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


explained that, by remaining with the North, Virginia risked losing many slaves, their primary source of capital. In January of 1861, for instance, a Representative from Virginia declared, "Where and how stands Virginia? I answer, with the South. Interest, honor, and inclination unite her fate with that of South Carolina, and her sister Southern States. Immediate secession is the duty and interest of Virginia. She can do nothing towards saving the present confederacy…."29 Another editorial proclaimed that, because disunion had already effectively occurred, Virginia was forced to choose whether "to unite our destinies with our sister Southern States - or, to remain a useless apendage [sic] to the Northern Confederacy - the latter alternative being utterly repugnant to ALL TRUE SOUTHERN MEN."30 These Virginians clearly felt themselves and their interests inextricably tied with those of the South. Even though their state was forced to choose between North and South, these men felt that the choice was obvious; to them Virginia was a Southern state.

Beyond these arguments that relied on southern unity, many Virginians garnered support for the secession of their state based on the sovereignty argument. This type of argument appeared in one editorial in which the author stated, "I love this Union, but I love my State's rights more. I would spill the last drop of blood in my veins for my State. For my section, and for my country."31 Similarly, an editorial in The Richmond Semi-weekly Examiner explained that, because each state was a sovereign entity, it had the power to decide its own fate - to remain with the Union or to leave. Another example of the sovereignty argument in an editorial proclaimed, "The sovereign authority in this Confederation, long dormant, has been awakened. - Sovereignties will be in counsel in a few weeks…[The Federal Agents] have no control over

29. D.C. DeJarnette, Speech given in the House of Representatives, The Richmond Enquirer, 10 January 1961.
30. "The True Issue," The Richmond Enquirer, 23 March 1861.
31. Untitled, The Richmond Enquirer, 2 November 1860.
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