On this date in 1795 the Yazoo Act was signed into law by Governor George Matthews. However, the new law set off a political firestorm known as the “Yazoo Land Fraud.” The act sold land in the western portion of the territory in parts of what is now Alabama and Mississippi. The only problem is that four of the people purchasing the land bribed Legislators to sell the land for $.02 per acre.
Once the people of Georgia learned what had been done, there was immediate reaction, resulting in election of a new legislature which not only repealed the Yazoo Act but demanded that every copy of the legislation be destroyed. Members of the legislature met on the statehouse grounds to publicly burn the act. Rather than use ordinary fire, legislators used a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays to start the fire, thus symbolizing calling on “fire from heaven” to destroy the despicable act.
However, attempts to reclaim lands sold by the companies by refunding the purchase price were less successful, with some purchasers refusing to sell the land back. Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court would rule against Georgia’s attempts to reclaim land sold as a result of the Yazoo Act.
I think we should use more “fire from heaven” to destroy despicable acts. How about you? Discuss.