1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cobb, Howell

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COBB, HOWELL (1815–1868), American political leader, was born at Cherry Hill, Jefferson county, Georgia, on the 7th of September 1815. He graduated from Franklin College (University of Georgia) in 1834, and two years later was admitted to the bar. From 1837 to 1840 he was solicitor-general for the western circuit of his state; from 1843 to 1851 and from 1855 to 1857 he was a member of the National House of Representatives, becoming Democratic leader in that body in 1847, and serving as speaker in 1849–1851; from 1851 to 1853 he was governor of his state; and from March 1857 to December 1860 he was secretary of the treasury in President Buchanan’s cabinet. He was president of the convention of the seceded states which drafted a constitution for the Confederacy. In 1861 he was appointed colonel of a regiment and two years later was made a major-general. He died in New York on the 9th of October 1868. He sided with President Jackson on the question of nullification; was an efficient supporter of President Polk’s administration during the Mexican War; and was an ardent advocate of slavery extension into the Territories, but when the Compromise of 1850 had been agreed upon he became its staunch supporter as a Union Democrat, and on that issue was elected governor of Georgia by a large majority. In 1860, however, he ceased to be a Unionist, and became a leader of the secession movement. From the close of the war until his death he vigorously opposed the Reconstruction Acts.