To the Editor,
I recently received one of those mass emails from Rep. David McKinley regarding West Virginia's sesquicentennial. The email stated that West Virginia was "...the only state born during the divisive war between the states and the only state formed by Presidential Decree."
While I appreciate the sentiment behind this email, the first part of that statement is factually incorrect and the second part is ambiguous at best. The Civil War ran from 1861 to 1865. West Virginia was admitted on June 20, 1863 and Nevada was admitted to the Union on October 31, 1864.
Secondly, while President Lincoln signed an order admitting West Virginia as a state, it was not a unilateral act by the White House. There were state conventions, voting, applications to Congress, and the approval of the Reorganized Government of Virginia. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of the United States did agree that the creation of West Virginia as a separate entity followed constitutional requirements, something that would not be possible had the state been created by mere presidential fiat.
Again, I appreciate what Rep. McKinley was trying to get across in that email, but the creation of our state is worth doing some basic research.