During the months following Abraham Lincoln's election in November 1860, white Virginians discussed the future of the Union in personal conversations, in private letters, in public addresses, in the pages of newspapers, and in organized public meetings. Some people endorsed secession or offered their services to the governor in the event of war. Others vigorously denounced secessionists and disunion. Still others spoke of the necessity to find a compromise to save the Union and preserve the peace. Some of the state's enslaved African Americans recognized that the debates about the Union and about slavery affected their lives, too, and they embraced a rumor that circulated early in 1861 that they would become free when Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated president on March 4, 1861.