West Virginia

A few years ago, then-Governor George Allen of Virginia gave a speech in which he referred to West Virginia as “the counties that call themselves ‘West Virginia’”.

Does VA not officially recognize WV as a state? Was WV correctly admitted as a state?

Hard feelings run deep in this here part of the country. The state of West Virginia was, up until the Civil War, several counties of the state of Virginia.

From http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/13794.html we get:

Obviously the slaveowners proud of their “peculiar institution” didn’t rightly take to part of their constituency telling them what they could do with it and breaking away to boot. Virginians may not like to think of WV as a state but they’ve really got no choice, since the Union was probably more than eager to have them join the family and made sure they got admitted as a state.

Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

It would have been the height of hypocracy for Virginians to have denied the right of the western counties to seceed while at the same time defending that right toward the USA by force of arms. I’d be curious to know how pro-confederacy politicians and editorialist handled West Virginia statehood.

I think we actually mentioned this in my summer school US History class. In Article 4, Section 3, Item 1 of the Constitution, it reads: “New states may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.”

 The westernmost counties of Virginia petitioned Congress to have their counties declared a separate state. Not wanted to lose a friend, Congress agreed. After the Civil War, Virginia gave its approval, perhaps because it was in no real position to dispute the matter.


“. . .they could as easily have been carrying euphoniums and wearing war paint for all the notice their quarry would have taken of them.”
-Douglas Adams, “Life, the Universe, and Everything”

If a state were to be formed within the jurisdiction of another state, I vote for renaming the outer state “Donut”.

Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

Interesting side note: I read in Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson (no relation to the general) that eastern Tennessee wanted to break away from the rest of the state and rejoin the Union. Unlike WV, however, eastern TN was located deep in Confederate territory - and up in the mountains - so that it was impossible at the time for the North to assist them in this effort.

“I wept because I had no shoes, then I met a man with no feet. So I took his shoes” - Dave Barry

PapaBear said:

They were pissed.

“I wept because I had no shoes, then I met a man with no feet. So I took his shoes” - Dave Barry

One of Robert E. Lee’s first military assignments for the Confederacy was to try to keep the western half of Virginia from seceding. He was obviously unsuccessful in this mission. According to one account I read, Lee was doubtful about the assignment from the time he received it, feeling that Richmond had neither the right nor the resources to force people who clearly did not want to join the CSA to do so.