As things have become increasingly tense in the standoff between Richmond and the rest of Virginia over gun rights, West Virginia has offered to help their neighbors.
The history of Virginia and West Virginia is rather interesting and a bit telling. Virginia used to be huge. The trans-allegheny areas of the western parts of the state always felt the tidewater areas where the capital was never really represented them and was simply taking their taxes for the benefit of the eastern regions. When the civil war broke out the mountain men as they were known didn’t really have much use for slavery anyways so why go through this war to protect it. They split off from Virginia and joined the Union in 1861 and were formally accepted as a state in 1863. That independent mind set is still alive and well in the heart of West Virginian’s.
Funny thing is the legal mechanisms that were used to facilitate that split way back when are still in place today. On January 14th, HCR 14 was introduced to the West Virginia Legislature by more than 2 dozen delegates that offers to “adopt” any counties or cities in Virginia who wished to join West Virginia. The resolution is long but a great read for anyone who really loves history and irony. Here is a link to that page. One of the favorite parts are the quotes from famous founders of Virginia. Here are a few
Thomas Jefferson-who stated in his first draft of the Virginia Constitution, that “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms”
Richard Henry Lee-who stated in The Federal Farmer that “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms”
George Mason-who stated that “To disarm the people…[i]s the most effectual way to enslave them”
Seems West Virginia has not forgotten its history like Richmond has. The process is fairly straight forward for such a huge undertaking. They need the majority of voters from both the Virginia county/city and the same from West Virginia to approve the agreement and then they will be in West Virginia. Now the US Constitution is a bit different on this IF, and this is the big difference, you are talking about adding a NEW state to the Union. Since this would just be a transfer of authority from one state to another it would not be bound by those rules. Also, not sure if the Virginia legislature would try to be involved in the process. I can see the argument both ways. Of course you would want this to be a mutually agreed process BUT why in the hell would Virginia willingly give up their counties and cities to another state. They did not need consent in 1861 so why would they now. BTW, Virginia’s approval is not required under current laws of either state.
While this is fun to talk about and learning about history is always a good thing the chances of this actually happening seem pretty slim. Who knows though. Wouldn’t it be funny if Virginia ends up being the city of Richmond and that’s about it? Rhode Island would seem huge compared to that. All that Michael Bloomberg money spent to basically end an entire state. As the Virginia state seal says, Sic Semper Tyrannis, ‘Thus Always to Tyrants!’ The local slang meaning has been translated as “Get your foot off my neck.” and seems more appropriate than ever, wouldn’t you say?