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Recognize the Confederacy

Union or Secession
  • Recognize the independence of the Confederate States
On March 1, 1861, John Echols, of Monroe County, introduced a resolution in the Virginia Convention urging the United States government to recognize the independence of the Confederate States of America.
Related Biographies:
  • John Echols (1823–1896). Photograph in Special Collections, Library of Virginia.
    John Echols
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Recognize the independence of the Confederate States

Speech of John Echols, of Monroe County, in the Virginia Convention, March 1, 1861, printed in George H. Reese and William H. Gaines, Jr., eds., Proceedings of the Virginia State Convention of 1861 (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1965), 1:275–276.

On March 1, 1861, four days before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as president of the United States, John Echols introduced a resolution in the Virginia Convention urging the United States government to recognize the independence of the Confederate States of America. Elected to the convention as an opponent of secession from the western mountain county of Monroe, Echols was one of several delegates who hoped that allowing the lower South slave states to secede peacefully would preserve peace. He voted against secession on April 4, 1861, when a motion to secede failed to pass, but voted for secession when the motion passed on April 17.

Speech of John Echols, of Monroe County, in the Virginia Convention, March 1, 1861, printed in George H. Reese and William H. Gaines, Jr., eds., Proceedings of the Virginia State Convention of 1861 (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1965), 1:275–276.

Mr. President, I beg leave to offer the following resolutions, which I ask may be referred to the Committee on Federal Relations:
Resolved, That, in the present political complications of our country, it is the duty of the Congress of the United States to recognize the separate and independent nationality of the States that have united themselves under the name of the Confederate States of America.
That, concurrently with such recognition, a treaty should be made between the two Governments, which treaty should, among other things, fix, 1st, the perpetual prohibition of the African slave trade, and 2d, the free navigation of the Mississippi river.