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Who is Howell Cobb?- Howell Cobb Biography and Life Story

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Who is Howell Cobb? Information on Howell Cobb biography, life story, works and political career.

Howell CobbHowell Cobb; (1815-1868), American politician, who shifted from strong support for the Union to secessionism in the critical pre-Civil War period. He was born in Jefferson county, Ga., on Sept. 7, 1815, into a wealthy family with a tradition of public service. After graduating from the University of Georgia (1834), he was admitted to the state bar (1836) and was elected to Congress (1842) at the age of 27.


In Congress, Cobb exhibited a broad national spirit, supporting the annexation of Texas and the Mexican War and opposing efforts to form a Southern party. He was elected speaker of the House in 1849. In Georgia, Cobb’s Union Democrats split with the Southern-rights wing of the Democratic party and joined the Whigs to win the state convention’s approval of the Compromise of 1850. The next year the Unionists and Whigs merged forces as the Constitutional Unicp party and elected Cobb governor. Later he sought unsuccessfully to reunite the state’s Democratic party. He was reelected to Congress in 1855, and in 1857 he became secretary of the treasury under President Buchanan.


Surprisingly, in view of his former Unionism, he advocated immediate secession after Lincoln’s election in 1860. Cobb was chairman of the convention that organized the Confederacy in 1861 and was a contender for its presidency. In the Civil War he became a major general. He died in New York City on Oct. 9, 1868.

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