Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




It often happens that the names of some men, who had a large part in shaping the past policies of our country, are not now current in the thoughts of the average student of history. It is left to biographical monographs of this nature to review the lives of these men. With this ever increasing group of names may be placed that of Thomas Walker Gilmer. He was influential in the affairs of his native state, Virginia, during the decade from 1830 to 1840. This was the period when Southern leaders really dominated national affairs and Virginia was not racking represent her, though they did not attain the dominating position of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe - the old Virginia Dynasty. Thomas Walker Gilmer was an ardent State-rights man and a believer in the compact theory of government which was put forward in this decade by one of the South's greatest leaders. He took decided stand on all the important questions of the day. Then the questions of the annexation of Texas came up he stood out boldly as a champion of annexation. In fact a letter written by Gilmer caused considerable agitation of the question and doubtless sided in the success of the issue. This will be treated in greater detail later after a brief sketch of his early life has been given.

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