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Author Post
Thu Oct 27 2022, 04:27PM

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Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
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West Virginia emancipation of slaves

Willey Amendment

The children of slaves born within the limits of this State after the fourth day of July, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, shall be free; and all slaves within the said State who shall, at the time aforesaid, be under the age of ten years, shall be free when they arrive at the age of twenty-one years; and all slaves over ten and under twenty-one years, shall be free when they arrive at the age of twenty-five years; and no slave shall be permitted to come into the State for permanent residence therein.

Chapter Thirteen: Congressional Debate on the Admission of West Virginia

Chapter Thirteen
Congressional Debate
on the Admission of West Virginia
On May 29, 1862, Senator Waitman T. Willey presented a formal petition to the United States Senate for the admission of West Virginia to the Union. Willey's petition was referred to the Committee on Territories. Senator John Carlile, who was a member of the committee, was assigned the task of writing the statehood bill. On June 23, Benjamin Wade, who chaired the Committee on Territories, reported the bill to the Senate. Carlile had added fifteen counties, provided for gradual emancipation, and required a new constitutional convention. West Virginians, including his fellow senator, were stunned by Carlile's apparent change of heart regarding statehood.
When the bill was introduced, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts called for an amendment requiring the emancipation of all slaves in West Virginia on July 4, 1863, but his proposal was defeated. Senator Willey then offered a substitute that called for the admission of West Virginia upon approval of gradual emancipation by the constitutional convention. Eventually, a compromise agreement resulted in the Willey Amendment, which provided for gradual emancipation. On July 14, 1862, both the Willey Amendment and the West Virginia statehood bill passed by a vote of 23-17.

Waitman Willey
Senator Waitman T. Willey
John Carlile
Senator John S. Carlile

Carlile's effort to admit West Virginia to the Union without conditions failed. He then opposed the Willey Amendment and voted against the statehood bill, ruining his political career. For decades, historians have puzzled over Carlile's actions. He had long been the most prominent advocate for statehood, but eventually fought against its creation. Although it is unclear what motivated Carlile, it appears that as a strict constitutionalist, he did not believe that Congress had the right to impose conditions in the new state's constitution.
Debate in the House of Representatives was also contentious, but on December 10, 1862, the House passed the statehood bill by a vote of 96-55. It appeared West Virginia statehood was only a sign

[ Edited Thu Oct 27 2022, 04:30PM ]
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