Jared Irwin

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For the U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania, see Jared Irwin (Pennsylvania).
Jared Irwin.jpg

Jared Irwin (1750 – March 1, 1818) served twice as elected Governor of Georgia (1796–1798) and (1806–1809). He first was elected to office as a reformer based on public outrage about the Yazoo land scandal. He signed a bill that nullified the Yazoo Act, which had authorized the land sales. Challenges to land claims purchased under the former act led to the United States Supreme Court's hearing the case Fletcher v. Peck (1810). In a landmark decision, the Court upheld the land contracts, and ruled that the state law was unconstitutional in trying to nullify valid contracts.

Early life and education[edit]

Jared Irwin was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina in the Piedmont region. His family moved to Burke County, Georgia when he was young.


Irwin fought in the American Revolution, in which he entered the army as a private. During the war, he demonstrated leadership and was promoted to the rank of colonel.

He was a member of the state convention that adopted the Constitution of 1789.

Soon after the end of the war, Georgia and other states rapidly tried to develop their frontier lands. It was an environment ripe for scandal and speculation, which took place in Georgia and other states. Because of public outrage about millions of acres of state lands' being sold for low prices to insider speculators, Irwin was elected Governor in 1795 to clean up the Yazoo land scandal. On February 13, 1796, less than two months after taking office, Irwin signed the bill nullifying the Yazoo Act. To make a public statement, he burned a copy of the Yazoo Act on the grounds of the capital. The legislature had just moved the capital to Louisville in response to the scandal.

During his second term, Irwin administered the state's second land lottery, as land sales and development were still a priority for the state.

He died at the age of 68. A resident of Washington County, Irwin was buried near Ohoopee Baptist Church.



  1. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 166. 
Political offices
Preceded by
George Mathews
Governor of Georgia
Succeeded by
James Jackson
Preceded by
John Milledge
Governor of Georgia
Succeeded by
David B. Mitchell

External links[edit]