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Sic Juvat Transcendere Liberi: How Newspapers Built the Case for West Virginia Statehood
Unformatted Document Text:  Thirty-four years of tension The middle years of the nineteenth century in Virginia (1829-1863) saw the escalation of tensions between the people east and west of the mountains over issues including infrastructure, political representation, and the economy. Only after Virginia seceded from the United States of America and joined the Confederate States of America did the people of the west finally decide to break away as a separate state. Even then, the west organized its government as the Restored Government of Virginia, and was recognized in the United States Congress as such. In essence, Virginia was a member of both the Union and the Confederacy, depending upon which side of the mountains a person stood. 17 On October 5, 1829, the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829-1830 in Richmond began to address legislative concerns of western Virginia. When western Virginia debated joining the Union as its own state, Preston County’s William G. Brown pointed to the convention as laying the groundwork for the revolution. 18 Eighteen delegates from the area that became West Virginia were in the assembly, in a body of ninety-six total; no westerner had a position of power in the assembly. 19 In the convention, panhandle politicians Alexander Campbell of Brooke County and Philip Doddridge of Ohio County led the charge of the west’s request for greater suffrage in their section. 20 Roanoke politician John Randolph cited the population growth of the west as cause for alarm; in 39 years, from 1790 to 1829, eastern Virginia grew from 314,523 to 362,745, while western Virginia grew from 127,594 to 319,516. Yet the eastern Virginia West Virginia, 9 17 Virgil A. Lewis, History of West Virginia, (Philadelphia: Hubbard Bros., 1889), 328-368. 18 Granville Davisson Hall, The Rending of Virginia, (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2000), 35-36. 19 Virgil A. Lewis, History of West Virginia, (Philadelphia: Hubbard Bros., 1889), 328-368. 20 “Panhandle” refers to the narrow strip of northwestern Virginia between the states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Authors: Haught, Matthew.
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Thirty-four years of tension
 
The middle years of the nineteenth century in Virginia (1829-1863) saw the escalation of 
tensions between the people east and west of the mountains over issues including infrastructure, 
political representation, and the economy. Only after Virginia seceded from the United States of 
America and joined the Confederate States of America did the people of the west finally decide 
to break away as a separate state. Even then, the west organized its government as the Restored 
Government of Virginia, and was recognized in the United States Congress as such. In essence, 
Virginia was a member of both the Union and the Confederacy, depending upon which side of 
the mountains a person stood.
 
On October 5, 1829, the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829-1830 in Richmond 
began to address legislative concerns of western Virginia. When western Virginia debated joining 
the Union as its own state, Preston County’s William G. Brown pointed to the convention as 
laying the groundwork for the revolution.
  Eighteen delegates from the area that became West 
Virginia were in the assembly, in a body of ninety-six total; no westerner had a position of power 
in the assembly.
  In the convention, panhandle politicians Alexander Campbell of Brooke 
County and Philip Doddridge of Ohio County led the charge of the west’s request for greater 
suffrage in their section.
 Roanoke politician John Randolph cited the population growth of the 
west as cause for alarm; in 39 years, from 1790 to 1829, eastern Virginia grew from 314,523 to 
362,745, while western Virginia grew from 127,594 to 319,516. Yet the eastern Virginia 
West Virginia, 9
17
 Virgil A. Lewis, History of West Virginia, (Philadelphia: Hubbard Bros., 1889), 328-368.
18
 Granville Davisson Hall, The Rending of Virginia, (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2000), 35-36.
19
 Virgil A. Lewis, History of West Virginia, (Philadelphia: Hubbard Bros., 1889), 328-368.
20
 “Panhandle” refers to the narrow strip of northwestern Virginia between the states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.


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