Joseph Henry Lumpkin

Georgia's First Chief Justice

Title Details

Pages: 200

Illustrations: 5 b&w photos

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 02/28/2012

ISBN: 9-780-8203-4099-9

List Price: $24.95

Joseph Henry Lumpkin

Georgia's First Chief Justice

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  • Description
  • Reviews

This biography of Joseph Henry Lumpkin (1799-1867) details the life and work of the man whose senior judgeship on Georgia's Supreme Court spanned more than twenty years and included service as its first Chief Justice. Paul Hicks portrays Lumpkin as both a civic-minded professional and an evangelical Presbyterian reformer. Exploring Lumpkin's important contributions to the institutional development of the Georgia Supreme Court, Hicks discusses Lumpkin's opinions in cases ranging in concern from family conflicts to slavery. He also shows how Lumpkin cleared a way through the thicket of antiquated laws that threatened to strangle the growth of corporate banking and business in Georgia. Treated in depth as well are the evolution of his views on slavery and secession and his involvement in social and economic reform, including temperance, education, African American colonization, and industrialization.

Hicks also covers Lumpkin's undergraduate days at the University of Georgia and Princeton, his experiences as a state legislator and successful lawyer, and his family life. Among the family members portrayed are Lumpkin's older brother, Wilson, a two-term governor of Georgia; and Lumpkin's son-in-law, Thomas R. R. Cobb, cofounder with Lumpkin of the University of Georgia Law School.

Joseph Henry Lumpkin played an important role in the public life of Georgia during the formative era of American law and the age of sectionalism. Here is a full and compelling portrait of Lumpkin as an individual of both intellect and passion, on and off the bench.

Clearly written, directly argued, and gifted with a simplicity of presentation that does justice to Lumpkin and to the development of the law in Georgia.

—Kermit Hall

Joseph Henry Lumpkin sheds valuable light on southern judicial circles and elite society in the years leading up to the Civil War.

Journal of Southern History

A concise, direct, and imminently readable volume that will carry the students of Lumpkin well beyond a simple introduction to this influential Georgian. The rich tapestry of detail and the author’s unmistakable affection and admiration for his subject breathe life into a story with which every Georgian should be familiar. This is a work that rightfully belongs on the shelf of anyone with more than a passing interest in Georgia’s past.

—E. R. Lanier, Atlanta History

A very interesting journey through this fascinating Georgian's life. [This] biography provides a wonderful look into the life of an influential Georgian who lived during an important period. It also provides a very solid base from which legal scholars can gain a deeper understanding into Lumpkin's legal decisions and writings.

Georgia Historical Quarterly

The strength of the book is its legal history. . . . The book is interesting and useful for historians interested in the formation of the Georgia Supreme Court and how southern courts decided cases involving slavery before the civil war.

Southern Historian

Hicks shows that good biography can expose the deeper motivations that are often hidden in judicial opinions.

Law and History Review

About the Author/Editor

PAUL DEFOREST HICKS, a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, is a former managing director of J. P. Morgan. He lives in Rye, New York.