Sesquicentennial Lecture: When Western Virginians Remained Loyal – June 21st

As part of the State of West Virginia’s sesquicentennial events, Dr. Aaron Sheehan-Dean will present a lecture on “When Western Virginians Remained Loyal: West Virginia Statehood and the Union” in the West Virginia Archives and History Library at the Culture Center in Charleston on Friday, June 21, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

When western Virginians remained loyal to the United States in the Civil War, they were among the only white people living in the slave states who refused to join the Confederacy. Sheehan-Dean will discuss the reasons for their decision. Understanding their motivation helps solve one of the continuing puzzles at the heart of the Civil War: why people stayed loyal to the U.S. He will explore what the United States represented that compelled such sacrifice from its loyal citizens. Sheehan-Dean also will explore what other northerners thought about West Virginia statehood. Beyond the technical question of state creation and the strategic importance of securing the territory of western Virginia, he will discuss how Americans understood what West Virginians’ loyalty meant.

Aaron Sheehan-Dean is the Eberly Professor of Civil War Studies at West Virginia University. He is the author of Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia (2007) and the Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War (2008), and he is also the editor of several books. He teaches courses on 19-century U.S. history, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and Southern History.


For additional information, contact Bryan Ward, assistant director of Archives and History, at (304) 558-0230, ext 723, or Bryan.E.Ward@wv.gov.

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