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This Day in Georgia History

January 18, 1861

Secession Resolution Adopted

At Georgia’s secession convention at the state capitol in Milledgeville, former state supreme court justice Eugenius Nisbet introduced a resolution calling for Georgia’s secession from the Union and cooperating with the other seceded states to form a “Southern Confederacy.” Nisbet also moved that a committee be appointed to draft articles of secession.Former governor Herschel Johnson offered a substitution resolution calling on southern states to send delegates to a congress to be held Feb. 16, 1861 in Atlanta to decide on a joint course of action. According to the substitute resolution, essential elements for Georgia remaining in the Union included: Congress taking no action to abolish or prohibit slavery in the territories, return of fugitive slaves, prosecution of anyone rescuing slaves, protection of slave property in the territories, admission of states as free or slave as determined by the residents of the state, and no blacks being allowed to hold federal office. Johnson’s resolution failed, and that of Nisbet adopted. Following the vote, Nisbet was named to chair the committee to draft a secession ordinance for Georgia.