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


gun from the insulted Southern Confederacy to light its horrid fires all along the borders of Virginia. No action of our Convention can now maintain the peace. She must fight!39
Undoubtedly, those Virginians who supported secession from the start were pushed into intense fervor after the election, and especially the inauguration, of Lincoln, a Republican.
Demonstrating their belief that the aggressors of the conflict were the Northerners, many in Virginia railed against the Union, declaring that the North had forced the South, and thus Virginia, into secession and ultimately war. An editorial written in January of 1861 stressed the South's patience, and the North's aggression and intolerance, stating that although "[the] South has appealed to the Constitution, invoked forbearance, denounced the injustice, and declared the consequences,"40 the North continued to offend Southerners and their institutions, and thus the Union has been lost. Furthermore, in the convention Mr. Goggin referred to his colleagues by explaining that they had "turned their eyes from the fact that this Union is now dissolved."41 Also, one interesting editorial showed the North's attempts to disprove this Southern argument: "…the South, by refusal of constitutional protective legislation, is to be forced out of the Union, for the gratification of our Northern brethren to force them back again…."42 An editorial from early April 1861, shortly before Virginia finally declared secession, explained that the Union was dissolved by the North, not the South, because of the "bad faith of the Northern parties to the compact."43 Although the South actually broke the federal compact, in the eyes of Southerners, including Virginia - the most hesitant slave state to leave the Union, the North was solely at fault for destroying the unity that had formerly existed between these two regions of America.

39."The Declaration of War," The Richmond Enquirer, 5 March 1861.
40 "Secession," The Alexandria Gazette, 26 January 1861.
41. Mr. Goggin, 30 March 1861, Convention, 612.
42. T.B.R., "On Secession, &c.," The Alexandria Gazette, 4 January.
43. "The True Issue - Shall We Go with Our Friends of the South or our Enemies of the North," The Richmond Enquirer, 6 April 1861.
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