The American Civil War : West Virginia

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West Virginia had a unique journey to statehood considering it was a product of the American Civil War. However, the journey can be traced back as far as 1776 when tension mounted between eastern regions and the western regions of Virginia, where only white males in possession of at least 25 acres of improved land were granted voting rights by the Virginia Constitution (Birthday.wv.gov par. 1). The eastern region of the state was therefore favored by this legal provision and as a result, it led to discontent with the western regions of the state (Sullivan 159). Furthermore, population factors were ignored by the Virginia constitution when deciding the number of delegates from each county. In this regard, the eastern region of the state was…show more content…
George A. Porterfield engaged in one of the first land battles of the war on June 3, 1861 (Wolfe 9). Philippi was a strategic town, south of Grafton, and the Union forces determined to control the region and drove the Rebel forces back to secure an early victory in the war. As a result of the Union victory, Rebels were denied access to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which hurt their efforts in the western regions of Virginia, while Union resolve in western Virginia was strengthened. Such a victory brought great political strength to region of western Virginia, consequently weakening the political hierarchy of eastern Virginia. Unmoved by the Union victory at Philippi, eastern politicians sought to secede from the Union. As a result, they crafted the Virginia ordinance of secession and had the political numbers to annul the ordinance at the Wheeling Convention. Moreover, the convention named eastern politician Francis H. Pierpont as Virginia governor after the federal government and state government offices at Richmond fell vacant (Sullivan 159). The “restored” government of Virginia took control, but the political differences between the western and eastern Virginia had only just begun. The Election of Abraham Lincoln The election of Abraham Lincoln as the 16th President of the United States of America on March 4, 1861 marked another significant chapter in Western Virginia’s journey to statehood (Brisbin 269). The
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