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Sic Juvat Transcendere Liberi: How Newspapers Built the Case for West Virginia Statehood
Unformatted Document Text:  how long would it be, if we dissolved peaceably, before we would be involved in the civil war? Not thirty days.” 28 Richmond’s focus remained on the wants and needs of the eastern people; public schools were rare across the mountains, and while the wealthy aristocrats east of the mountains could send children to private schools, or to be educated elsewhere, this opportunity was not afforded to the poorer west. 29 Further, westerners helped finance projects in eastern Virginia; while Virginia had bonded about $45 million in debt in 1861, only about $1 million of that debt financed projects west of the mountains. Eastern speculation on land in the west inhibited settlement, which helped to keep western growth in check. 30 Considering these reasons, it follows that the eastern government sought to expand the power and interests of the east, at the cost of the west. This relates to Anderson’s position that nations are created by political and economic means. 31 As it turned out, the war began a few months later than the editorial predicted. South Carolina seceded from the United States on December 20, 1860, leading the rush of secession, but the first shots of the war were not fired until April 12, 1861. In those months, western newspapers pleaded with the people west of the mountains to consider the consequences of secession, leading up to the Virginia Convention on February 13, 1861. 32 The convention sought West Virginia, 12 28 Anonymous, “The cotton confederacy — the effect on the border slave states.” The Wheeling Intelligencer, November 12, 1860, 1. In West Virginia State Archives, Charleston, W.Va., Microfilm. 29 Granville Davisson Hall, The Rending of Virginia, (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2000), 66-68. 30 Ibid. 31 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, Second ed. (Verso: New York, 2006), 37-46. 32 Lankford, Nelson D.. "Virginia Convention of 1861." October 28, 2010. Virginia_Convention_of_1861 (accessed December 2, 2010).

Authors: Haught, Matthew.
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how long would it be, if we dissolved peaceably, before we would be involved in the civil war? 
Not thirty days.”
Richmond’s focus remained on the wants and needs of the eastern people; public schools 
were rare across the mountains, and while the wealthy aristocrats east of the mountains could 
send children to private schools, or to be educated elsewhere, this opportunity was not afforded 
to the poorer west.
 Further, westerners helped finance projects in eastern Virginia; while 
Virginia had bonded about $45 million in debt in 1861, only about $1 million of that debt 
financed projects west of the mountains. Eastern speculation on land in the west inhibited 
settlement, which helped to keep western growth in check.
 Considering these reasons, it 
follows that the eastern government sought to expand the power and interests of the east, at the 
cost of the west. This relates to Anderson’s position that nations are created by political and 
economic means.
As it turned out, the war began a few months later than the editorial predicted. South 
Carolina seceded from the United States on December 20, 1860, leading the rush of secession, 
but the first shots of the war were not fired until April 12, 1861.  In those months, western 
newspapers pleaded with the people west of the mountains to consider the consequences of 
secession, leading up to the Virginia Convention on February 13, 1861.
 The convention sought 
West Virginia, 12
 Anonymous, “The cotton confederacy — the effect on the border slave states.” The Wheeling Intelligencer,  
November 12, 1860, 1. In West Virginia State Archives, Charleston, W.Va., Microfilm.
 Granville Davisson Hall, The Rending of Virginia, (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2000), 66-68.
 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, Second ed. (Verso: New York, 2006), 37-46.
 Lankford, Nelson D.. "Virginia Convention of 1861." October 28, 2010.
Virginia_Convention_of_1861 (accessed December 2, 2010).

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