Slavery and Secession Sentiment in Virginia, 1860-1861

Bowers, James Carr Baker, University of Virginia
Malone, Dumas, Department of History, University of Virginia

What I have endeavored to do in this paper is to trace the progress and causes of secession sentiment among the people of Virginia during the year immediately preceding her secession from the Union, touching upon prior sentiment only by way of introduction; and leaving out of consideration entirely action on the matter, either in the State any discussion of official action on the matter, either in the State or in the United States except in so far as it is necessary for a comprehension of the movement of popular sentiment. Mr. J. C. McGregor's Disruption of Virginia contains a full account of the proceedings of the Virginia Convention of 1861 and the events leading up to it, and will serve to complete the narrative set forth in this paper. In attempting to get at the sentiment of the people themselves, it was necessary to go back to the sources, of which but few were available. Every possible effort has been made, however, to avoid a fragmentary appearance and yet be scientifically correct. A great aid in this was the reports of public meetings held throughout the State and reported in the Richmond papers. All these reports have been consulted in the drawing of conclusions, but only representative ones quoted. There is the difficulty, of course, that the editorial policy of the paper might have determined the character of the reports of mass meetings printed. But this does not seem to have been so. In the Virginia State Library and the Library of the University of Virginia there is scarcely a reference to sentiment in the present state of West Virginia, with the result that for this section I was compelled to rely on The Disruption of Virginia by James C. McGregor, to whom I hereby acknowledge my indebtedness.

MA (Master of Arts)
Slavery -- United States -- Virginia, Secession
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: