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This Day in Georgia History

November 13, 1866

Georgia Declined to Ratify 14th Amendment

At the state capitol in Milledgeville, the Georgia General Assembly adopted a resolution declining to ratify the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The action followed the recommendation of President Andrew Johnson, whose theory of reconstruction was based on the premise that the southern states had never been out of the Union - which would mean that they could not be forced to ratify a constitutional amendment. In deciding not to ratify the 14th Amendment, the General Assembly adopted a committee report explaining that: “1. If Georgia is not a State composing part of the Federal Government known as the Government of the United States, amendments to the Constitution of the United States are not properly before this body. 2. If Georgia is a State composing part of the Federal Government … , these these amendments are not proposed according to the requirements of the Federal Constitution, and are proposed in such a manner as to forbid the legislature from discussing the merits of the amendments without an implied surrender of the rights of the State.”