Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
(?-1899)
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1881
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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1899
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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GEORGIA

II.107.1

GEORGIA, one of the thirteen original United States. Its territory was originally included in the charter of 1662-3 to the lords proprietors of the Carolinas, but was set apart by a royal charter of June 9, 1732, to a company organized by James Oglethorpe to provide homes in America for indigent persons. The boundaries of the new colony were laid down in the charger as follows: "All those lands, countrys and territories situate, lying and being in that part of South Carolina, in America, which lies from the most northern part of a stream or river there, commonly called the Savannah, all along the sea coast, to the southward, unto the most southern stream of a certain other great water or river called the Alatamaha, and westerly from the heads of the said rivers respectively in direct lines to the south seas." this boundary was more precisely defined by the state constitution of 1798 as beginning at the mouth of the Savannah, running up that river and the Tugalo to the headwaters of the latter, thence straight west to the Mississippi, down that river to parallel 31° north latitude, thence east on that parallel to the Appalachicola or Chattahoochee, along that river to the Flint, thence straight to the head of the St. Mary's river, along that river to the Atlantic, and thence along the coast to the place of beginning. June 20, 1752, the charter was surrendered, and the colony be came a royal province.

II.107.2

—The first state constitution was adopted by a state convention, Feb. 5, 1777. It changed the name of parish to that of county, gave the choice of the governor to the legislature, fixed the governor's term at one year, and forbade the election of any person as governor for more than one year in three. A new constitution was formed by a state convention which met at Augusta, Nov. 4, 1788, and was ratified by another convention at the same place, May 6, 1789. Among other changes, it prolonged the governor's term to two years, and directed the senate to elect the governor from three names to be selected by the house. By an amendment adopted by a new state convention at Louisville, May 16, 1795, Louisville was made the permanent seat of government. Another constitution was adopted in state convention at Louisville, May 30, 1798. It abolished the African slave trade, but forbade the legislature to emancipate slaves without the consent of their owners, or to prevent immigrants from other states from bringing their slaves with them. Various amendments to this constitution were made up to and including the secession convention of 1861, the only one necessary to specify here being that of Nov. 17, 1824, which transferred the election of governor to the people. The changes produced by the rebellion will be given hereafter.

II.107.3

—The territory originally claimed by Georgia, extending from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi, was diminished in 1798 by the formation of Mississippi territory, from which the states of Mississippi and Alabama were afterward formed. (See those states.) All this territory was claimed by Georgia under her charter, the king's proclamation of 1763, and a cession by South Carolina, in April, 1787, of her claims under the original charter. The United States claimed it on the ground that it had been annexed to the British province of West Florida before the revolution, and had been ceded by Great Britain to the United States by the peace of 1783. The controversy was settled by the convention of April 24, 1802, between the United States and Georgia, by which the latter ceded her claims to the territory in dispute, in consideration of $1,250,000, and a stipulation that the United States would extinguish the Indian title to lands within the state of Georgia, for the use of Georgia, "as soon as the same can be peaceably obtained upon reasonable terms." (See CHEROKEE CASE.)

II.107.4

—In presidential elections the electoral votes of Georgia have always been cast for democratic candidates, except in 1840 and 1848, when they were cast for Harrison and Taylor respectively, the whig candidates. In 1789 and 1792 the Georgia electors voted for Washington for the presidency and for various democrats for the vice-presidency. (See ELECTORAL VOTES.) In 1824 the Georgia electors voted for Crawford, and in 1836 for White (see those names), both of these being democrats. Until 1844 the congressional elections were by general ticket, a majority of the electors of the state choosing all the congressmen of the state. Under this system the congressmen were regularly democratic. The federal party made little opposition to the dominant party in the state, but soon after 1830 a strong whig vote appeared and endured until 1855, its best known members being John M. Berrien, Alexander H. Stephens, Thomas Butler King, and Robert Toombs. In 1838 the whigs, by a coalition with the "state rights" faction, elected all the nine congressmen, though four of them afterward declared for Van Buren; and in other years the legislature occasionally chose a whig United States senator. After the adoption of the district system in 1844, the eight districts of the state were at first evenly divided between the two parties. In 1848 the whigs permanently lost one of their districts and in 1850 another; but the seventh and eighth districts, composed of the central counties of the state eastward to the Savannah river, and represented by Stephens and Toombs, remained whig until the final overthrow of the party. The majorities in the democratic districts, though steady, were always very small. After the death of the whig party, an American party appeared in the state. (See WHIG PARTY, AMERICAN PARTY.) Until 1861 it held two of the congressional districts of the state, and maintained a strong vote in the others. To sum up, Georgia was, from 1830 until 1861, one of the most evenly divided of the southern states, and yet one of the steadiest in general vote and in proportional party strength.

II.107.5

—The state elections until 1830 were undisputedly democratic, and all political struggles were entirely personal between different members of the same party. From 1796 until 1810 the claim of land companies to the Mississippi lands claimed by Georgia was the controlling issue in state politics, as was the case from 1825 until 1835 with the removal of the Creek and Cherokee Indians from the state. (See YAZOO FRAUDS, CHEROKEE CASE.) The "state rights party" of Gov. Troup retained its organization after its victory in the Cherokee case. It was still often known as the "Troup party" until about 1837; but in 1832 Thos. B. King and others of its leaders so committed it against Jackson that it gradually became the Georgia whig party.

II.107.6

—After 1830 the state elections resulted almost as steadily in democratic success, but with much greater difficulty. Although but one governor, Crawford, was an avowed whig, the whig party in the state disputed every election vigorously, aided in electing at least one governor, Gilmer, in opposition to the national or regular democratic candidate, and frequently controlled the legislature, generally in years not affected by a presidential election. As a general rule the whig vote in the state may be reckoned at from 47 to 49 per cent. of the total, occasionally rising to a majority.

II.107.7

—The formation of the so-called American party in the state reduced the opposition vote to about 40 per cent., and this proportion represents the opposition in 1860-61 both to the election of Breckinridge and to secession. The opposition to the latter measure, as elsewhere-mentioned, was to the advisability, not to the principle, of secession, and ceased when the majority and pronounced the decision. Indeed, the leader of the so-called union party of the state, A. H. Stephens, was almost immediately elected vice-president of the new southern confederacy. (See ALLEGIANCE, SECESSION. CONFEDERATE STATES.)

II.107.8

—In November, 1860, an act of the legislature provided for a special election for delegates to a state convention, which met at Milledgeville, Jan. 16, 1861. Jan. 16, by a vote of 208 to 89, an ordinance of secession was passed. It repealed the ordinance ratifying the constitution, and the acts ratifying the amendments to the constitution, dissolved the union between Georgia and the other states, and declared "that the state of Georgia is in the full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent state." The minority, however, signed the ordinance, as a pledge that they would sustain their state, with the exception of six; and these yielded so far as to place on the minutes a pledge of "their lives, fortunes and honor" to the defense of the state. Ten delegates were chosen by the convention to represent the state at the organization of the provisional government in Montgomery, and Georgia thus became one of the confederate states. The progress of the war developed a considerable opposition in Georgia to the confederate government. In the leaders it took the form of a sublimated state sovereignty, in opposition to the despotic acts of the executive; but in the mass of voters there seems to have been a strong undercurrent in favor of reconstruction in its first form, that is, re-entrance to the Union on terms. April 30, 1865, the Sherman-Johnson agreement ended the rebellion in Georgia. (See CONFEDERATE STATES, REBELLION, RECONSTRUCTION.)

II.107.9

—June 17, 1865, James Johnson was appointed provisional governor of the state. Under his directions a convention met at Milledgeville, Oct. 25, repealed the ordinance of secession, voided the war debt, and adopted a new state constitution, Nov. 7, which was ratified by popular vote. It recognized the abolition of slavery by the federal government as a war measure, but reserved the right of its citizens to appeal to "the justice and magnanimity of that government" for compensation for slaves; it made the governor ineligible for re-election; it confined the right of suffrage to free white male citizens; and it enjoined upon the legislature the duty of providing by law for "the government of free persons of color." State officers were elected Nov. 15, 1865, the legislature met in December, and the state remained under the new form of government until March, 1867. (See RECONSTRUCTION.) The state then became a part of the third military district, under Maj. Gen. John Pope. Under the direction of Maj. Gen. Meade, who succeeded him, a state convention met at Atlanta, Dec. 8, 1867, and formed a new constitution, which was ratified, April 20, 1868, by a popular vote of 89,007 to 71,309. It declared the paramount allegiance of the citizen to be due to the constitution allegiance of the citizen to be due to the constitution and government of the United States, voided all state laws "in contravention or subversion thereof," declared all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and residents in the state, to be citizens of the state, forbade the legislature to abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens, abolished slavery and the limitation of suffrage to white males, prolonged the governor's term to four years, and voided all contracts for the encouragement of rebellion, made and not executed. Some changes, not affecting any of the above-points, were made in congress, and the state was readmitted by act of June 25, 1868.

II.107.10

—The election at which the constitution had been ratified had resulted in the choice of republican state officers, a republican senate, and a democratic house of representatives. In July the new state officers entered on their duties and the legislature ratified the congressional changes in the constitution, but during this and the next month the legislature proceeded to declare negroes ineligible to membership in it, and to admit to membership several persons who, it was alleged, were disqualified to hold office by the 14th amendment. During the year the state supreme court decided in favor of the eligibility of negroes to office, but the action of the legislature provoked an unfavorable feeling to Georgia in congress, and was construed as an effort to avoid the terms of reconstruction. In December, therefore, the Georgia senators were not admitted, and did not obtain their seats until January and February, 1871; the representatives had been admitted July 25, 1868. The Georgia electors, in obedience to a state law passed under the confederacy and not repealed in 1880, voted Dec. 9, 1868, the second Wednesday of December, instead of the first, as required by the federal statute. On this nominal ground a vigorous effort was made in February, 1869, to reject the vote of Georgia, but it was counted "in the alternative." (See ELECTORS, VII.)

II.107.11

—Nothing, however, could save Georgia from re-reconstruction. The act of Dec. 23, 1869, authorized the governor to reconvene the legislature, with only such members as the reconstruction acts allowed, prohibited the exclusion of qualified members, authorized the use of the army and navy to support the governor, and imposed upon the legislature the ratification of the proposed 15th amendment as a condition precedent to the admission of senators and representatives from Georgia. The seats of the representatives also were thus vacated until January and February, 1871. The organization of the legislature in January and February, 1870, was only effected with great difficulty by the governor, and his irregular course of action was condemned by the senate investigating committee; but the organization was finally accomplished, the conditions fulfilled by the legislature, and the state admitted by act of July 15, 1870. The first election under the new regime took place Dec. 20—22, 1870, and resulted in the choice of democratic state officers, and of five democratic and two republican representatives in congress. At the next election for congressmen, 1872, the state having been re-districted, the republicans lost one congressman and gained one. At the next election, 1872, the democrats elected all the nine congressmen: in two districts the republican vote entirely disappeared, and in all the others it was much reduced. Since that time the state has been democratic in all elections, state and national, and the political contest has been confined to factions of the dominant party. The peculiar state law, requiring electors to vote on thesecondWednesday of December, excited some comment in 1881, but the undisputed republican majority in the presidential election of 1880 allowed the state's electoral votes to be admitted without objection.

II.107.12

—A new constitution was formed by a convention which met at Atlanta, July 11, 1877, and was ratified by popular vote, Dec. 5. Its only noteworthy changes were its location of the state capital at Atlanta, and its limitation of the right of suffrage by prohibiting any one convicted of a penitentiary offense, and not pardoned, from registering, voting or holding office.

II.107.13

—The most prominent citizens of the state in national politics have been William H. Crawford, Herschel V. Johnson, and Alexander H. Stephens. (See those names.) Reference should also be made (see also list of governors) to John M. Berrien, democratic United States senator 1825-9, attorney general under Jackson (see ADMINISTRATIONS), and whig United States senator, 1841-52; Joseph E. Brown, democratic United States senator 1879-85; Howell Cobb, democratic representative 1843051 and 1835-7, speaker of the house 1849-51, and secretary of the treasury under Buchanan (see ADMINISTRATIONS); John Forsyth, democratic representative 1813-18, United States senator 1818-19 and 1829-34, minister to Spain 1819-23, and secretary of state under Jackson and Van Buren (see ADMINISTRATIONS,); Joseph Habersham, postmaster general 1795-1801; Benj. H. Hill, democratic United States senator 1877-82; Thos. Butler King, whig representative 1839-43 and 1845-9; Wilsom Lumpkin, democratic representative 1815-7 and 1827-31, and United States senator 1837-41; John Milledge, democratic representative 1792-3, 1795-9, and 1801-2, and United States senator 1806-9; and Robert Toombs, whig representative 1845-53, democratic United States senator 1853-61, and secretary of state of the confederate state.

II.107.14

—The name of Georgia was given to the colony in 1732 in honor of King George II. The prosperity of the state and its vast possibilities of future growth have encouraged its citizens to give it the popular name of the empire state of the south.

II.107.15

—GOVERNORS George Walton (1789-90); Edward Telfair(1790-3); Geo. Matthews (1793-6); Jared Irwin (1796-8); James Jackson (1798-1801); Josiah Tatnall (1801-2); John Milledge (1802-6); Jared Irwin (1808-9); David B. Mitchell (1809-130; Peter Early (1813-15); David B. Mitchell (1815-17); William Rabun (1817-19); John Clark (1819-23); George M. Troup (1823-7); John Forsyth (1827-9); George R. Gilmer (1829-31); Wilson Lumpkin (1831-5); William Schley (1835-7); George R. Gilmer (1837-9); Charles J. McDonald (1839-43); George W. Crawford (1843-7); G. W. B. Towns (1847-15); Howell Cobb (185103); Herschel V. Johnson (1853-7); Joseph E. Brown (1857-65); James Johnson (provisional, 1865); Chaekwa J. Jenkins (1863-7); John Pope and G.G. Meade (military governors, March, 1867-June, 1868); Rufus B. Bullock (June, 1868-October, 1871); Benjamin Coley (acting, October 1871-January, 1872); James M. Smith (chosen by special election, January, 1872-January, 1877); Alfred H. Colquitt (1877-83).

II.107.16

—See 1 Poore'sFederal and State Constitutions;3 Hildreth'sUnited States, 532;1Stat. at large (Bioren and Duane's edition), 448, 488; White'sHist. Coll. Of Georgia; Hewitt's Historical Account of Georgia(to 1779);Georgia Hist. Soe. Collections; Stevens'History of Georgia (to 1798); McCall'sHistory of Georgia(to 1816); W. H. Carpenter'sHistory of Georgia(to 1852); Muller'sBench and Bar of Georgia; 2 A.H. Stephen'sWar Between the States,197. 312; 1,4, Force's Tracts;Tribune Almanac, 1838-81; Appleton'sAnnual Cyclopœdia,1861-80.

ALEXANDER JOHNSTON.

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