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John Forsyth

Gov. John Forsyth

  • November 7, 1827 - November 4, 1829
  • Democratic-Republican
  • October 22, 1780
  • November 4, 1829
  • Virginia
  • Princeton University
  • Married Clara Meigs; eight children
  • Representative, Senator, Ambassador


JOHN FORSYTH was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on October 22, 1780. He attended Springer Academy in Wilkes County, Georgia, and graduated from Princeton University in 1799. After moving to Augusta, Georgia, he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1802, and started his legal career. Forsyth entered politics in 1808 as an attorney general of Georgia. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from March 4, 1813, until his resignation on November 23, 1818, and then served in the U.S. Senate from November 23, 1818, until February 17, 1819. He was appointed minister of Spain, serving from 1819 to 1823, and served again in the U.S. House of Representatives from March 4, 1823, until his resignation on November 7, 1827. On October 1, 1827, Forsyth won election to Georgia’s governorship, and on November 7, 1827, he was sworn into office. During his tenure, he criticized the 1828 “Tariff of Abominations,” and endorsed the option of counteracting it with state action. Forsyth finished his term on November 4, 1829, and continued to stay active in public service. He served again in the U.S. Senate from November 9, 1829, until June 27, 1834, when he resigned to take an appointment as U.S. Secretary of State. President Martin VanBuren reappointed him to the cabinet post, where he served until March 4, 1841. Governor John Forsyth died in Washington, D.C., on October 21, 1841, and he is buried in the Congressional Cemetery. Forsyth County in north Georgia was named for him in 1832.


Cook, James F. Governors of Georgia, 1754-2004. 3d ed. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2005.

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Recent Georgia Governors