December 1

William Crawford

December 1, 1824 - Oglethorpe County

A man who killed a political opponent in a duel nearly became the first president from Georgia, long before Jimmy Carter.

William Crawford began his political career in 1803 as a state legislator from Oglethorpe County. Even though he killed a political enemy in a duel in 1802, Crawford’s political star kept rising, with service in the U.S. Senate, as minister to France during the War of 1812, and as Secretary of War and Treasury. Crawford was a leading candidate for president in 1816.

Eight years later, he was as prominent as his presidential rivals Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Henry Clay, but a stroke had left him paralyzed. He came in third behind Jackson and Adams in the four-man race. Jackson won the popular vote but because no candidate received an electoral vote majority, the House of Representatives decided the election, choosing John Quincy Adams amid charges of corrupt bargains.

Georgia would have to wait 150 years for her president, after one of the most controversial elections in history was thrown into the House on December 1, 1824, Today in Georgia History.