Showdown in Virginia: The 1861 Convention and the Fate of the Union

Showdown in Virginia: The 1861 Convention and the Fate of the Union

by William W. Freehling
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0813929644

ISBN-13: 9780813929644

Pub. Date: 03/29/2010

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

In the spring of 1861, Virginians confronted destiny—their own and their nation’s. Pivotal decisions awaited about secession, the consequences of which would unfold for a hundred years and more. But few Virginians wanted to decide at all. Instead, they talked, almost interminably. The remarkable record of the Virginia State Convention, edited in a fine

Overview

In the spring of 1861, Virginians confronted destiny—their own and their nation’s. Pivotal decisions awaited about secession, the consequences of which would unfold for a hundred years and more. But few Virginians wanted to decide at all. Instead, they talked, almost interminably. The remarkable record of the Virginia State Convention, edited in a fine modern version in 1965, runs to almost 3,000 pages, some 1.3 million words. Through the diligent efforts of William W. Freehling and Craig M. Simpson, this daunting record has now been made accessible to teachers, students, and general readers. With important contextual contributions—an introduction and commentary, chronology, headnotes, and suggestions for further reading—the essential core of the speeches, and what they signified, is now within reach.

This is a collection of speeches by men for whom everything was at risk. Some saw independence and even war as glory; others predicted ruin and devastation. They all offered commentary of lasting interest to anyone concerned about the fate of democracy in crisis.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813929644
Publisher:
University of Virginia Press
Publication date:
03/29/2010
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,185,314
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Editorial Procedures xxi

Chronology xxiv

Map of Virginia in 1861 xxvii

Part I Secession Debated 1

1 Jeremiah Morton's Secessionist Speech, February 28 3

2 Waitman Willey's Unionist Speech, March 4 11

3 John Carlile's Unionist Speech, March 7 22

4 George Brent's Unionist Speech, March 8 31

5 George Summers's Unionist Speech, March 12 43

6 George Wythe Randolph's Secessionist Speech, March 16 49

7 James Holcombe's Secessionist Speech, March 20 62

8 John Baldwin's Unionist Speech, March 21-23 75

9 Hugh Nelson's Unionist Speech, March 26 89

10 Thomas Flournoy's Unionist Speech, March 30 94

11 James Barbour's Secessionist Speech, March 30-April 1 101

12 Robert Montague's Secessionist Speech, April 1-2 113

13 George Richardson's Secessionist Speech, April 3-4 122

14 Chapman Stuart's Unionist Speech, April 5 130

Part II Taxation Debated 133

15 William G. Brown Initiates the Taxation Debate, March 7 135

16 Waitman Willey Introduces His Motion, March 16 136

17 The Confrontation That Willey's Motion Provoked, March 18-19 138

William G. Brown 138

Miers Fisher 139

Benjamin Wilson 140

Thomas Branch 140

Allen Taylor Caperton 141

Marmaduke Johnson 142

Samuel Woods 143

18 Willey's Climactic Taxation Speech, March 28 and April 2 145

19 The Final Presecession Confrontation on Taxation, April 10-11 148

Henry Wise 148

Cyrus Hall 149

Williams C. Wickham 150

20 Willey's Motion Adopted, April 11 152

Part III Decisions 153

21 The Quest for Lincoln's Intentions, April 6 155

William Ballard Preston's Initiative 155

Virginia's Division Foreshadowed 156

22 The Beginning of the End, April 13 160

Jubal Early's Ironic Appeal 161

The Early-Goode Near Duel 162

23 Decision Barely Averted, April 15 165

Robert Scott's New Unionist Strategy 165

Henry Wise's Pro Salute Populi 167

John Baldwins Desperation for Delay 168

24 Eve of Decision, April 16 169

George Wythe Randolph's Militarism 169

Alexander H. H. Stuart's Open-Ended Unionism 172

Even the Trans-Allegheny Divided: John Jackson Again Answers William Ballard Preston 177

Robert Scott versus George Wythe Randolph 179

Waitman Willey's and Jubal Early's Alarm 184

Samuel Staples versus John Baldwin 185

25 The Convention's Secession Ordinance Adopted, April 17 189

Alpheus Haymond's Plea 189

John Hughes's Conversion 190

Chapman Stuart's Warning 191

Henry Wises Strike and John Baldwin's Outrage 193

26 The Climactic Wise-Baldwin Debate, April 17 196

27 The Clarksburg Call, April 22 202

28 The Convention's Ad Valorem Taxation Ordinance Adopted, April 26 204

29 Popular Decisions in May 207

Suggestions for Further Reading 209

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