Herschel Vespasian Johnson

Herschel Vespasian Johnson

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Herschel Vespasian Johnson'
Start a new discussion about 'Herschel Vespasian Johnson'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Herschel Vespasian Johnson (September 18, 1812 August 16, 1880) was an American politician. He was the 41st Governor of Georgia from 1853 to 1857 and the vice-presidential nominee of the Douglas
Stephen A. Douglas
Stephen Arnold Douglas was an American politician from the western state of Illinois, and was the Northern Democratic Party nominee for President in 1860. He lost to the Republican Party's candidate, Abraham Lincoln, whom he had defeated two years earlier in a Senate contest following a famed...

 wing of the Democratic Party in the 1860 US presidential election.

Biography


Johnson was born near Farmer's Bridge in Burke County, Georgia
Burke County, Georgia
Burke County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2000, the population was 22,243. The 2007 Census Estimate showed a population of 22,754...

. In 1834, he graduated from the University of Georgia
University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is a public research university located in Athens, Georgia, United States. Founded in 1785, it is the oldest and largest of the state's institutions of higher learning and is one of multiple schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States...

 and passed his bar examination
Bar examination
A bar examination is an examination conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction.-Brazil:...

. He moved to Jefferson County
Jefferson County, Georgia
Jefferson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. It was created on February 20, 1796. As of 2000, the population was 17,266. The 2007 Census Estimate shows a population of 16,454...

 in 1839 and began to practice law in Louisville, Georgia
Louisville, Georgia
Louisville is a city in Jefferson County, Georgia, United States. It is the former capital of Georgia and is the county seat of Jefferson County. It is located southwest of Augusta on the Ogeechee River, and its population was 2,712 at the 2000 census. The local pronunciation is the Americanized...

. In 1844, he moved to the state capitol, Milledgville
Milledgeville, Georgia
Milledgeville is a city in and the county seat of Baldwin County in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is northeast of Macon, located just before Eatonton on the way to Athens along U.S. Highway 441, and it is located on the Oconee River. The relatively rapid current of the Oconee here made this an...

, and continued to practice law.
He unsuccessfully ran for Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 in 1843 and for Governor in 1847, and was finally appointed to fill the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 seat vacated by the resignation of Walter T. Colquitt
Walter T. Colquitt
Walter Terry Colquitt was a lawyer, circuit-riding Methodist preacher, United States Representative and Senator from Georgia.-Biography:...

. Johnson served in the Senate from February 4, 1848 to March 3, 1849, but was not a candidate for election to the seat. He returned to Georgia and served as a circuit court judge from 1849 to 1853. In 1853, he was elected Governor of Georgia, then re-elected in 1855. After he finished his term as governor in 1857, Johnson County, Georgia
Johnson County, Georgia
Johnson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2000, the population was 8,560. The 2007 Census Estimate shows a population of 9,533...

 was named in his honor. In 1860, when the Democratic Party refused to add the support of extending slavery to the western territories, the party split. To try to recapture some southern votes, Johnson was chosen as the northern Democrats' nominee as the running mate of presidential candidate Stephen A. Douglas
Stephen A. Douglas
Stephen Arnold Douglas was an American politician from the western state of Illinois, and was the Northern Democratic Party nominee for President in 1860. He lost to the Republican Party's candidate, Abraham Lincoln, whom he had defeated two years earlier in a Senate contest following a famed...

.

In 1861 he served as a delegate to the state secession
Secession
Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

 convention, and opposed secession from the Union. When it became clear that Georgia would secede, however, he acquiesced out of loyalty to his state and served as a Senator of the Second Confederate Congress
Second Confederate Congress
The Second Confederate Congress was the second and last regular term of the legislature of the Confederate States of America. Members of the Second Confederate Congress were chosen in elections held at various dates in 1863 and 1864...

 from 1862 to the end of the war in 1865. In the Confederate Senate, he opposed conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 and the suspension of habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

. After the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Johnson was a leader in the Reconstruction and was named head of the Georgia constitutional convention. Upon Georgia's readmission to the Union in 1866, he was chosen as a U.S. Senator, but was disallowed from serving due to his involvement with the rebellion. He again became a circuit court judge in 1873 and served until his death in 1880 in Louisville, Georgia
Louisville, Georgia
Louisville is a city in Jefferson County, Georgia, United States. It is the former capital of Georgia and is the county seat of Jefferson County. It is located southwest of Augusta on the Ogeechee River, and its population was 2,712 at the 2000 census. The local pronunciation is the Americanized...

.