Reasons for Voting for Lincoln in Virginia

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
November 3, 1860

The Wellsburg Herald of yesterday, has a long article giving reasons why, first, citizens of Virginia should not vote for either of the Democratic tickets, and second, why they should not vote for Bell and Everett. The article closes as follows:

But why should citizens of Virginia vote for Lincoln? In the first place, as citizens of Virginia they should vote for him like any other citizen of the United States, because his principles are broad and national, and are such as if carried out would best develop the national prosperity.

But there are special reasons why citizens of Virginia should be Republicans.- They should vote for Lincoln and Hamlin, if for no other reason, because they have been told in some quarters that they would not be allowed to vote that ticket. Whenever the question is brought up in this shape and a portion of the people are told that they shall vote as it pleases them, then that one principle of our government that is thus brought in question becomes of more importance to the citizen than all the other questions involved in the canvass. The right to vote as a man pleases is the very corner stone of free institutions, and the man who will not assert it, and, if need be, defend it at the price of his blood, does not deserve the name of a free man. When he relinquishes that right under threats or menaces, he becomes a very slave and deserves to be treated as a slave. Yet, in certain portions of our State, not very remote, this right is denied and it has been publicly proclaimed that no man shall vote for Lincoln. To this proclamation only one answer can be given, and that must be given at any cost, and the threat treated with the contempt it deserves. Virginians should not only vote for Lincoln and Hamlin to demonstrate their independence when it is called in question, but they should vote for them to demonstrate their abhorrence of the treasonable sentiments of the secession Democracy. Republicanism in the South is the antipodes of Breckinridge Democracy, and the larger the vote for Lincoln and Hamlin the sharper the rebuke to the disunionists. - A large Lincoln vote, would of all things demonstrate the lack of sympathy between Virginia and the cotton States and dampen the ardor of these latter States in favor of disunion. The Gulf States, protect States by a cordon of border may safely agitate ______________ will materially lessen.

Besides these reasons of a more general nature, the domestic polics of Virginia has been shaped for many years back to foster the slave interest at the expense of all others, and it has become necessary for the development of Western Virginia that a different system should prevail. To institute such a policy, vote for Lincoln and Hamlin and help organize a political party in Western Virginia that will counteract and slaveholding oligarchy. It can be done-all that is necessary is to organize the elements on a national foundation and give them backbone enough to hold them upright; and if the people say so, it will be done and our iniquitous laws be modified peaceably, quietly and without disturbance.

Chapter Two: Election of 1860

West Virginia Statehood

West Virginia Archives and History