Archibald Atkinson

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Archibald Atkinson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1849
Preceded byFrancis Mallory
Succeeded byJohn Millson
Member of the Virginia Senate from Isle of Wight, Prince George, Southampton, Surry and Sussex Counties
In office
Preceded byJoel Holleman
Succeeded byWilliam Spark
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Isle of Wight County
In office
Preceded byJohn Chapman
Succeeded byJames Jordon
In office
Alongside John Lawrence
Personal details
Born(1792-09-15)September 15, 1792
Isle of Wight County, Virginia
DiedJanuary 7, 1872(1872-01-07) (aged 79)
Smithfield, Virginia
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materCollege of William and Mary
Professionlawyer, legislator
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Battles/warsWar of 1812

Archibald Atkinson (September 15, 1792 – January 7, 1872) was a slave owner[1] and U.S. Representative from Virginia.


Born in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Atkinson received a liberal education. He attended the law department of the College of William & Mary (now the Marshall-Wythe School of Law), Williamsburg, Virginia. He served during the War of 1812. He was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Smithfield, Virginia. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates 1815–1817 and 1828–1831, and served in the Virginia Senate 1839–1843.

Atkinson was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-eighth, Twenty-ninth, and Thirtieth Congresses (March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1849). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1848 to the Thirty-first Congress. In a valedictory speech to Congress in 1849, he described slavery as a "positive moral good" for those enslaved, claimed that the "well-fed, well-clad, contented negro of Virginia asks not your sympathy for him," and falsely claimed that slaves would rise up against abolitionists.[2]

He served as prosecuting attorney for Isle of Wight County. He died in Smithfield, Virginia, on January 7, 1872. He was interred in the graveyard of Old St. Luke's Church, four miles southeast of Smithfield.


  • 1841; Atkinson lost his first election for the U.S. House of Representatives; he was defeated by Whig Francis Mallory, winning only 11.26% of the vote.
  • 1843; Atkinson was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with 50.07% of the vote, defeating Whig James E. Langhorne.
  • 1845; Atkinson was re-elected with 55.9% of the vote, defeating Whig R.H. Whitfield.
  • 1847; Atkinson was re-elected with 50.82% of the vote, defeating Whig Samuel Watts.


  1. ^ "Congress slaveowners", The Washington Post, 2022-01-19, retrieved 2022-01-23
  2. ^ "Rep. Archibald Atkinson (D-VA)". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 2022-01-23.


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by