nineteenth century

January 30, 1882

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York on this day in 1882, but perhaps no other president besides Jimmy Carter had such strong Georgia ties. Stricken with polio in 1921, Roosevelt made his first visit to Warm Springs three years later. It became his second home. He founded what is now the […]

January 29, 1878

Walter F. George

The son of sharecroppers in Webster County became one of the longest serving U.S. senators in Georgia history. Walter F. George graduated from Mercer Law School and won election to the U.S. Senate in 1922. He supported early New Deal programs but broke with President Franklin D. Roosevelt over his attempt to pack the Supreme […]

January 26, 1846

Georgia Supreme Court

We often talk about firsts. Today, it’s a last. The United States got its Supreme Court in 1789. For many years Georgia was the only state that didn’t have a supreme court to review lower court decisions. The only way to correct judicial error was a new trial in a local court. That changed in […]

January 16, 1871

Jefferson Franklin Long

Georgia’s first African-American congressman was born a slave. Jefferson Franklin Long was born in Alabama in 1836. His master sold him to a man in Macon. Long taught himself to read and write while setting type for the Macon newspaper. Long attended Macon’s African Methodist Episcopal Church and was deeply influenced by Henry McNeal Turner, […]

January 15, 1821

Lafayette McLaws

He was the second-highest ranking Georgian in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and fought in every major battle, but was court-martialed for neglect of duty. Lafayette McLaws was born in Augusta in 1821. a West Point graduate, he served in the Mexican War, but resigned his commission to fight for the Confederacy. McLaws rose quickly […]

January 19, 1861

Georgia Secedes From Union

Georgia’s decision in 1861 to leave the United States had far-reaching and unintended consequences for all Georgians…and indeed all Southerners. Secession began after President Lincoln’s election in the belief that his Republican Party was aggressively anti-slavery. As the largest and most populous Deep South state, Georgia was crucial to the success of the secessionist movement. […]

January 18, 1892

Oliver Hardy

He was the large half of the duo that was widely considered the greatest comedy team in film history, always complaining, “This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.” Norvell Hardy was born in Harlem, Georgia, in 1892, and grew up in Madison, Covington, Athens, and Milledgeville. He was working at a theater when […]

January 7, 1861

Robert Toombs

He stood for saving the Union and he later zealously argued for secession, Robert Toombs was one of the most influential Georgians of the 19th century. Born in Wilkes County in 1810, Toombs served in the Georgia Legislature before being elected to four terms in the U.S. House and then the U.S. Senate. He was […]

January 1, 1863

Emancipation Proclamation

Few presidential acts have had more impact upon the arc of history than the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on this day in 1863. It transformed a war for union into a crusade for human freedom. Emancipation had not initially been a U.S. war aim. As the Union death toll mounted however, support […]

December 30, 1851

Asa Candler

He took Coca-Cola from the drug store to Main Street, and endowed a great university. Asa Candler was born in Villa Rica in 1851. While working as a pharmacist in Atlanta in 1887 he bought the rights and formula for Coca-Cola from John Pemberton for $2,300. Candler thought the concoction’s future was a soft drink […]