Georgia readmitted to Union, July 15, 1870
On this day in 1870, Georgia became the last former Confederate state to be readmitted into the Union after agreeing to seat some black members in the state Legislature. Subsequently, Democrats won commanding majorities in both houses of the General Assembly.
Civil War and Reconstruction
The election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency in 1860 renewed hostility between northern free states and southern slave states. When South Carolina seceded from the United States in late 1860, Georgia soon followed and joined the Confederate States of America.
On the morning of April 12, 1861, the first shot was fired from a Confederate battery and the Civil War began. The war lasted four bloody and devastating years before General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate army surrendered in 1865. The period of rebuilding as a nation after, known as Reconstruction, lasted for several more years. Browse the page below to read about Georgia’s role before, during, and after the Civil War.
The presidential election of 1860 renewed hostilities between northern free states and southern slave states when Abraham Lincoln won the election without carrying any southern states. On December 20, 1860, a convention of South Carolina delegates met in Charleston and passed an “Ordinance of Secession.”
Within six weeks, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas followed. On February 4, 1861, these seven states held a convention in Montgomery, Alabama, to organize a new government for the Confederate States of America. At the convention, the delegates adopted a constitution and elected Jefferson Davis president.
Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee also withdrew from the United State, and the Confederate capital was moved to Richmond, Virginia
The seceded states argued that all states had entered the Union of their own free will and could secede if they felt the Constitution, as an agreement between the states, was not being respected.
Leaders in the Confederate States of America
Leaders in the Confederate States of America maintained that the federal government was distinctly hostile to slavery and the election of Lincoln reinforced that anti-slavery feeling. The Confederate States wanted a peaceable separation, but the United States government saw secession as an illegal act of rebellion and wanted a peaceable preservation the Union.
Reconstruction in Georgia
As a defeated Confederate state, Georgia underwent Reconstruction from 1865, when the Civil War
(1861-65) ended, until 1871, when Republican government and military occupation in the state ended. Though relatively brief, Reconstruction transformed the state politically, socially, and economically.
Aftermath of the Civil War
As the Civil War ended
in early May 1865, Georgia’s Confederate governor, Joseph E. Brown, surrendered to Union authorities and was paroled. After attempting to convene the Georgia General Assembly, however, he was arrested and briefly imprisoned in the District of Columbia.
Brown left behind a war-ravaged state, devoid of civil order and fast approaching chaos. Politically rudderless and economically destitute, Georgia faced the future with a white population, which had
numbered more than 590,000 in 1860, depleted by some 40,000 Georgians who had been killed or permanently dispersed by the conflict. The state’s Black population, principally more than 460,000 newly freedpeople, confronted a new world with hope and uncertainty.