Robert Toombs

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Robert Augustus Toombs (July 2, 1810 – December 15, 1885) was an American political leader, United States Senator from Georgia, 1st Secretary of State of the Confederacy, and a Confederate general in the Civil War.


Early life

Born near Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia, Robert Augustus Toombs was the fifth child of Catherine Huling and Robert Toombs. His father died when he was five, and he entered Franklin College at the University of Georgia in Athens when he was just fourteen. During his time at Franklin College he was a member of the Demosthenian Literary Society, which honors him as one of its most legendary alumni to this day. After the university chastised him for unbecoming conduct in a card-playing incident, Toombs continued his education at Union College, in Schenectady, New York, from which he graduated in 1828. Toombs went on to study law at the University of Virginia Law School in Charlottesville. Shortly after his admission to the Georgia bar, he married his childhood sweetheart, Julia A. Dubose, with whom he had three children.

Public service

Toombs was admitted to the bar in 1830, and served in the Georgia House of Representatives (1838, 1840–1841, and 1843–1844). His genial character, proclivity for entertainment, and unqualified success on the legal circuit earned Toombs the growing attention and admiration of his fellow Georgians. On the wave of his growing popularity, Toombs won a seat to the United States House of Representatives (1844–1853), and joined his close friend and fellow representative Alexander H. Stephens from Crawfordville, Georgia. Their friendship forged a powerful personal and political bond that effectively defined and articulated Georgia's position on national issues in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Toombs, like Stephens, emerged as a states' rights partisan, became a national Whig, and once the Whig Party dissolved, aided in the creation of the short-lived Constitutional Union Party in the early 1850s.

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