George, James Zachariah

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

George, James Zachariah

James Zachariah George, 1826–97, American jurist and legislator, b. Monroe co., Ga. He moved to Mississippi in 1834 and, after serving in the Mexican War, became a prominent lawyer. He was long a reporter and later (1879–81) chief justice of the state supreme court. A signer of Mississippi's secession ordinance and a Confederate brigadier general in the Civil War, he was a leader in the struggle for white supremacy in Mississippi during the Reconstruction period. George wrote the "grandfather clause," which effectively ended black suffrage, in the Mississippi constitution of 1890. He later defended his views on the floor of the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1881 until his death. Known in Mississippi as the Great Commoner, he played an important role in drafting the Sherman Antitrust Act (1890). His unfinished Political History of Slavery in the United States (1915) contains a biographical sketch by W. H. Leavell.

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