if they did not vote for secession. Wise also let it be known that Virginia forces had already sunk ships and obstructed Norfolk's harbor and a force of Virginia troops were enroute to Harpers Ferry and blood would flow by nightfall. When convention delegate John B. Baldwin commented that he would not vote for secession and that he would advise the people to disobey the orders of Governor Letcher, Wise responded that it was too late to recall the force. Following a few delegate comments that the action by Letcher was a declaration of war against the government and that secession would lead to war, many delegates expressed their resolution that a military response from Washington was now imminent but they were Virginians first and they would follow Virginia. Following the comments of the delegates, Wise asked "for the yeas and nays upon the adoption of the ordinance." It was adopted on the evening of April 17th with 88 yeas and 55 nays.
 

NathanTowne

Corporal
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Location
United States
I have read extensively from the Virginia convention debates and the conclusions that I have come to bear many similarities to those reached by @AndyHall, above.

Anyone who reads the debates and begins to count prospective votes in one contingency or another will recognize how critical it was to the convention that some substantial compromise be reached in Washington. Without such a compromise, it seems pretty clear that the votes were just not there in the convention for remaining in the Union. The convention continuously bought time as key swing voters held out hope that somehow, someway, compromise could be attained in Washington, but as prospects dimmed, the probability for the convention to rebuff secession was disintegrating.

The firing on Sumter completely destroyed the middle because it forced the decision upon the convention immediately. Both representative Baldwin's meeting with Lincoln and the commission sent by the convention to meet with Lincoln, both in April, had, per their respective testimonies, despite their attempts, failed to garner any assurances regarding the territories from him. With this, when forced to make a decision, the center collapsed and the convention voted to secede from the Union.

If a major compromise had been reached, the convention may very well have recommended neutrality. It would not have endorsed the war effort, as the convention had made clear from the start, if such an event transpired.
 
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