The Secession Movement in Virginia, 1847-1861

The Secession Movement in Virginia, 1847-1861

The Secession Movement in Virginia, 1847-1861

The Secession Movement in Virginia, 1847-1861

Excerpt

Many have written about the secession of Virginia, but no one, so far as I know, has published a comprehensive and, at the same time, critical study of the subject. Several years ago Dr. Douglas S. Freeman prepared, but did not publish, his doctor's dissertation on The Attitude of Political Parties in Virginia Towards Slavery and Secession. Other historians have examined the topic briefly in connection with their treatments of kindred problems. With the exception of Dr. Freeman, these neither placed their emphasis on the story of Virginia's withdrawal from the Union nor had access to material now available. This book is an attempt to fill this gap in historical writing.

The inception of the study was a term paper prepared for Dr. William E. Dodd's seminar at the University of Chicago in 1926. Three years later much of the first six chapters in the present treatment was presented as a doctor's dissertation at the University of North Carolina. Since then new material necessitating a revision has been found, and the last five chapters have been added to complete the story.

In collecting the data for this book I found Dr. Freeman especially kind and helpful. He very generously turned over to me his notes and unpublished dissertation. The frequent references in the notes of my study to these will partially indicate how valuable they have been. For their use I am sincerely grateful. I owe also a special debt to the librarians and their staffs of the Virginia State Library, Library of Congress, the Department of Archives and History of the State of West Virginia, McCormick Agricultural Association, Boston Athenæum, Confederate Museum, and the libraries of the universities of North Carolina and West Virginia for accommodations and assistances in gathering my material. I wish to acknowledge special obligation to Miss Lilly Hagan of Morgantown, for access to her large Waitman T. Willey collection; to Mr. George Coleman of Williamsburg for the use of his valuable Nathaniel Beverly Tucker manuscripts; to Dr. Lyon G. Tyler for help in locating descendants of the leaders of the secession period; and to the late Mr. Armistead C. Gordon for the privilege of examining the rare . . .

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