John Brown and the Second War For Slavery

The primary reason why Southern United States culture and Spartan culture are so similar is that both societies lived in existential fear their Slaves would rise up and murder them in their sleep.

Which is actually a pretty outstanding idea, that’s why John Brown tried to raid the Harper’s Ferry Army Depot- to steal the weapons and distribute them. It’s also why there’s a Second Amendment because the Southern Slave Holders wanted to be able to use armed Militias to hunt down runaway Slaves. C’mon, we call out the National Guard in Hurricanes. We’re talking Property Damage!

Damn Anarchists.

It is ironic on several levels, though none of them in the classical sense, that West Virginia is trying to steal away counties from Virginia again.

West Virginia’s governor to Virginia counties: Leave your blue state and join West Virginia
By Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post
Jan. 28, 2020

As Virginia’s new Democratic majority ushers through a raft of liberal proposals on issues including gun control and abortion, West Virginia’s governor is making an unusual proposal to disgruntled Virginians: Break away.

Gov. Jim Justice (R) on Tuesday endorsed a plan for conservatives unhappy with the new direction of their state legislature to demand ballot referendums in their cities and counties this November, through which they could express their desire for their county to leave Virginia and join West Virginia instead.

West Virginia was formed when a set of counties did just that during the Civil War, leaving Virginia after it left the Union. Those counties seceded from the secessionist state, forming the new U.S. state of West Virginia.

“West Virginia is an incredible state. … We’ve got great people. We’ve got four incredible seasons,” Justice said in his speech wooing wayward Virginians. “We’re a loving, good people. Faith-based people. People that really know the difference between right and wrong. … If you’re not truly happy where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Virginia.”

University of Virginia constitutional law professor Richard C. Schragger said a county may leave one state and join another with the majority vote of both states’ legislatures and the U.S. Congress, according to the U.S. Constitution. Schragger predicted that while West Virginia’s legislature might welcome Justice’s proposal, Virginia’s remaining Republican lawmakers would be loath to let conservative counties break away. Virginia’s Democrats would probably oppose the secession also, he said, “as a matter of pride and … a sense of the historic integrity of the state.”

Schragger said the proposal, while constitutional, was unimaginable: “Not in a million years.”

Justice was accompanied during his speech by Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, a large evangelical college in Lynchburg, Va., who laid out details of the plan while Justice spoke in broad strokes about West Virginia’s welcome to all. Even though Lynchburg is about 100 miles from the West Virginia border, Falwell said he would vote for the city to leave Virginia for the purpose of “escaping the barbaric, totalitarian and corrupt Democratic regime in Richmond.”

“The threat from the radical left is real and spreading across the country. We have a rare opportunity to make history in our time by pushing back against tyranny,” Falwell said. He recalled that Kentucky was once part of Virginia and became its own state shortly after the American Revolution, and that West Virginia broke away from Virginia. “I hope history will also record, one day, how Virginia divided once again in our day.”

Falwell also proposed a more extreme alternative, which he said he has floated to “high-level folks in the federal government” but knows is not feasible: disenfranchising an enormous swath of Northern Virginia, by making any area where federal workers or contractors reside part of the District instead of Virginia.

The federal district with no vote in Congress or a state legislature, he said, should include “10 times” more suburban area than just Alexandria and Arlington — which a Republican state legislator recently proposed should be part of the District rather than vote in Virginia, although the jurisdictions form a significant part of Virginia’s tax base. “You have people intended by the founders to be in a federal district and not voting in any state, because they had a conflict of interest, voting in Virginia. That’s really what’s taken control of Virginia over from its residents,” Falwell said.

Virginia House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), the first African American and first woman to hold that position, called Falwell’s suggestion “laughable.”

“Individuals in Alexandria and Arlington are just as Virginian,” she wrote in an email, as those in rural counties like Loudoun, Frederick and Clarke. “So are hard-working members of our Federal Government that live in Virginia. Suggestions of giving up parts of our Commonwealth are laughable — our diversity is our strength.”

Virginia Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D), whose district includes Falls Church and parts of Alexandria and Fairfax County, reacted by saying, essentially, good riddance.

“Just when you think you have heard it all,” Saslaw said in a text message. “I am sure there are a fair amount of people who would be delighted with Falwell moving to West Virginia.”

Ironic how? Well, West Virginia is made out of Virginia that did not participate in the War For Slavery (Virginia was really big). Since the Civil Rights Movement and Partisan Realignment along Racist lines as a result of the “Southern Strategy” West Virginia, long a Democratic firewall, has turned bright Red Republican while Rebel Virginia on the other hand has turned a hazy shade of Democratic Blue.

West Virginia’s attempt to split up Virginia betrays the history of both states
By Daniel Sunshine, Washington Post
Jan. 29, 2020

Having campaigned in 2019 on promises to pass gun-control laws, Virginia Democrats are moving forward with legislation to “limit handgun purchases to once a month, ban military-style weapons and silencers, allow localities to ban guns in public spaces and enact ‘red flag’ laws so authorities can temporarily seize weapons.”

Although gun-control measures are favored in the cities and suburbs where most of the state’s residents live, nearly all of Virginia’s counties have declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” In these counties, local officials have vowed to ignore new restrictions on guns on the grounds that they are unconstitutional (assuming for themselves the power of the judiciary).

On Jan. 14, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution urging those counties in Virginia to abandon the Old Dominion and join their state, just as the founders of West Virginia did during the Civil War. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. reiterated the message Tuesday during a news conference with Gov. Jim Justice (R-W.Va.).

However, this symbolic resolution of support for Virginia’s counties misinterprets history. West Virginia’s founders launched their own state government to challenge a small but powerful governing elite in Virginia. Their project was to expand democratic participation and challenge the authority of those who held the state hostage to minority interests. Today, it is the gun-control reformers, not the Second Amendment sanctuaries, that are following in the tradition of challenging powerful entrenched interests like the gun lobby to make the voice of the people heard.

Since 1830, western grievances had dominated Virginia politics. At three state constitutional conventions, western advocates mostly failed to eliminate special privileges enjoyed by slaveholders, largely concentrated in eastern Virginia. These advocates, later the founders of West Virginia, were not anti-slavery. They were anti-slaveholder. They thought that government in Virginia was undemocratic, serving eastern slaveholders’ special interests over those of the citizenry.

And they were right that slaveholders held a position of tremendous economic and political power. They benefited from a provision in the state Constitution that taxed slave property at a fraction of market value.

In a form of gerrymandering, Virginia’s legislature was also apportioned to suit slaveholders. Operating under the “mixed basis,” Virginia’s legislative districts were apportioned according to a ratio of white citizens and the value of all property they held. Factoring in property meant that eastern slaveholders, the wealthiest people in the state, received extra representation in the state legislature. A western delegate might represent 1,000 citizens, on average poorer and non-slaveholding, whereas an eastern delegate might represent just 500 citizens by virtue of their immense property of enslaved people. In a literal sense, slaveholders’ wealth earned them a more powerful vote.

Slaveholders argued that those with the most invested in the state deserved the most say in its government, but western reformers denounced the mixed basis as undemocratic. They wanted to replace it by simply using the white basis, or the white population size, to determine districts. Western leaders managed to negotiate the white basis for the lower house in 1850, but the mixed basis held for the Virginia Senate.

Westerners despaired at ever passing legislation if the Senate remained artificially packed with slaveholders. Although relieved at this limited victory, western politicians felt frustrated that they had to cut deals to achieve political equality among voters, which they saw as a nonnegotiable natural right. Western reformers also unsuccessfully campaigned for the secret ballot. They argued that viva voce voting (in which a voter had to publicly proclaim his choice) pressured poorer citizens to vote in lockstep with their wealthier neighbors, from whom they might earn wages, rent land or draw loans.


The regional tension culminated in 1861, when eastern delegates outvoted western ones to bring Virginia into the Confederacy. Richmond mobs then chased the overwhelmingly pro-Union western delegates out of the city. Western reformers could have held their tongues and silently hoped for a Union victory, or they could have fled to the North. Instead, they seized a chance to implement their reforms in a new state.

They were prepared to first simply eliminate slaveholders’ special privileges, but instead adopted gradual emancipation to appease President Abraham Lincoln. Even so, they remained concerned that the wealthy might find ways to disadvantage poorer citizens with less of a voice. Article I of the West Virginia Constitution guaranteed that “Every citizen shall be entitled to equal representation in the Government, and in all apportionments of representation, equality of numbers” would be respected.

Remembering slaveholders’ tax breaks in Virginia, the West Virginia Constitution also mandated that “taxation shall be free and equal throughout the State, and all property, both real and personal, shall be taxed in proportion to its value.”

These westerners had revolted at tremendous risk to ensure a government that would be responsive to the will of all citizens. These roots are why it is so perplexing that West Virginia would invoke its founding as a rationale to thwart a voter mandate on gun control in 2020.

Today, Virginia’s legislature is doing precisely what West Virginia’s founders wanted it to do in the antebellum era: be responsive to its citizens. At a time when most of Virginia’s voters support each gun-control measure planned by the legislature (86 percent of voters favor background checks, for example), West Virginia’s resolution is tipping the scales in favor of special interests over the people, ultimately doing a disservice to the founders it claims to venerate.

Now you could take this as the Sumter of the Second War but I say- “So what?” Acela baby!