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  • Colonel Allen D. Candler (CSA), Governor (1834 - 1910)
    Find A Grave 7960956 Allen Daniel Candler (November 4, 1834 – October 26, 1910) was a Georgia state legislator, U.S. Representative and the 56th Governor of Georgia. Biography Candler was b...
  • Joseph M. Terrell, Governor, U.S. Senator (1861 - 1912)
    Joseph Meriwether Terrell (June 6, 1861 – November 17, 1912) was a United States Senator and the 57th Governor of Georgia. Born in Greenville, he attended the common schools, studied law, and was adm...
  • M. Hoke Smith, Governor, U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Interior (1855 - 1931)
    Michael Hoke Smith (1855-1931): Smith was a lawyer and Democratic politician from Atlanta, Georgia. President Grover Cleveland appointed him secretary of the interior in 1893. Smith was elected gover...
  • John M. Slaton, Governor (1866 - 1955)
    John Marshall Slaton, or Jack Slaton, (December 25, 1866 – January 11, 1955) served two non-consecutive terms as the 60th Governor of Georgia. Biography Slaton was born in Meriwether County...
  • Nathaniel Edwin Harris, Governor (1846 - 1929)
    Nathaniel Edwin Harris (January 21, 1846 – September 21, 1929) was an American lawyer and politician, and the 61st Governor of Georgia. Early life Harris was born in Jonesboro, Tennessee, in ...

Georgia was one of the original Thirteen Colonies and ratified the Constitution of the United States on January 2, 1788. Before it declared its independence, Georgia was a colony of the Kingdom of Great Britain. Like most early states, Georgia had claims to western areas, but did not cede its claims during the formation of the country like the other states. It sold this area, the Yazoo Lands, to the federal government on April 24, 1802, when it was assigned to Mississippi Territory.

In the Rules and Regulations of 1776, considered by some to be the first constitution, the chief executive was a president chosen by the legislature every six months. This was quickly superseded by the 1777 constitution, which called for a governor to be chosen by the legislature each year, with a term limited to one year out of every three. In the event of a vacancy, the president of the executive council acted as governor. The governor's term was lengthened to two years in the 1789 constitution. The 1798 constitution modified succession so that the president of the senate would act as governor should that office become vacant. An 1818 amendment to that constitution extended the line of succession to the speaker of the house,[8] and an 1824 amendment provided for popular election of the governor.

While the 1861 secessionist constitution kept the office the same, the other constitutions surrounding the American Civil War brought lots of changes. The 1865 constitution, following Georgia's surrender, limited governors to two consecutive terms, allowing them to serve again after a gap of four years. The Reconstruction constitution of 1868 increased the governor's term to four years. The 1877 constitution, after local rule was re-established, returned the office to the provisions of the 1865 constitution. An amendment in 1941 lengthened terms to 4 years, but governors could no longer succeed themselves, having to wait four years to serve again. The constitution does not specify when terms start, only that the governor is installed at the next session of the General Assembly.

The 1945 constitution provided for a lieutenant governor, to serve the same term as governor and to act as governor if that office became vacant. Should it become vacant within 30 days of the next general election, or if the governor's term would have ended within 90 days of the next election, the lieutenant governor acts out the term; otherwise, a successor is chosen in the next general election. This was retained in the 1976 constitution. The current constitution of 1983 allows governors to succeed themselves once before having to wait four years to serve again, and lieutenant governors now become governor in the event of a vacancy. Should the office of lieutenant governor be vacant, the speaker of the house acts as governor, and a special election to fill the office must happen in 90 days.

List of Governors of Georgia

Governors of Georgia