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SharePrint Media File

Type: Video

Series Title West Virginia: A Film History

Filmmaker Mark Samels

Company West Virginia Humanities Council

Format DVD


Narrator: On May 29, 1862, Waitman T. Willey presented West Virginia’s application for statehood to the United States Senate.

“The division of the state of Virginia is a physical, a political and commercial necessity. It is indispensable to the development of the great natural resources of West Virginia and to the prosperity and happiness of its inhabitants.”

Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, a leading abolitionist, demanded that West Virginia only be admitted as a free state. Senator Carlile insisted that residents of the state be given the choice over slavery.

“Congress will hesitate long before it consents to the subdivision of a slave state. Simply that two slave states may be made out of it.” Archibald Campbell

Willey proposed an amendment providing for the gradual elimination of slavery in the new state. The Senate passed the statehood bill with Willey’s amendment attached.

Carlile voted against it. Carlile supporters were shocked. “His conversion is greater than that of St. Paul,” said a colleague.

“Carlile has run himself clear under water. The people would have forgiven him almost anything except his vote against the new state.” Chester Hubbard

“The most lively topic here,” wrote a Wheeling woman, “is the detestation of Carlile.”

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