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Sic Juvat Transcendere Liberi: How Newspapers Built the Case for West Virginia Statehood
Unformatted Document Text:  published on September 4, 1862, Capt. J.M. Rucker of Company D of the Eighth Virginia regiment, a Union regiment, said the people of Western Virginia needed to unite as Union people. Rucker challenged the men of western Virginia to support their country, saying, “If he is a Union man he will come out and fight, if not, he will refuse to go. This rebellion must be subdued, and that only by fighting.... Now is the time for patriots to lend a helping hand; now is the time for Western Virginia to show the world that she will protect, support and defend the sacred rights of this great nation, in her hour of need.” 47 Rucker’s letter illustrates the idea of western Virginia as a different Virginia, with western Virginia, politically loyal to the Union, and opposed to the Virginia of the Confederacy, and again calls on Anderson’s definition of love of country to inspire a nationalistic feeling in the western people. 48 A state apart As the spring of 1863 arrived, Restored Virginia was confronted with the unique opportunity to move from a restored state to an actual state. The people, in addition to the legislature, weighed their options to become their own state, or continue as a government disloyal to Richmond, but loyal to Washington, and hope to rejoin with their brothers across the Blue Ridge. George Porter, a legislator from Hancock County, gave a passionate speech before the assembly encouraging his fellow lawmakers and his fellow citizens west of the Blue Ridge to cut all ties with the people of the east, and the government of the rebels. The Register devoted its entire March 4, 1863, front page to the printing of a transcript of Porter’s speech— a noteworthy West Virginia, 20 47 J.M. Rucker, “Letter to the people of Western Virginia,” The Weekly Register, September 4, 1862, 1. In West Virginia State Archives, Charleston, W.Va. (Bound volume). 48 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, Second ed. (Verso: New York, 2006), 141-154.

Authors: Haught, Matthew.
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published on September 4, 1862, Capt. J.M. Rucker of Company D of the Eighth Virginia 
regiment, a Union regiment, said the people of Western Virginia needed to unite as Union people.  
Rucker challenged the men of western Virginia to support their country, saying, “If he is a Union 
man he will come out and fight, if not, he will refuse to go. This rebellion must be subdued, and 
that only by fighting.... Now is the time for patriots to lend a helping hand; now is the time for 
Western Virginia to show the world that she will protect, support and defend the sacred rights of 
this great nation, in her hour of need.”
 Rucker’s letter illustrates the idea of western Virginia as 
a different Virginia, with western Virginia, politically loyal to the Union, and opposed to the 
Virginia of the Confederacy, and again calls on Anderson’s definition of love of country to 
inspire a nationalistic feeling in the western people.
 
A state apart
 
As the spring of 1863 arrived, Restored Virginia was confronted with the unique 
opportunity to move from a restored state to an actual state. The people, in addition to the 
legislature, weighed their options to become their own state, or continue as a government 
disloyal to Richmond, but loyal to Washington, and hope to rejoin with their brothers across the 
Blue Ridge. George Porter, a legislator from Hancock County, gave a passionate speech before 
the assembly encouraging his fellow lawmakers and his fellow citizens west of the Blue Ridge to 
cut all ties with the people of the east, and the government of the rebels. The Register devoted its 
entire March 4, 1863, front page to the printing of a transcript of Porter’s speech— a noteworthy 
West Virginia, 20
47
 J.M. Rucker, “Letter to the people of Western Virginia,” The Weekly Register, September 4, 1862, 1. In West 
Virginia State Archives, Charleston, W.Va. (Bound volume).
48
 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, Second ed. (Verso: New York, 2006), 141-154.


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