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This Day in Georgia History

December 22, 1798

George Crawford Born

Politician George Crawford was born in Columbia County, Georgia. He graduated from Princeton University in 1820, subsequently reading law in Georgia. After being admitted to the bar in 1822, Crawford practiced law in Augusta. In 1827, he began a career of public service with his appointment as solicitor-general for one of the state’s judicial circuits. From 1837 to 1842, Crawford served in the Georgia House of Representatives, where he became a leader of Whig lawmakers. He served two months in Congress filling a vacancy, and then was elected governor of Georgia in 1843, serving until 1847. As governor, Crawford pushed for reducing state expenditures and debt, eliminating the state-run Central Bank of Georgia, and supporting construction of the state-owned Western and Atlantic Railroad. Crawford subsequently served as U.S. Secretary of War under Pres. Zachary Taylor (1849-50), though he resigned on Taylor’s death and returned to his Georgia plantation near Augusta. After the election of Lincoln, Crawford supported secession and presided over Georgia’s secession convention in January 1861 (though he does not appear to have played a major role in the proceedings). At age 74, he died in Richmond County on July 22, 1872.