Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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Map of April 4, 1861, Vote on Secession

Union or Secession
  • Map of April 4, 1861, Vote on Secession
The importance of slavery in the different regions of Virginia influenced the political opinions of delegates when they voted to reject secession on April 4, 1861.
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  • Map of April 17, 1861, Vote on Secession
    Map of April 17, 1861, Vote on Secession
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Map of April 4, 1861, Vote on Secession

Residences of delegates who voted for and against secession on April 4, 1861, displayed on E. Hergesheimer, Map of Virginia Showing the Distribution of its Slave Population from the Census of 1860, C. B. Graham, Lithographer (Washington, D.C.: Henry S. Graham, 1861), Library of Virginia.

On April 4, 1861, the convention rejected a motion to secede by a vote of 90 to 45. The importance of slavery in the different regions of Virginia influenced the political opinions of convention delegates when they voted on the secession resolution that day. Plotting the places of residence of the delegates on an 1861 map showing the distribution of slaves in Virginia illustrates that the strongest support for secession came from areas where slaves were most numerous and that opposition to secession came from regions where slaves were less numerous. No delegate in the Virginia Convention of 1861 favored abolishing slavery, and some opponents of secession feared that secession and civil war would endanger slavery in Virginia. Voters in cities and in counties with large commercial towns elected very few supporters of secession.

Some counties contain no marker because 17 delegates were absent on April 4, and some counties were parts of districts that included more than one county and the district's delegate resided in another county.