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West Virginia, did the US allow what they said the South couldn't do? - Other Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 08:09 pm
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39th Miss. Walker
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Just for grins, particularly my ardent Northern fans.

West Virginia, seceeded from Virginia even though a majority of Virginia voted to side with the South.
The Federal Government deemed it proper for West Virginia to seceed.
West Virginia and the Union even used Union forces to force counties into West Virginia and committed voter fraud.
Did the Federal Government speak out of both sides of their mouth?
Did the Union interfere in a Sovereign State's right to self determination?
Did the US Government help create an illegal state, West Virginia, while denying Virginia the same rights?

What say you all?



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 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 12:36 pm
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Johan Steele
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It seems to me that several states shrank considerably at various times as their large territory was reduced and divided into several states. Iowa & the Dakota territory are just two examples that come to mind and even Texas had that option and still does IIRC.

There was a large population of Unionists in West Virginia (I've seen it argued that it was a large majority)and they clamored and got a seperation from Virginia. By the people and all that... They did it at a time when the outcome of the war was anything but certain and they made it clear to all that they wanted no part of the benevolance of the CS... perhaps they had first hand experiance w/ that CS and they didn't care for it. Self determination... they were not ignorant of their self determination being ignored by Virginia when it came to Secession.

Now as some state that Secession is a right... why the irritation over West Virginia? It seems to me like a group of counties decided to Secede from Virginia and wished to be readmitted to the US as they felt they hadn't been given a choice in the first place. As some state that Virginia was not part of the US at the time, and actively involved in hostilities against it is only right and proper that those who want nothing to do w/ such and wish to be part of the US be given that option.

The US troops present at & near polling places; there were active pro CS guerillas and CS military forces w/in a short hop of many of those and there had been quite a bit of ugliness toward Unionist sentiment prior to that. Did the troops influence the vote and commit voter fraud? Maybe, though no more so than CS troops inside polling places in Unionist parts of TN, Florida, Georgia, Alabama or Texas during the Secession votes. And the US troops had a legit reason for being in the area. It seems to me one cannot bring up US troops in West Virgina polling places as something nefarious while ignoring CS troops doing the same thing earlier. It's ok for the CS to do it but if the US does it...

The US interfered in a soverign state about as much as the CS invasion of Neutral Kentucky; which pushed Kentucky firmly into the US camp I might add. Unlike Secession I believe the West Virginia/Virginia deal has been upheld in the Courts. Even the Lincoln hating Taney couldn't find fault w/ it IIRC.

"Did the US Government help create an illegal state, West Virginia, while denying Virginia the same rights?" No. West Virginia was accepted into the US by petition of it's citizens and accepted by a vote of Congress.



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 12:37 pm
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Johan Steele
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As a note I am not an ardent Northern fan but a US fan... though she has plenty of faults. I suppose, like my mother, I still love her despite her faults.



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 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 03:10 pm
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Texas Defender
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Johan-

  I think that the point that 39th Miss. Walker is making is to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the US Government.

  On the one hand, it maintained that the secession of Virginia was illegal, but then the secession of the counties FROM Virginia was legal. It would seem that if one was illegal, so was the other. If one was legal, so was the other.

  Its kind of like the Emancipation Proclamation. It said that the slaves in the southern territory that the US Government didn't control were free, but the ones in its own territory had to remain in bondage. How that put the war: "on a higher moral plane" is hard to understand, at least from a 21st Century perspective.

  We might all love our "mother," the US Government, and prefer her to anyone else's mother. Yet that does not, and should not, prevent us from pointing out the injustices that she has perpetrated throughout her history.



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 03:35 pm
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Johan Steele
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Oh she (US) has/had plenty of faults, I don't see West Virginia as one of them. Or the CW for that matter. West Virginia didn't try to leave the US, Virginia did, in fact West Virginia wanted back in after what many Virginia residents/citizens apparently saw as an illegal seperation done w/out their approval. The only way they saw that happening was to seperate themselves from the CS & Virginia. They felt unrepresented, threatened and powerless to do anything else. Illegal? I don't buy it. I also don't believe Secession is necessarily illegal. But I do believe how the CS went about it was not only illegal but outright treasonous.

In West Virginia's case they, gave Virginia and the CS a taste of their own medicine. Frankly I think the US kind of chuckled at it and went, I can see how this can be made to work and if it hurts our enemies in the process aw shucks.

I look at it more as a spilt of east & west in Virginia similar to the Dakota territory being split into North & South Dakota. Difference was that one was accomplished under fire so to speak.

As to the morals, higher or lower, in the CW... you're kidding right? Both the CS & US had the morals of a drunk alley cat in that time period and frankly trusting either govt would have been folly.

That's my 2 cents. Miss Walker asked, so I gave.



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 04:40 pm
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39th Miss. Walker
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The United States Constitution says a new state must gain approval from the original state, which never occurred in the case of West Virginia. Since the Restored Government, formed in 1861 and recognized by the Union, was considered the legal government of Virginia, it granted permission to itself on May 13, 1862, to form the state of West Virginia.
On December 31, 1862 President Lincoln signed the bill into law, approving the creation of West Virginia as a state loyal to the Union without abolishing slavery.
After the war the Restored Government of Virginia, the one set up in 1862 and recognized by the US, sued the US over the legality of statehood for WV.
As Texas Defender said this is an exercise in hypocrisies. Of which as Johan posted both sides had plenty of.

Actually Johan I do believe secession is illegal and was at the time.



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 04:46 pm
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ole
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Interesting discussion. Virginia seceded. Most of the counties on the other side of the blue ridge didn't want to. And they were outvoted by the more populous eastern side. So Virginia is out, but close to half of its territory disagrees. Are they justified in seceding from their state?

Lincoln wasn't entirely convinced that the West Virginia secession from secession was entirely legal. But, as Virginia had declared itself out of the union and a chunk of it had declared itself still in the union, he let it pass.

For my money, this would have been the fate of every confederate state had they gone peacefully into separateness. We'd have had the Republics of East Tennessee, North Georgia and Alabama. Perhaps a combined state of Up Yours.

ole



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 04:57 pm
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ole
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The United States Constitution says a new state must gain approval from the original state, which never occurred in the case of West Virginia. Since the Restored Government, formed in 1861 and recognized by the Union, was considered the legal government of Virginia, it granted permission to itself on May 13, 1862, to form the state of West Virginia.

And here, we might recognize that Virginia had declared itself to be a part of a foreign country. That whatever the Constitution said no longer applied to it.

Can't have it both ways. When the Constitution is repudiated, it can't be used to shield subsequent action.

ole



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 05:59 pm
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39th Miss. Walker
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The US Government never recognized any of the states in rebellion as being part of a foreign country. The US helped set up the Restored Government in 1862. So all aspects of the Constitution did apply to Virginia, same as it did to New York or Georgia. As far as the Union was concerned Virginia was part of the US.
Whether Virginia declared itself part of the CSA or not has no bearing as it wasn't recognized as the legitimate government.


Last edited on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 06:58 pm by 39th Miss. Walker



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 06:45 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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So, can the City of Chicago (or Cook County, for that matter) seceede from the State of Illinois???......I wish they could and would (so does the rest of the state!).....Then, they'd take the stupid governor with'em!!

Can Illinois force Chicago out??....there's a thought!

If West Va can go, then so can Chicago!



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 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 10:11 pm
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ole
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I am so with you on that Albert. Illinois would be so much better if there there were a free state of Chicago. However, the argument has no bearing. Sigh.

ole



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 10:17 pm
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ole
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The US Government never recognized any of the states in rebellion as being part of a foreign country. The US helped set up the Restored Government in 1862. So all aspects of the Constitution did apply to Virginia, same as it did to New York or Georgia. As far as the Union was concerned Virginia was part of the US.
Whether Virginia declared itself part of the CSA or not has no bearing as it wasn't recognized as the legitimate government.

I hope you don't mind an imperiious, dismissive sniff. Or ludicrous crap.

ole



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 11:23 pm
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Johan Steele
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Secession is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. Does that mean to me that is illegal? Not exactly, in my eyes a rule of law needed to be made on the subject; if the CS had gone the route of laws there would have been a Free and Independent CS IMO w/ a whole lot less bloodshed.

There is ample precedence for states being split, note two examples I gave earlier. Virginia/West Virginia happened under fire is the only difference. IIRC the court case brought upheld the creation of West Virginia.

The actions of the CS was pure and unadulterated treason IMO. There was never a single court case, doesn't mean they weren't guilty. Ted Kennedy never went to court for murder but there is no doubt he killed that woman. I've never been convicted of drunk and disorderly but I ASSURE you I have been.

Last edited on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 11:25 pm by Johan Steele



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 11:25 pm
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Johan Steele
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For the Record... the People's Republic of Chicago is a good idea but like Charleston it's too small to be a state and too large to be an insane asylumn.



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 11:29 pm
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Johan Steele
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Seize US military installations, shoot at US soldiers, steal their property, imprison them = Treason.

Edited w/ apologies to Javal.

I suppose there is a reason the wife says I'm to the right of Genghis Khan.

Last edited on Sat Jan 5th, 2008 01:32 am by Johan Steele



 Posted: Fri Jan 4th, 2008 11:47 pm
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javal1
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Even "Peace/anti war/anti US Protestors" know that Kerry and the rest of that post have no place in this thread. Let's quit interjecting non-related modern-day politics into threads where it doesn't belong.



 Posted: Sat Jan 5th, 2008 12:27 am
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Texas Defender
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Johan-

  Do you really believe that the Lincoln Administration would have allowed actions filed by states wishing to secede from the Union to be heard without any retaliation? Do you really believe that Abraham Lincoln would have abided by a Supreme Court decision allowing the states to secede?

  The historical events of 1861 suggest otherwise. In the case of Maryland, elected officials of the city of Baltimore and of the state legislature were arrested to prevent any kind of convention from meeting to decide on the question of secession. (There was a good chance at the time that Maryland would not have voted to secede).

  Like President Jackson did a generation earlier, President Lincoln chose to completely ignore actions by the Supreme Court that impeded him. (Ex parte Merryman, for one). He said very clearly that he would not accept secession. The southerners took him at his word.

  It would seem likely to conclude that if, lets say, the last four states that seceded had instead peacefully petitioned the US Supreme Court for permission to do so, then the officials of those states would have been treated the same way that the ones in Maryland were.

  If poor old Roger Taney and his court had been allowed to hear the cases , and had decided that secession was legal, then that elderly gentleman would probably have spent the last three years of his long life in a military prison.

  It should be clear that the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 made war inevitable, regardless of what actions the southerners took regarding federal property. His re-election sealed the fate of the Confederacy.

Last edited on Sat Jan 5th, 2008 12:37 am by Texas Defender



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