Seceding from Secession - The Civil War Politics and the Creation of West Virginia
Eric J. Wittenberg, Edmund A. Sargus, Penny L. Barrick
Publisher: Savas Beatie
A “thoroughly researched [and] historically enlightening” account of how the Commonwealth of Virginia split in two in the midst of war (Civil War News). “West Virginia was the child of the storm.” —Mountaineer historian and Civil War veteran Maj. Theodore F. Lang As the Civil War raged, the northwestern third of the Commonwealth of Virginia finally broke away in 1863 to form the Union’s 35th state. Seceding from Secession chronicles those events in an unprecedented study of the social, legal, military, and political factors that converged to bring about the birth of West Virginia. President Abraham Lincoln, an astute lawyer in his own right, played a critical role in birthing the new state. The constitutionality of the mechanism by which the new state would be created concerned the president, and he polled every member of his cabinet before signing the bill. Seceding from Secession includes a detailed discussion of the 1871 U.S. Supreme Court decision Virginia v. West Virginia, in which former Lincoln cabinet member Salmon Chase presided as chief justice over the court that decided the constitutionality of the momentous event. Grounded in a wide variety of sources and including a foreword by Frank J. Williams, former Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and Chairman Emeritus of the Lincoln Forum, this book is indispensable for anyone interested in American history.