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The town of Atlanta had designated its first commissioners in 1845. The 5-man governing body was comprised of stalwart citizens, none of whom had any previous experience in government affairs. They did their best to bring order to the young railroad town but, by all accounts, their efforts fell on deaf ears. There was little interest on the part of the community for paying taxes, or for that matter, following the rule of law.

In 1846, a group of Atlanta citizens petitioned the Stale legislature to grant an official city charter that would incorporate the City and define the functions of its government. The measure was not acted upon due, in large part, to the arguments of a lawyer representing a group of Atlantans who opposed the establishment of a city charter. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The following year, those who favored a free and rowdy Atlanta would be disappointed, as we’ll see in this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Lance Russell is an Atlanta-based filmmaker and media communicator who, for over three decades, has been entrusted by clients to tell their stories. A seasoned producer with an innate ability to cut to...

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