Gillian Cote, "Virginia's Secession from the Union"


gave an address to the representatives reminding them of their state's dominant position in the Revolutionary War:

In recurring to our past history, we recognize the State of Virginia as the leader in the first great struggle for independence; foremost not only in the vindication of her own rights, but in the assertion and defence of the endangered liberties of her sister colonies; and by the eloquence of her orators and statesmen, as well as by the courage of her people arousing the whole American people in resistance to British aggression. 4
Not only did Anderson hail Virginia's leadership in the nation's history, he continued by entreating Virginia to secede from the Union and thus become the leader of the Southern Confederacy declaring, "The Southern people, under your lead, will again be united, and liberty, prosperity and power, in happy union, will take up their abode in the great Southern Republic…These are the noble gifts which Virginia can again confer on the country…."5

An editorial from The Alexandria Gazette, on the other hand, argued for the antithesis of Anderson's speech, viewing Virginia's prominence in the Union as a reason for remaining in it: "Who can contemplate Virginia as she is…possessing and wielding, if she will only choose to exert it, a controlling influence in this government - and then view her as the tail of a Southern Confederacy, standing as a guard, and playing patrol for 'King Cotton?'"6 This same type of argument appeared in another editorial in which the author proclaimed that Virginia's, whose role in the founding of the nation was so great, should not break ties with the Union based on its recent actions in regard to the South, but rather should struggle to protect it.7 Clearly, both

3. "A Letter from a Douglas Man," The Richmond Enquirer, 20 November 1860.
4. Fulton Anderson (address given in the Virginia State Convention, Richmond, Virginia, 18 February 1861), Proceedings of the Virginia State Convention of 1861, Virginia State Library, Richmond, 50-1. This work will now be referred to as Convention.
5. Ibid., 61.
6. "What Ought Virginia Do?," The Alexandria Gazette and Virginia Advertiser, 15 December 1860. This work will now be referred as The Alexandria Gazette.
7. "Letter from Hon. John M. Botts," The Alexandria Gazette, 10 December 1860.
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