"We are in favor of a National Convention"
Editorial in the Staunton Vindicator, November 23, 1860.
Following Abraham Lincoln's election as president, South Carolina and other states in the lower South immediately called for conventions to determine their fates. Many white Virginians did not strongly identify with residents of the lower South states, especially in regions of Virginia where slavery was less important. Some residents in western Virginia and in the Shenandoah Valley, including the editor of the Staunton Vindicator, shared more interests with residents of the other slave states bordering free states. "We have no idea of 'hitching' on to the Cotton States, on any other conditions than those we may prescribe ourselves," the editor wrote. "They must come to us—we can never go to them without depreciating our position and losing our self-respect. We have all to lose as Border States—they, as Gulf States, nothing, comparatively." The Vindicator's editor called for a national convention including representatives of free and slave states to arrange a compromise to keep the union together. If the union dissolved, the editor hoped it could be peaceful, as was the separation of the Methodist Episcopal Church into northern and southern divisions in 1845 over the question of slavery.