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Learning Exercises


We come here to carry out and execute, and it may be, to institute a government for ourselves. We are determined to live under a State Government in the United States of America and under the Constitution of the United States. It requires stout hearts to execute this purpose; it requires men of courage - of unfaltering determination; and I believe, in the gentlemen who compose this Convention, we have the stout hearts and the men who are determined in this purpose. - Arthur Boreman, First Session of the Second Wheeling Convention, June 12, 1861

The Civil War was one of the pivotal events in the history of the United States, one that determined once and for all the question of slavery and strengthened the role of the federal government. For Virginians, the 1861-1865 conflict was momentous for another event - the rending of Virginia into two parts, east and west, and the formation of a new state called "West Virginia." The events that led to the creation of West Virginia in 1863 - from the decades-long divisions between the eastern counties of Virginia and their sister counties to the west, through the formation of a loyal Virginia government by western counties after the state government in Richmond seceded from the Union and the meeting of various conventions to formulate a new government, to Abraham Lincoln's signing of the statehood bill and the inauguration of Arthur Boreman as West Virginia's first governor - are the focus of West Virginia Archives and History's online exhibit "A State of Convenience: The Creation of West Virginia."

"A State of Convenience" provides primary and secondary source documents, photographs, maps and illustrations that are related to the formation of West Virginia. To compliment the online exhibit, Archives and History staff developed this collection of exercises to encourage students to interact with the exhibit and the resources found within. Teachers are encouraged to use and adapt the exercises to meet their needs. Archives and History would also like to have other exercises or lesson plans developed by teachers that could be added to the Archives and History website. If you have lesson plans or exercises that you would like to share please contact [email protected].

A State of Convenience Learning Exercises (PDF file contains all exercises) PDF

Chapter One

East vs. West DOC
East vs. West - Image Analysis DOC
East vs. West - Writing Exercise DOC

Chapter Two

The Election of 1860DOC
The 1860 Presidential Vote in VirginiaDOC

Chapter Three

The Richmond ConventionDOC
The Virginia Ordinance of SecessionDOC

Chapter Four

The Clarksburg Convention Exercise 1DOC
The Clarksburg Convention Exercise 2DOC

Chapter Five

The First Wheeling ConventionDOC

Chapter Six

Ratification of the Ordinance of SecessionDOC

Chapter Seven

The First Session of Second Wheeling ConventionDOC

Chapter Eight

Legislature of the Reorganized Government of Virginia
Meets in Extra Session

Chapter Nine

Second Session of the Second Wheeling ConventionDOC

Chapter Ten

Statehood ReferendumDOC

Chapter Eleven

West Virginia Constitutional ConventionDOC

Chapter Twelve

Reorganized Government of Virginia Approves SeparationDOC

Chapter Thirteen

Congressional Debates on the Admission of West VirginiaDOC

Chapter Fourteen

Lincoln's DilemmaDOC

Chapter Fifteen

West Virginians Approve the Willey AmendmentDOC

Chapter Sixteen

The New State of West VirginiaDOC

Table of Contents