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West Virginia in 1863

Discussion in 'Other Governmental Matters' started by Southeast US, Feb 25, 2021.

  1. Southeast US

    Southeast US Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    In 1863, Western Virginia broke away from Virginia and became it's own state of West Virginia. I'm trying to find out what, if anything, has changed since then to prevent us from accomplishing the same thing today. I'm curious if states still have the legal power to split to become it's own independent state.

    Thanks
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Possible, but not likely.

    US Constitution Article IV Section 3
    New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.


    I found this discussion:

    Can a U.S. county secede from a U.S. state?

    What do you have in mind?
     
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  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You pose an interesting question.

    It was 1863 and Virginia had already seceded from the USA and joined the CSA.

    The U.S. state of West Virginia was formed out of a piece of western Virginia and added to the Union as a direct result of the American Civil War, in which it became the only modern state to have declared its independence from the Confederate States of America, NOT the United States of America.

    During my lifetime I have seen many impossibilities become possible.

    I doubt that anyone living today has the courage, tenacity, and grit to accomplish anything that our ancestors may have done during the 19th Century.

    Today's American is much weaker in spirit, mind, and body than most of our progenitors.

    I don't see anything akin to any amazing event/achievement that happened in our past occurring today.
     
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  4. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Uh huh.. Horseless Carriages. Moving Pictures. Flying Machines. Electric lights. Indoor plumbing. I bet you saw all the greats!!


    :p




    Sorry....couldn't resist.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Oh my, those were pretty cool.

    However, the wheel and walls left the others crying in their milk. LOL
     
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  6. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Don't forget the steam engine and the elevator.
     
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  7. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    It is not impossible to do as a matter of law. The U.S. Constitution simply requires that the state involved and the Congress approve of the new state. It is instead politics that would stand in the way. In particular, as such a split would affect the make up of the U.S. Senate, the party that is disadvantaged by the split would likely seek to block it.
     
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  8. Southeast US

    Southeast US Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Appreciate all the replies.

    What I have in mind is splitting Virginia. I would like to see a South Virginia. Our people and politics in more than half the state is so different from Northern Virginia and sections of SE Virginia that it is un-believable. We are tired of NoVa dictating our politics. I do know that it would be next to impossible, but any possibility would be worth pursuing.
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    My beloved father was born in Rural Retreat in Wythe County.
    He loved Virginia until the day he died.
    He left 200 acres of wooded property to me near Wytheville.
    The people of that area are uniquely American.
    I fondly remember and treasure my summers among them during my youth.
    I agree, their politics are vastly different than their northern VA cousins.
    As with most Virginian's they love their beautiful Commonwealth, as dad often said.

    Thanks for your thought provoking post.
     
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  10. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Someone tries that in California every now and then. It sounds great in theory, but it would be an absolute logistical and economic nightmare in reality.
     
  11. Southeast US

    Southeast US Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I mention that on a Virginia board now and then and they too mention economics. Funny as it is usually Northern Virginians and in reality, I believe that they really don't want to lose us. But that said, the economic part would not bother me. We could endure it and it would be well worth it. By the way, I've been saying "me and I" but they are many others with me on it, even as little as I've posted the idea on some selective boards.
     
  12. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    That kind of red/blue split affects several states, not just yours. Look at California, where the large cities of SF, LA, etc are firmly blue areas, but other more rural areas of the state are much more red. There's been talk for years in the red areas of forming a new state or even carving California into 3-4 states and a few efforts made to try to accomplish it at the state level. Nothing has ever come of any of it. And that's before going to Congress and trying to get its approval for the split.
     
  13. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Our country has an amazing history, some good, some sad, some even sadder.

    I'm reminded of a border dispute between Michigan and Ohio.

    It was commonly known as the The Toledo war.


    The so-called “Toledo War” had its roots in the shortcomings of 18th century geography. In 1787, Congress drafted the Northwest Ordinance, which stipulated that 260,000 square miles of territory surrounding the Great Lakes would eventually be carved into a handful of new states. Specifically, the law decreed that the border between Ohio and Michigan was to run on “an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan” until it intersected with Lake Erie. There was just one problem: the best available maps depicted Lake Michigan’s southern tip as being several miles north of its true location. As a result, the original border placed the mouth of the Maumee River and the future city of Toledo in northern Ohio rather than in southern Michigan.

    The map issue was still unresolved in the early 19th century, but when Ohio was admitted to the union in 1803, it included a measure in its constitution asserting that it owned the land around the Maumee no matter what future surveys might show. Just a few years later, representatives of the newly formed Michigan Territory challenged Ohio and argued that newer maps showed the region to be theirs. The controversy only grew in the late 1810s, when a pair of land surveys came to conflicting conclusions about the location of the border. The discrepancies created a 468-square-mile slice of land—the “Toledo Strip”—that was officially claimed by both the state of Ohio and the Michigan Territory.

    Ohio and Michigan both had good reason for wanting control of Toledo and the Maumee River. By 1825, the completion of the Erie Canal had linked the Great Lakes to the east coast, presenting valuable opportunities for trade. As the largest port on Lake Erie’s western side, the growing village of Toledo was poised to become a commercial hub. With so much riding on the contested territory, both sides attempted to tighten their grip on it. The Michigan Territory settled the region and constructed roads, held elections and collected taxes. Ohio, meanwhile, tried to find support for its cause in Washington. In the early 1830s, Buckeye congressmen even helped block a Michigan petition for statehood in an effort to force the Territory’s surrender of the Toledo Strip.


    The Toledo dispute started to spin out of control in early 1835. Just a few months earlier, the territorial governorship of Michigan had fallen to a brash, 23-year-old politician named Stevens T. Mason. The “Boy Governor” wasted little time in asserting his authority over the Toledo Strip. “We are the weaker party, it is true,” he proclaimed, “but we are on the side of justice…we cannot fail to maintain our rights against the encroachments of a powerful neighboring state.” In February 1835, Mason oversaw the passage of the “Pains and Penalties Act,” which levied harsh fines and jail sentences on any Ohio officials who tried to exercise jurisdiction over the contested territory. Not to be outdone, Ohio Governor Robert Lucas and his state legislature passed a resolution that extended their county borders into the Strip. They also contracted a team of surveyors to re-mark the boundary line. As the tensions grew, Michigan and Ohio both raised militias to guard their sovereignty over the disputed land.

    While federal mediators tried in vain to diffuse the conflict, Michigan’s authorities went to work enforcing their Pains and Penalties Act. On April 9, 1835, a posse led by a Michigan sheriff rode into Toledo and arrested several Buckeye state officials. Newspapers later reported that an Ohio flag was torn down, dragged through the streets and then burned. A few days later, Michigan militia leader General Joseph Brown led 60 Wolverine partisans on a mission intercept the Ohio border survey team. On April 26, in what became known as the “Battle of Phillips Corners,” Brown’s militia confronted the surveyors, fired warning shots over their heads and arrested nine members of their party.

    No one was killed or injured in the Battle of Phillips Corners, but it wasn’t long before the Toledo War turned bloody. In July 1835, Michigan Sheriff Joseph Wood entered Toledo to arrest an Ohio partisan named Two Stickney. A scuffle broke out when the Sheriff’s posse confronted the Ohioan in a tavern, and during the ensuing brawl, Stickney drew a penknife and stabbed Wood in the side, leaving him with a minor wound.

    Sheriff Wood is now remembered as the Toledo War’s lone casualty, yet in the early autumn of 1835, Michigan and Ohio seemed poised for a pitched battle. Ohio Governor Lucas had announced his intentions to hold a court session in Toledo to establish his state’s rights to the land. In response, Michigan Governor Mason gathered 1,200 Wolverine militiamen and marched on the Toledo Strip. The Michiganders were prepared to use violent force to prevent the session from taking place, yet after arriving on September 7, they found they had been outsmarted: the Ohioans had already held a secret midnight court and then fled the area to avoid bloodshed.

    The court incident marked the last gasp of armed hostilities in the Toledo War. Having lost patience with Stevens T. Mason’s militancy, President Andrew Jackson entered the fray and removed him from his post. Michiganders almost immediately voted the “Boy Governor” back into office, but by then tempers had cooled and the two sides had called off their militias.

    With the threat of civil war averted, Jackson and the federal government looked to settle the land dispute once and for all. The issue remained in legal limbo for the next several months, with much of the debate in Congress centering on the Michigan Territory’s ongoing pleas for statehood. Finally, on December 14, 1836, Michigan reluctantly accepted a Congressional compromise that saw it relinquish its claims on the Toledo Strip in exchange for admittance to the union as the 26th state. At the stroke of a pen, Toledo and the Maumee officially became part of the state of Ohio. Michigan, meanwhile, was compensated with 9,000 square miles of land on the Upper Peninsula between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. At the time, many Michiganders considered the trade-off a bad deal. The Detroit Free Press even dubbed the Upper Peninsula a barren wasteland of “perpetual snows,” but public opinion later shifted after the region was found to contain valuable deposits of copper and iron ore.

    While the Toledo War is now remembered as the most ferocious conflict in Ohio-Michigan history, it wasn’t the last time to the two states clashed over their border. The precise location of the states’ land boundary remained the subject of debate until 1915, when a new government survey was completed. Michigan and Ohio’s governors celebrated the resolution by shaking hands across the border at a peninsula in Lake Erie, and in 1965, their lieutenant governors repeated the ceremony. That same year, the old rivals fixed a plaque with the words “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” to a boundary marker on the state line.



    The Toledo War: When Michigan and Ohio Nearly Came to Blows
     
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  14. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    "Many others"? Like what...several dozen folks on the internet, many of whom may not even be part of Virginia's 8.5 million residents?

    There was a proposed ballot measure within the last decade. My recollection is that it was ultimately taken off the ballot before it could be voted on. When I was in high school in the 1980s, I had a newspaper route, and I recall one day when I was folding the papers to deliver seeing an article discussing the idea of splitting the state into 6 new states. There have been dozens of proposals for new states over the years (including in Virginia), none of which have gone anywhere.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
  15. Southeast US

    Southeast US Law Topic Starter New Member

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    You totally missed my point. Of the little talk there has been on it, the percentage of the response was impressive,

    ....from Virginians.
     
  16. Southeast US

    Southeast US Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I agree and I am well aware of California and some others. But other failures won't diminish my intentions. Now, do I expect it to work? I won't be that disappointed. But I'm enjoying the try. At worse it will be an educational ride.
     
  17. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    How many of those Virginians would be able to contribute the millions of dollars that it would take to accomplish secession?

    Because Step 1 is buy enough politicians that are willing to take a run at it. I say "buy" but I mean campaign contributions which is pretty much the same thing.
     
  18. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    But that just includes the people engaged on the issue — and I'm guessing most of those are from the now disaffected Republicans who have seen the state shift from a largely conservative rural base to a much more liberal leaning trend because of the population explosion in the more urban areas, notably in Northern VA around DC. Given the demographics in the state today, I don't know that you'd find enough support in a general election in the state to split the state in two. And you'd need that first before Congress would ever consider it.
     
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  19. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Ok...well...let's go back to the original question: "what, if anything, has changed since then to prevent us from accomplishing the same thing today[?]"

    Legally, nothing. The Constitution has not changed.

    Beyond that, the circumstances are obviously a lot different. The State of Virginia seceded from the United States in April 1861 (shortly after the attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, which is generally regarded as the beginning of the Civil War), and that secession was ratified a month later. While this was happening, the Virginia counties that would eventually become West Virginia began holding conventions, the end result of which was a vote (of questionable validity) that resulted in those counties seceding from the State of Virginia and the Confederate States of America and seeking admission to the United States. West Virginia became one of two states admitted to the Union during the Civil War.

    Rather obviously, there is virtually no similarity between those circumstances and the circumstances of today. Do enough people today care or want a split? I doubt it. I'm sure the "impressive" percentage that you've referred to is coming from a statistically negligible portion of the state's overall population. It's sort of like saying, "hey, I talked to 153 people, and 127 of those people support Dr. X becoming supreme leader." That's a pretty impressive majority until you consider that those 153 people constitute less than two-thousandths of a percentage of the overall population.
     
  20. Southeast US

    Southeast US Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Late to respond as the site put a 5 post limit on me. Wondering if that is for everyone, or just the new guys?

    But anyway, here is the response I had that may answer some of the other posts in the meantime:

    The Politicians are already on our side. As well as Law Enforcement. Most out there probably don't realize the unique situation we have here in our widespread Red territory that makes up about 2/3's of our commonwealth.
     

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