Charles Jones Jenkins was born on Jan. 6, 1805 in Beaufort, S.C. At the age of 11, Jenkins and his family moved to Georgia.
A few years later, the young Jenkins enrolled in Franklin College, which today is University of Georgia.
After two years at Franklin, Jenkins went north for his education. He ended up here at Union College where he would eventually graduate from in 1824.
After graduation, Jenkins returned south and practiced law in Georgia. By 1829, Jenkins had two offices, one in Sandersville and another in Augusta.
Jenkins, who would become known as a politician, entered the political arena for the first time in 1830 as a state legislature for the States’ Rights Democrats.
During this time, he held other positions, including state attorney general. During these years, Jenkins left the States’ Rights Democrats to join the more dominate Whig Party.
On Jan. 29, 1850, Senator Henry Clay presented several compromises in an attempt to ease tensions between the North and South.
With the Compromise of 1850, as it was known, moderates from Georgia formed the Constitutional Union Party and Jenkins aligned himself with the new party.
While in the party, Jenkins drafted the Georgia Platform, which announced full cooperation to the handling of the extension of slavery as long as the North did not break any of the compromises.
Two years later in 1852, Jenkins ran as vice-presidential candidate for presidential candidate Daniel Webster. The two came nowhere close to winning.
From then to 1860, Jenkins did very little in politics. Ten years after the Georgia Platform, Jenkins was appointed the judge of the state supreme court by Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown.
In December of that year, Jenkins ran as a “cooperationist” to Georgia’s secession convention.
Jenkins did not want Georgia to secede without joining other states and he believed section should only be used if the North aggressively attacked the South. Jenkins and his moderate colleagues lose to radical factions, but when the ordinance of secession was passed in January 1861, Jenkins supported his state of Georgia.
Jenkins held his appointed position by Governor Brown throughout the Civil War. At the end of the war, Jenkins was a leader as the new constitutional convention.
His efforts helped him secure the gubernatorial race and became governor in November of 1865.
By having met all of President Andrew Johnson’s requirements, Georgia was considered reconstructed and allowed to return to the Union.
Jenkins quickly worked to save Georgia from debt and to keep newly freed slaves in their antebellum status.
This action of not recognizing the 14th Amendment, which granted citizenship to former slaves, forced Union General George Meade to demand Georgia to have a second constitutional convention.
When Jenkins refused, Meade had the Union grad replaced for General Thomas Ruger. Jenkins appealed to the Supreme Court but his recognition was denied.
From 1868, a year after being replaced, left the United States altogether. He returned in 1870 and two years later, Democrats once again had control of Georgia.
When he was forced to leave his office, Jenkins took all official documents and seals, believing they did not truly belong to the military governor. In 1872, he gladly returned them to the Democrats.
After 1872, Jenkins retired from public life and passed away on June 14, 1883 in Augusta, Georgia.