George Mcduffie, an American statesman, born in Columbia co., Ga., about 1788, died in Sumter district, S. C, March 11, 1851. He began life as clerk in a mercantile establish-ment in Augusta, Ga., graduated at the South Carolina college in 1813, was admitted to the bar in 1814, and soon established himself in practice in Edgefield, S. C. In 1818 he was elected to the South Carolina legislature. A political controversy in which he was involved with Col. William Cummings of Georgia led to several duels, in one of which he was wounded with a ball, which, being never extracted, affected his health through life. His writings at this time were diametrically opposed to the views which he subsequently espoused, as he then maintained the principle of consolidation against that of state rights. His various papers on this subject were collected in a series of pamphlets, entitled "The Crisis." In 1821 he became a member of congress. In December, 1823, he introduced a motion for a select committee to inquire into the expediency of recommending to the states a change in the constitution, so as to establish uniformity in the mode of electing the members of the house of representatives, and also a change in respect to the mode of choosing electors for president and vice president.
As chairman of this committee, he made an elaborate report. In January, 1825, he opposed internal improvements in the states by congress. In the 19th congress he argued against the proposed congress of Panama, a favorite measure of President Adams. He also brought up again the subject of amendments to the constitution as to the election of president and vice president, his main object being to prevent the choice from ever falling into the house of representatives. As chairman of the committee of ways and means, he endeavored to maintain the bank of the United States. He was a frequent assailant of the protective tariff, and was engaged in the debates on most of the important questions before the house. In December, 1830, he opened the case, in a speech of great power, for the prosecution in the trial of Judge Peck, on an impeachment for which the senate had been resolved into a court. Though he had been originally a supporter of President Jackson, yet as his administration had not satisfied the state rights men of the south, he became his adversary.
In South Carolina the hostility to the protective tariff policy had reached its climax, and Mr. McDuffie was one of the most ardent and eloquent champions of the doctrine of nullification, which he regarded not as a constitutional, but as a justifiable revolutionary measure. From 1820 to 1831 the legislature of South Carolina repeatedly protested against a protective tariff, and in 1832 a convention of the people of that state declared such acts to be null and void, and forbade that they should be enforced within the limits of the state. The convention also published two addresses, one to the people of South Carolina and the other to the people of the United States, the latter of which was written by Mr. McDuffie. In 1834 he left congress, after making a vehement speech against the administration, and in the same year was elected governor of South Carolina. The college of the state was reorganized by his efforts. At the expiration of his term of office he retired to private life, but in 1842 was elected to the United States senate. The failure of his strength obliged him to resign this office and to terminate his public career in 1846. He was one of the most successful planters in the state, and left an admirable oration delivered before the state agricultural society.