Rufus Bullock

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Rufus Bullock
Rufus Bullock - Brady-Handy.jpg
46th Governor of Georgia
In office
July 4, 1868 – October 30, 1871
Preceded byThomas H. Ruger
Succeeded byBenjamin F. Conley
Personal details
Born(1834-03-28)March 28, 1834
Bethlehem, New York, U.S.
DiedApril 27, 1907(1907-04-27) (aged 73)
Albion, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Military service
Allegiance Confederate States of America
Branch/service Confederate States Army
RankConfederate States of America Lieutenant Colonel.png Lieutenant colonel[1]
UnitQuartermaster's Office
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

Rufus Brown Bullock (March 28, 1834 – April 27, 1907) was a Republican Party politician and businessman in Georgia. During the Reconstruction Era he served as the state's governor and called for equal economic opportunity[2] and political rights for blacks and whites in Georgia. He also promoted public education for both, and encouraged railroads, banks, and industrial development. During his governorship he requested federal military help to ensure the rights of freedmen; this made him "the most hated man in the state", and he had to flee the state without completing his term.[1] After returning to Georgia and being found "not guilty" of corruption charges, for three decades afterwards he was an esteemed private citizen.

Early life[edit]

Bullock was born in Bethlehem, New York and moved to Augusta, Georgia, in 1857 for his job with the telegraph company Adams Express.[3]

Political life[edit]

Bullock served as the 46th Governor of Georgia from 1868 to 1871 during Reconstruction and was the first Republican governor of Georgia. After Georgia ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, the Omnibus Act declared that states were entitled to representation in Congress as one of the states of the Union. Georgia again lost the right to representation in Congress because the General Assembly expelled twenty-eight black members and prevented blacks from voting in the 1868 presidential election (see Original 33).[4] In response to an appeal from Bullock, Georgia was again placed under military rule as part of the Georgia Act of December 22, 1869.[5] This made Bullock a hated political figure. After various allegations of scandal and ridicule,[6] in 1871 he was obliged by the Ku Klux Klan to resign the governorship, and felt it prudent to leave the state.[1] He was succeeded by Republican State Senate president Benjamin Conley, who served as Governor for the two remaining months of the term to which Bullock had been elected. Conley was succeeded by James M. Smith, a Democrat, and no Republican would serve as governor of Georgia again until Sonny Perdue in 2003.

Postbellum life[edit]

Bullock served as president of the Macon and Augusta Railroad in 1867,[citation needed][dubious ] and established the Augusta First National Bank. He later became president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and in 1895 served as master of ceremonies for the Cotton States and International Exposition.[7] Bullock introduced the speaker, Booker T. Washington,[8] who gave his famous "Atlanta Compromise" speech.

Death and legacy[edit]

Bullock died in Albion, New York, in 1907 and was buried in Mt. Albion Cemetery nearby.

Bullock has had both detractors and admirers. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, he was the last progressive governor of Georgia until Jimmy Carter.[1]

He is the only governor of Georgia since 1850 of whom there is no portrait in the Georgia State Capitol.


  1. ^ a b c d Duncan, Russell. "Rufus Bullock (1834-1907)". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  2. ^ Hume, Richard L. (2008). Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags : The Constitutional Conventions of Radical Reconstruction. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. p. 122. ISBN 9780807148341.
  3. ^ Usselman, Steven W. (2002). Regulating Railroad Innovation : Business, Technology, and Politics in America, 1840-1920. London: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521806367.
  4. ^ Smith, W. Calvin (1968). "The Reconstruction 'Triumph' of Rufus B. Bullock". The Georgia Historical Quarterly. 52 (4): 414–425. JSTOR 40578901.
  5. ^ Stathis, Stephen W. (2014). Landmark Legislation, 1774-2012 : major U.S. acts and treaties (2nd ed.). Washington: CQ Press. p. 119. ISBN 9781452292304.
  6. ^ Baker, Bruce E.; Kelly, Brian (2013). After slavery : race, labor, and citizenship in the reconstruction South. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. p. 60. ISBN 9780813044774.
  7. ^ Harvey, Bruce G. (2014). World's Fairs in a Southern Accent : Atlanta, Nashville, and Charleston, 1895–1902. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. p. 134. ISBN 9781572338654.
  8. ^ Perdue, Theda (2010). Race and the Atlanta Cotton States Exposition of 1895. Athens: University of Georgia Press. p. 7. ISBN 9780820342016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Party political offices
First Republican nominee for Governor of Georgia
Title next held by
D. Walker
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Georgia
Succeeded by