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James Gunn is Born

Today in Masonic History James Gunn is born in 1753.

James Gunn was an American politician.

Gunn was born on March 13th, 1753 in Virginia. Prior to the American Revolution he became a lawyer in Virgina. After the start of the war, Gunn served in the 1st Continental Dragoons during the American Revolution.

After the war, Gunn moved to Georgia where he quickly established himself as a political figure. He established himself in the community as a planter, magistrate, state legislator, and militia officer. He joined the 1st Brigade of the Georgia Militia where he rose to brigadier general in 1792.

Starting in 1782 Gunn challenged Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene twice to a duel, the duels were prevented by George Washington. He also attacked Revolutionary War hero James Jackson in the press. In 1787 he was selected as a delegate to the Continental Congress, although never attended a session. By 1789 Gunn was elected to the first session of the United States Senate.

During his time in the Senate, Gunn opposed giving the power to the President to remove heads of cabinet departments without advice and consent of the United States Senate. He also opposed the Treaty of New York, between the United States and the Creek Indians, this was due to out rage in Georgia over the treaty. Arguably there was no other Senator who had more influence on the processes of the Senate and it's relationship with the Executive Branch. He also voted to move the seat of power in the United States from New York City to Washington.

In the 1790's Gunn's rivalry with James Jackson heated up in Georgia. Gunn was a Federalist and Jackson was a Jeffersonian. It largely had to do with the sale of the Yahzoo lands, an area of land between Georgia and the Mississippi. The lands were sold by the Governor and Legislature of Georgia to political allies at a low cost and became known as the Yahzoo Land Fraud. Gunn used his position in the Senate to protect the land deals in Congress. Jackson pounced on this and Gunn's popularity in Georgia hit a low.

In 1795, Gunn voted for the Jay Treaty, a treaty between the United States and Britain which fixed outstanding issues from the Treaty of Paris and averted a new war between the United States and Britain.

Gunn passed away on July 30th, 1801 in Georgia after completing his term in the Senate.

Gunn was a member of Solomon Lodge No. 1 of Savannah, Georgia. He also had a duel with James Jackson, who was a member of Solomon Lodge No. 1 as well.