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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

November 21, 1860

Georgia General Assembly Called for Secession Convention

The Daily Federal Union - a Milledgeville newspaper - published a list of the standing committees of the House of Representatives on its front page on this day; first to be listed was the committee “On the state of the Republic.” On page two were published accounts of earlier citizens meetings in both Clay and Troup counties - condemning the election of Lincoln and the Northern states which had nullified the Fugitive Slave Law, and encouraging the General Assembly to prepare for the defense of Georgia:

…we respectfully recommend to the Legislature to take into immediate consideration the passage of such laws as will be likely to alleviate any unusual embarrassment of the commercial interest of the State, consequent upon the present political emergency. …

The Georgia General Assembly was listening; they voted to approve a secession convention on November 21. Delegates to the convention would be chosen in an election to be held on January 2, 1861, and the convention itself would convene in Milledgeville on January 16, 1861. Governor Joseph E. Brown immediately signed the act into law. The first three sections detailed how the convention was to be called and established, then added in the fourth section:

4. SEC. IV. That said Convention, when assembled, may consider all grievances impairing or affecting the equality and rights of the State of Georgia as a member of the United States, and determines the mode, measure, and time of redress.

Full text of the Act:

Act of the Georgia General Assembly Nov. 21, 1860 GEORGIA SECESSION CONVENTION AUTHORIZED. Act No. 14 An Act to authorize and require the Governor of the State of Georgia, to call a Convention of the people of this State; and for other purposes therein mentioned. WHEREAS, The present crisis in our national affairs, in the judgment of this General Assembly, demands resistance; and whereas, it is the privilege and right of the sovereign people to determine upon the mode, measure, and time, of such resistance. 1. SECTION I. Therefore, the General Assembly do enact, That upon the passage of this act, his Excellency, the Governor, be, and he is hereby required to issue his Proclamation, ordering an election to be held in each and every county in this State, to convene at the seat of Government, on the sixteenth day of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-one. 2. SEC. II. That said election for delegates, shall be held and conducted in the same manner, and at the same places, as elections for members of the General Assembly, are now held in this State; and all returns of such elections shall be in the same manner forwarded to the Governor of this State, who shall furnish each delegate chosen, with a certificate of his election. 3. SEC. III. That the counties entitled under the last act of apportionment, to two members in the House of Representatives, shall be entitled each to three delegates to said Convention; and the counties entitled, such said apportionment, to one Representative, shall elect each two delegates to said Convention. 4. SEC. IV. That said Convention, when assembled, may consider all grievances impairing or affecting the equality and rights of the State of Georgia as a member of the United States, and determines the mode, measure, and time of redress. 5. SEC. V. That the members of said Convention of the people of Georgia, shall be entitled to the same mileage and per diem pay received by the members of the present General Assembly; and said Convention shall, by vote, fix the pay of all their officers, and of any delegate or delegates they may appoint to any other Convention, Congress, or Embassy; and shall provide for all other expenses incurred by said Convention. 6. SEC. VI. That said Convention shall have power to elect all officers necessary to their organization; and to do all things needful to carry out the true intent and meaning of this act, and the acts and purposes of said Convention. Approved 21st Nov. 1860.