The New International Encyclopædia/Georgia (American Union)
GEORGIA (named in honor of George II. of England). A South Atlantic State, and one of the original thirteen States of the American Union (Map: United States, J 4). It is bounded on the north along the parallel of latitude 35° N. by Tennessee and North Carolina, on the east by South Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Florida, and on the west by Alabama. Georgia is the largest State east of the Mississippi, the area being 59,475 square miles, of which 495 square miles is water. The extreme length from north to south is 320 miles, and the greatest breadth 259 miles.
Topography. The State lies in both the Appalachian and coastal plain regions, so that the surface is divided between highlands and lowlands. The eastern chain (Blue Ridge) of the Appalachians, after crossing the North Carolina boundary, terminates in the northern part of the State. It has an elevation of from 3000 to 5000 feet, the latter limit being attained by only a few peaks, of which the highest is Sitting Bull Mountain, 5046 feet above the sea. Bordering the Blue Ridge on the west is the Cohutta group, a continuation of the Unaka Mountains of Tennessee, while the northwestern corner of the State is crossed by the Lookout and Sand Mountain ranges of the Alleghanies, which terminate in Alabama. An area of about 6000 square miles in northern Georgia has an elevation of 1000 feet or more. South of the Appalachian foothills there is a broad area of uplift, the Piedmont plateau, sloping toward the Atlantic, and terminating near the middle of the State in the coastal plain. From the southern limit of the plateau region to the Florida and Atlantic borders, the surface is little diversified except where dissected by erosion into low hills and stream-valleys. The lands bordering directly on the coast are flat, and but slightly raised above sea-level. The Okefinokee Swamp, which extends across the State line into Florida, occupies an area 45 miles long by 30 miles wide. It contains several open lakes, but there are numerous islands and intersecting ridges that support heavy forests. Chickamauga National Military Park (q.v.) is situated in the northwest corner of the State.
Georgia has an extensive drainage system, including a few rivers of moderate size. The Savannah River, on the eastern boundary, drains most of the eastern section. It is navigable for ocean-going craft to Savannah, and for boats of 150 tons to Augusta. The Altamaha, with its headstreams, the Oconee and the Ocmulgee, flows through the central part, and its waters are open to navigation by light-draught boats as far as Milledgeville and Macon. Western Georgia lies largely within the basin of the Appalachicola, which is formed by the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers, both rising in the northern part of the State. Boats ascend the Flint to Albany, and the Chattahoochee to Columbus. Among the other important streams are the Ogeechee, Satilla, and the Withlacoochee. When the rivers pass from the plateau region to the coastal plain, cataracts and waterfalls are usually present; they are located approximately along a line running through Augusta, Macon, and Columbus, and are the source of the industrial activity of these cities.
|COPYRIGHT, 1891 AND 1903, BY DODD, MEAD & COMPANY.|
AREA AND POPULATION OF GEORGIA BY COUNTIES.
|County Seat.|| Area in
|Camden||E 5||Saint Marys||718||6,178||7,669|
|Charlton||D 5||Traders Hill||1,063||3,335||3,592|
|Clay||A 4||Fort Gaines||216||7,817||8,568|
|Montgomery||D 3||Mount Vernon||744||9,248||16,359|
Climate and Soil. The climate of Georgia shows a wide range between the mountains, where the average annual temperature falls below 40° F., and the extreme south, where the average reaches 70°. In southern Georgia the climate resembles that of northern Florida; the winters are mild with few frosts and rarely snow, the summers long and hot. The northern part has a salubrious climate, the winters and summers being free from extremes. The mean temperatures for the year in the leading cities are as follows: Atlanta, 61°; Augusta, 64°; Athens, 63°; Rome, 62°; Americus, 68°; and Brunswick, 69°. The rainfall is greatest in the extreme north, and smallest in the eastern part, averaging about 49 inches for the whole State.
The soils exhibit a diversity of characters, corresponding to the difference in composition of the underlying rocks from which they have been derived. In the northern part sands and clays predominate, but in the extreme northwestern section, which is underlaid largely by limestone, the soil is loamy and possesses great fertility. Within the limits of the coastal plain the surface varies from sand to loam and heavy clay. The bottom lands along the rivers contain sufficient organic matter to make them extremely productive.
For Flora and Fauna, see paragraphs under United States.
Geology. The State falls within three geological provinces or regions: the Paleozoic region in the northwest, which conforms approximately to the area occupied by the western chains of the Appalachians; the region of crystalline rocks, comprising the remainder of northern Georgia, and extending southward of a line running through Augusta, Macon, and Columbus; and the coastal plain. In the Paleozoic region the rocks are mostly sandstones, limestones, and shales. The region of crystalline rocks is underlaid by granite and gneisses of Archaean age. Within the coastal plain the formations are loosely textured sands, clays, marls, and limestones, and belong to recent geological periods, the Tertiary and Quaternary.
Mineral Resources. Gold was found in White County in 1829, and ten years later the gold-mining industry had reached such importance that a branch mint was established at Dahlonega. Both quartz and placer mines occur, but most of the output at the present time is made from the former type of deposits, which occur along the southern slopes of the Blue Ridge. Iron ore is mined at several localities in the Paleozoic region, where there are also valuable deposits of ochre, manganese, and bauxite under exploitation. Among non-metallic products, coal, clay marble, and granite are most important. The coal-fields are located in Dade and Walker counties, and are an extension of the Warrior field of Alabama. Brick-clays and fire-clays are widely distributed throughout the State, but mining is limited practically to localities near the larger towns. The marble industry for several years past has steadily grown in importance, owing to the reputation which Georgia marble has gained all over the United States as a valuable building and ornamental stone. Various qualities of granite suitable for building, street-paving, and monumental work are quarried, and the State's resources in this stone are inexhaustible. Among the other mineral products of Georgia are silver, copper, pyrite, graphite, asbestos, talc, mica, barite, slate, marl, limestone, and sandstone.
Mining. The marble-quarries had no commercial value prior to 1884. Prior to 1894 the annual value of the product was less than $300,000, but in that year it advanced to over $700,000, where it has since remained. The granite-quarries yield an annual product valued at more than $400,000. Some limestone is quarried and converted into lime. The output of coal for the last decade in the nineteenth century averaged about $250,000 annually; that of iron ore almost reached that amount. The total gold production of the State from 1829 to 1900, inclusive, is estimated at $16,891,000; the recent production amounts to about $150,000 in annual value. Bauxite, first mined in 1889, has, during the decade, varied from 1000 to 7000 tons in annual production. The State produces nearly one-half the manganese obtained in the United States.
Fisheries. There were in 1897 1800 men employed in the fisheries of Georgia, and the product for that year was valued at $170,600, an increase of 38 per cent. over 1890. Oysters and shad constituted the bulk of the catch.
Agriculture. Agriculture is the leading industry of the State. Of the total land area 69.9 per cent. (1900) is included in farms, and of this 40.2 per cent. is improved. The largest farm acreage recorded was in 1860, but the largest improved acreage was reached in 1900, a large increase having been made in each decade since 1870. The large plantations have been broken up and rented to negro farmers. The average size of farms has consequently decreased until in 1900 it was 117.5 acres, a little over one-fourth as large as that in 1850, while the rented farms have increased rapidly in number, amounting in 1900 to 59.9 per cent. of the total. About 37 per cent. of the farms are operated by colored farmers, and over 86 per cent. of these are rented. The negro farmer limits himself largely to the raising of cotton—being encouraged in this by the prevailing system of crop mortgaging, and by his disinclination to adopt new methods. As a result three-fourths of the total number of farms cultivated by negroes are rented and devoted to the raising of cotton.
In the swampy regions in the southern part of the State there is much waste land, and also in the mountains of the northern part. Between these two sections lies the cotton belt. The total area devoted to cotton exceeds that of any other crop, amounting in 1899 to 41.8 per cent. of the total crop area, and yielding 50.7 per cent. of the total crop receipts. The Civil War resulted in a decrease in the area devoted to cotton, but since 1870 every decade has shown an increase. For several years Greorgia has ranked second among the cotton-growing commonwealths. Georgia is the largest producer of sea-island cotton, although this variety covers less than five per cent. of its cotton-growing area. Cotton has been so long king in Georgia that little improvement was observed as regards general agriculture until latterly, when there has been a marked advance. Cereals are of especial importance in the northern part of the State. Corn, the leading cereal, as indicated above, represents almost five times the area of all the other cereal crops. In the last decade of the century the acreage of corn increased 34.7 per cent. Oats and wheat are of about equal importance. In the last decades of the nineteenth century there were large decreases in the acreage of oats, and in the period 1880-90 this decrease was also shared by wheat, which, however, revived in the following decade. The yield per acre of cereals is small. Rice constitutes an important crop in the coast counties, where in 1900 63.4 per cent. of its entire acreage was located. The hay and forage crops are relatively of little importance. Sugar-cane is grown in increasing quantities, and the larger part of the crop is used in the manufacture of syrup. Some sorghum is also raised. Georgia ranks second among the States in the raising of peanuts, the area devoted to them having almost doubled in the decade 1890-1900, the extreme southern counties being the largest producers. In recent years fruit and vegetable growing has increased rapidly. The sweet potato is the most important vegetable, in the production of which the State ranks next to North Carolina. Owing to its situation, the State commands the earliest Northern markets for vegetable and fruit products. The State ranks first in the production of watermelons, with an acreage of 27,874 reported in 1900. The number of peach-trees increased from 2,787,000 in 1890 to 7,668,000 in 1900, constituting in the latter year 68.2 per cent. of the total number of fruit-trees of all varieties. Small plants are not extensively cultivated.
The following comparative table, taken from the census returns of 1900, includes the most important farm crops and varieties of farm annuals, and shows the changes which have occurred during the decade ending with that year:
| Other meat
|Horses|| Mules and
Stock-Raising. As is common in regions where cotton is the principal crop, stock-raising is not of very great importance. While there was a significant increase in the industry during the last decade of last century, it has not regained the prominence it held prior to the Civil War. With the exception of mules and asses, more domestic animals of all kinds were reported in 1850 than in any succeeding census year. The increase in cotton production after the Civil War diminished the grazing area, and hindered the revival of the stock-raising industry. It is noteworthy that whereas horses greatly outnumbered the mules prior to the Civil War, this ratio is now reversed.
Manufactures. Because of its industrial importance, Georgia has long been known as the ‘Empire State of the South,’ and has played a leading rôle in the recent industrial awakening of that section. A number of conditions favor the growth of manufacturing interests, chief of which is the great annual output of raw material. While outranked by the Carolinas in the manufacture of cotton, and by Alabama in that of iron, Georgia has a greater variety of manufacturing interests, and excels these two States in the sum total of manufactured products. The wide distribution of water-power is another favorable factor, as is also the cheaper labor of the region—a result of the low cost of living. Again, the efforts of the State through expositions, technical education, and of the municipalities in exempting manufacturing establishments from taxation, have encouraged their growth. The number of wage-earners employed in manufacturing increased 60 per cent. during the last decade of the century, the census of 1900 showing that 5 per cent. of the total population were thus employed. Of these, 10,900 were women and 6370 children. The value of manufactured products increased during the decade from $68,900,000 to $106,600,000. The manufacture of cotton products leads in importance, and there are but three New England and two Southern States which surpass Georgia in this industry. The cotton-goods establishments increased from 53 in 1890 to 68 in 1900, and the value of the product from $12,000,000 to $18,500,000. A noteworthy beginning was made in the manufacture of hosiery and knit goods. Still more striking was the progress made in the manufacture of cottonseed oil and cake. The oil is used in the production of oleomargarine, cottolene, compound lard, for illuminating purposes, and as a substitute for olive oil. The cake or meal is valuable for stock food, and is also used in the manufacture of commercial fertilizers, in which Georgia outranks the other Southern States. The State exceeds all others in the manufacture of cotton-gins. The recent increase in wheat-raising resulted in giving a new impetus to the flour-milling industry, the value of the product of flour and grist mills having increased during the decade from $5,200,000 to $8,300,000. The car-shop and machine-shop products also show a good growth. The following table indicates the development during the last decade of the century of the eleven leading industries:
|INDUSTRIES||Year||Number||Capital||Value of Products|
work and repairing
|Increase, 1890 to 1900||......||1,628||$22,916,453||$30,951,743|
|Per cent. of increase||......||97.3||59.6||74.1|
The four largest cities of the State produced less than one-third of the total product, their increase being 17.6 per cent. against 54.9 per cent. increase for the entire State.
Forests and Lumbering. The forests are almost as important as the cotton-fields as producers of raw materials. An area of 16,000 square miles, chiefly in the southern part of the State, is covered with forests of the long-leaf pine, while in the central and northern districts there are immense forests of hard woods, oak, hickory, maple, and other varieties. It is estimated that 71 per cent., or 42,000 square miles, of the State's area is forest-covered, of which 23,800 are included in farms, and 18,200 are not. The entire forest product almost doubled in value during the decade 1890-1900. The timber products in 1900, valued at $13,700,000 (see above table), were largely of pine, which was shipped mainly to the Eastern States, though a portion of it went to foreign markets. The hard woods are largely used in the production of furniture. The planing-mill products, including sash, doors, etc., were valued at $4,300,000. From the pine forests in the southern counties are secured enormous quantities of turpentine and rosin almost equal in value to the timber products themselves. The product increased during the decade from $4,200,000 to $8,000,800 in that region.
Transportation and Commerce. The superior transportation facilities of Georgia are largely responsible for its advanced industrial position among the Southern States. Railway construction dates from an early time. The Central of Georgia was built from Savannah to Macon in 1833. In 1860 the mileage of 1420 was exceeded by only five other States. The period from 1880 to 1890 showed an increase from 2460 to 4600 miles. In 1900 the mileage was 5650. There are 57 lines in the State, of which the longest are the Central of Georgia, Southern Railway, Seaboard Air Line, Plant System, and the Georgia. The State Railway Commission fixes rates, and the companies are subject to penalties for their violation. The railroads of Georgia no longer question the constitutionality of this commission. The State has recently taken a decided stand in behalf of good highways, and it now has several hundred miles of macadamized roads. The law enables the counties to assess special road taxes, besides a commutation tax on all males, and provides for the employment of convict or free labor. Many of the counties have taken advantage of these provisions. The number of large rivers offers advantages of water navigation to a large portion of the State. The Savannah on the east is navigable to Augusta, and the Chattahoochee on the west to Columbus, giving an outlet to the Gulf, while the intervening streams, Flint, Altamaha, and others, are navigable for considerable distances. The city of Rome, in the northwest portion of the State, has the advantages of water navigation through the Coosa and Oostanaula rivers. Though the coast-line is not extensive, there are the excellent harbors of Savannah, Brunswick, and Saint Mary's, the former ranking eighth in order of importance as to foreign commerce among American ports, being the largest Atlantic port south of Baltimore. The foreign exports from Savannah in 1901 exceeded $46,738,967, and from Brunswick $7,952,637. The largest part of this was manufactured cotton; other important items were naval stores (spirits of turpentine and rosin) and fertilizers.
Banks. There were, in 1900, 171 State banks in operation, with $8,735,327 capital, $22,009,064 deposits, and $27,753,942 loans. There were also 27 national banks with a capital of $3,556,000, 22 private banks with $605,123 capital, and 11 loan and trust companies with a capital of $1,194,650. It is necessary to have a capital stock of $25,000 in order to establish a State bank.
Government. The present Constitution was ratified by a vote of the people in December, 1877. Proposed amendments must receive a two-thirds majority vote in each House, and a majority vote of the electors qualified to vote for members of the Assembly, each amendment being voted on separately. A two-thirds vote of the members of each House is required in order to call a constitutional convention. The right of suffrage is limited to men twenty-one years of age who have been citizens of the State one year and of the county six months, and have paid assessed taxes, and registered.
Executive. The Governor, Secretary of State, Comptroller-General, and Treasurer are elected by the people. The Governor, who holds office for two years, may serve two terms consecutively, but is then ineligible for four years. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, respectively, succeed to the Governorship in case that office has become vacant. The Governor has the usual power of granting reprieves, pardons, etc. A two-thirds vote of each House overcomes the Governor's veto. The right of veto may be exercised against any item of an appropriation bill.
Legislative. Senators (44) and Representatives (175) are chosen for two years. There are 44 Senatorial districts, composed of contiguous undivided counties. Representatives are elected from counties on the basis of population, and the counties can neither be joined nor divided. The elections are biennial in October of the even years. Sessions of the Legislature are annual, and limited to fifty days; pay of members is $4.00 per day and mileage. The seat of a member of either House shall be vacated on his removal from the district or county from which he was elected. The House of Representatives has the power of impeachment and the Senate the right to try impeachments. Money appropriations must originate in the House of Representatives. The general appropriation bill can embrace only the ordinary expenses, and every other subject of appropriation must be included in a bill by itself. Every bill requires a majority vote of all the members elected to each House.
Judicial. The Supreme Court consists of a chief justice and five associate justices, chosen by popular election for terms of six years. There is a Superior Court judge for each judicial circuit, the judge being elected by the General Assembly for the term of four years. The Superior Court must sit in each county not less than twice in each year. The powers of a court of ordinary and of probate are vested in an ordinary for each county, and in each militia district the voters elect a justice of the peace, whose term of office is four years, as is also that of the county ordinary. The people elect an Attorney-General for the State, and the General Assembly elects a Solicitor-General for each judicial court.
Other Constitutional and Statutory Provisions. Legal interest is seven per cent., and the rate allowed by contract is eight. Judgments outlaw in seven years, notes in six years, and open accounts in four years. Cruel treatment; habitual intoxication; willful desertion for three years; conviction for offense involving moral turpitude, and under which the person has been sentenced for two years or longer, are the chief causes for divorce. The concurrent verdicts of two juries at different terms of the court are necessary in order to secure a total divorce. Property owned by a woman at marriage and that subsequently gained by her are her own, and inalienable. The State cannot make an agreement with any corporation the effect of which is to lessen competition or encourage monopoly.
Militia. In 1898 the total organized militia of the State numbered 3963 men, of whom 390 were in the cavalry, 142 in light batteries, and 3416 in the infantry. In 1900 the total number of males of militia age was 409,186.
Finance. The State Constitution provides that the bonded debt of the State shall never be increased, except for war purposes, and that all debt created to supply deficiencies in revenue shall not exceed $200,000. Constitutional limitations are also placed upon the debt-making power of the political divisions of the State. In September, 1900, the State debt amounted to $7,831,500. The receipts for the fiscal year ending 1900 amounted to $3,542,069, of which $1,929,587 was raised by the general tax. After the school expenditures, the largest items of expenditure are for the public debt, and for pensions to Confederate soldiers and their widows.
Population. The population of Georgia has remained remarkably stationary, the State never having risen above the ninth nor fallen below the thirteenth place in rank; at present holding the eleventh place among the States. It is, after Texas, the most populous of the Southern States, though the density of population (37.6 per square mile) is exceeded in some others. In 1790 the population was 82,500; in 1850, 906,000; in 1860, 1,057,000; in 1870, 1,184,000; in 1880, 1,542,000; in 1890, 1,837,000; in 1900, 2,216,000. The absolute gain for the last decade exceeded that of any preceding decade, and the per cent. of gain, 20.6, was almost identical with that of the United States. As is general throughout the South, the foreign-born element is very small (12,403), while the negro population (1,035,000) constitutes almost one-half the total for the State, surpassing that of any other commonwealth. The rate of increase among the negroes, however, during 1890-1900 was less than that among the whites. The negroes greatly predominate in the southern part of the State, in some of the counties outnumbering the whites four to one. In the mountainous portion north of Atlanta the ratio is reversed in favor of the whites. Among the negroes the females outnumber the males by about 1500. The State contains 19 places with a population in excess of 4000, constituting 13.9 per cent. of the total population. Four cities contain a population exceeding 20,000: Atlanta, 89,800; Savannah, 54,200; Augusta, 39,400; and Macon, 23,200. Atlanta is the capital. The State has 12 Representatives in the Lower House of Congress.
Religion. The Baptist and Methodist denominations predominate, the former having about half the religious membership of the State—368,000, of whom 175,000 are colored. The Methodists number (1900) 272,000, of whom 100,000 are colored. Of the smaller denominations, the Presbyterians have 18,000 members; the Catholics, 20,000; Christians, 9800; and the Congregationalists, 4300. There are 6200 Hebrews.
Education. The unsatisfactory state of education which has long existed in Georgia has been incidental to the unsettled and changing industrial conditions, and the strained social situation, complicated by the race problem. The rural problem in education, difficult of solution in States more fortunately conditioned, is especially aggravated in Georgia. Small schools are common, little having been done in the way of centralization. Each county has a supervisor, and better supervision is gradually being exercised. A graded system is being adopted, and the efficiency of the teacher is being raised by means of numerous institutes and normal schools. The most determined efforts, however, are seriously handicapped because of the insufficiency of the school fund, for which the Constitution is partly responsible. It contains a provision requiring that before levies for the support of county schools shall be made, two successive grand juries shall recommend such levy, and that two-thirds of the qualified voters shall then ratify the action of the grand jury—a requirement most difficult to fulfill. The main dependence is therefore upon State taxes. The amount received from this source, though small, is increasing almost every year. From $150,789 in 1880, it rose to $638,656 in 1890, and to $1,505,127 in 1900. Other public funds added to this, principally through local taxation, raised the total expenditure for 1900 to $1,980,016, or a little over two dollars and a half for each child five to eighteen years old.
The rural teachers receive on an average less than $130 per year. The school year is short, averaging only 112 days. The white schools are not infrequently extended by means of private subscriptions. The building of schoolhouses and their repair are very largely dependent upon private effort. In 1900 the number of children five to eighteen years of age was estimated at 786,920, of whom 482,673 were enrolled in the public schools. This was a marked increase in the per cent. of enrollment, and particularly in the attendance, over earlier years. No law making education compulsory has been passed. According to the census of 1900, there were 158,247 illiterate males of voting age, of whom 125,791 were colored. In 1900 over 52 per cent. of the negroes ten years of age and over were illiterate, only three States showing a higher per cent., but this was a decrease of nearly 10 per cent. for the decade ending with that year. The illiterate native whites ten years of age and over were less than 12 per cent. of the native white population of that age, a per cent. which was exceeded in eight other States and Territories.
High schools are maintained in the larger towns. The University of Georgia, located at Athens, was opened in 1801, and is the first chartered State university in America; the institution is assisted greatly through private munificence. The State also maintains a normal school at Athens; a normal and industrial school (for girls) at Milledgeville; the North Georgia Agricultural College, at Dahlonega; a State Industrial College for negroes near Savannah; and a technological school at Atlanta, under the management of the State University. Private or denominational interests have established a large number of institutions, varying greatly in magnitude and in the standard maintained, but called indiscriminately universities or colleges. The Baptists maintain Mercer University at Macon, and four other institutions for higher education. The Methodists maintain the Wesleyan Female College at Macon, Emory College at Oxford, and a number of others. The Presbyterians support the Oglethorpe University at Atlanta, and the Rome Female College at Rome. The Morris Brown College, Clarke University, Atlanta University, and Spelman Institute (female), all at Atlanta, are for colored students. Of the large number of undenominational schools, the most noteworthy is the Lucy Cobb Institute at Athens.
Charitable and Penal Institutions. The State Lunatic Asylum is located near Milledgeville, and includes separate buildings for white and black inmates, free to bona fide citizens of Georgia. In 1900 it contained 2550 individuals, and there were 150 others confined in the county jails, the asylum having been filled to its utmost capacity. There are a State institution for the deaf and dumb at Cave Spring, and an academy for the blind at Macon. There are also private institutions, such as the Female Asylum at Savannah, the Augusta Orphan Asylum at Augusta, and orphan homes of the Methodist, Episcopal, Baptist, and Hebrew organizations.
A recently adopted State law puts the control of State convicts in the hands of agents or lessees. A State commission has administrative authority over the State institutions, and the above provision is carefully carried out. The same law seeks to attain the same end in control of county chain-gangs, but in this instance it is generally violated, as are also the provisions intended to prevent the products of their labor from coming into competition with the products of free labor, and to restrict the gangs to public works. Female convicts, infirm males, and all boys under fifteen years old are placed on a farm apart from able-bodied men.
History. Georgia was originally part of the vast domain of the Cherokee and Creek Indians, themselves the successors of a superior race, whose ruined mounds still exist. De Soto, in 1540, penetrated its interior, and Ribault, in 1562, visited its coast. Though included in the grant to the Carolina proprietors, the English did not occupy the region, and their claim was denied by the Spanish, who had already worked its mines. In June, 1717, the tract between the Savannah and Altamaha rivers, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean, was granted to Sir Robert Montgomery to be held as a distinct province under the title of the Margravate of Azilia. As it was not settled in the time required, it lapsed to the proprietors, from whom the British Government purchased, in 1730, seven-eighths of the territory, which it ceded by the charter of June 8, 1732, to a body of trustees organized for the purpose of “establishing the Colony of Georgia in America.” Before this—February, 1732—the remaining one-eighth had been acquired from Lord Carteret. Chief among the trustees was General James Oglethorpe, who desired to found an asylum for the poor debtors of England and for the Protestant refugees of Europe. The Government desired to defend the Carolinas against the Spanish and Indians of Florida, and to divert from the Spanish and French their trade with the Chorokees. The Colony was the only one of the original thirteen to receive aid from the British Government. Oglethorpe landed at Charleston, January 13, 1733, and after negotiations with the Creek Indians, took up land on the site of Savannah, February 13th. The rules for the Colony required land to be held in tail male and on military service. The introduction of rum and of slaves was forbidden. In 1733 fifty Jewish colonists arrived, and these were followed in 1734 by Lutheran refugees from Germany (Salzburgers). In 1736 a colony of Highlanders arrived, and with them John and Charles Wesley, whose strict religious discipline made them unpopular, and shortly led to their return to England. In 1738 George Whitefield founded the orphanage of Bethesda, near Savannah. Though generously aided, the Colony did not flourish. The system of land tenures was oppressive, the scarcity of servants hindered agriculture, and the absence of restrictions in South Carolina drew many settlers there. In 1738 many colonists petitioned for the introduction of slavery. In 1740 Oglethorpe led the troops of Carolina and Georgia in an invasion of Florida, and in 1742, by his strategy, drove off a Spanish fleet that attacked the forts on the Altamaha. Slavery was introduced in 1749, the system of land tenure was changed in 1750, and the first Provincial Assembly met at Savannah in January, 1751. In 1752 the charter was surrendered, and Georgia became a royal province. In 1753 the first General Assembly met at Savannah.
Well governed and generously treated by Parliament, Georgia had little cause to aspire after independence, but Saint John's Parish sent a delegate to the second Continental Congress in March, 1775, and its example was followed by the other parishes. In 1778 the British captured Savannah, and in 1779 Augusta and Sunbury. An attempt by the Americans and French to retake Savannah was unsuccessful (October, 1779), and it was held by the enemy till 1782. The first State Constitution was framed in February, 1777, and in January 2, 1788. the Federal Constitution was ratified, A second State Constitution was adopted in 1789, and a third in 1798, when the importation of slaves was forbidden, and the boundaries of the State were defined as extending to the Mississippi on the west, and the Saint Clary's River on the south. The capital was moved to Louisville in 1795, and to Milledgeville in 1807. The enmity of the Indians had been aroused early in the history of Georgia; from 1783 to 1790 there were troubles with the Creeks and the Cherokees, and from 1790 to 1835 the lust for Indian lands was the chief force that shaped politics. In 1802 the State ceded its territory west of the Chattahoochee to the United States in return for $1,250,000 and the promise that the Federal Government would undertake to extinguish peaceably all Indian titles within the State of Georgia. Large cessions were made by the Creeks to the United States in 1814, after they had been defeated in a sanguinary war, and the territory of the lower Cherokees was acquired in 1817. In 1825 the Creek Indians relinquished to the United States all their lands within the limits of Georgia, and Governor Troup, proceeding on the theory that the inherent title of the Commonwealth in the land had thus been freed from all incumbrance, ordered the survey of the relinquished territory. The Indians, however, repudiated their agreement on the ground of fraud, and this led to a conflict between the Governor and the National Administration (1826), in which the State successfully defied the power of the General Government. After the same manner, the Georgia Legislature, in 1827, extended the criminal jurisdiction of the State over a part of the lands held by the Cherokees, thus asserting the incompatibility of an Indian commonwealth existing within the limits of the State with the sovereign power of that State. The Supreme Court, in 1832, declared all such laws void, but its decision was disregarded by the State authorities. The Creeks were expelled in 1832, and in 1835 the Cherokees ceded to the United States all of the disputed territory, removing from the State in 1838.
The Whig Party was always strong in Georgia, and when the secession movement broke out there was a powerful Unionist element in the State. The radical party, however, prevailed, and, on January 19, 1861, a convention passed an ordinance of secession by 208 votes against 89. During the war the State bore more than its share of misfortune. (For military operations in Georgia, see Civil War.) Great commercial depression was followed by actual deprivation. In 1863 there was want in northern Georgia, and in 1864 the northwestern part of the State was laid waste, and scores of thousands were living on Government bounty. At the end of the war it was estimated that four-fifths of the public wealth had been destroyed. The arbitrary acts of the Confederate Congress had been resented by the State authorities, and as early as 1863 there was a large faction in favor of reconstruction. The State was under military rule until June, 1865. On October 30th a convention of delegates at Milledgeville repealed the ordinance of secession; on November 7th the war debt of the State was repudiated, and a new constitution adopted; and on December 5th the Legislature ratified the Thirteenth Amendment. In 1866, however, the Legislature refused to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment, and by the reconstruction acts of March, 1867, Georgia came once more under military rule. A constitutional convention assembled in December, 1867, and in April 25, 1868, a new constitution was adopted by popular vote. The Legislature chosen at the same time complied with the demands of the reconstruction acts, and elected United States Senators. In July General Meade declared civil government restored, but as the Legislature afterwards expelled its colored members, on the ground of ineligibility, and failed to ratify the Fifteenth Amendment (1869), the State was again excluded from Congress, and again subjected to military rule, under which the expelled negroes were reseated, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments ratified, February, 1870. Georgia's representatives in Congress were not admitted till January, 1871. During this period trouble was caused by the Ku-Klux Klan (q.v.).
Business activity recommenced immediately after the war, and, owing to its splendid resources, the State prospered in spite of a long period of misgovernment. Under the wasteful administration of Rufus B. Bullock, Governor from 1868 to 1871, the public debt was increased from $5,000,000 to $16,000,000; the larger part of this debt was contracted through the fraudulent indorsement of railroad bonds, which the State later repudiated. Before 1880 charges of embezzlement were frequently brought against public officials, in particular against the State treasurers. Legislation during the period was concerned in great measure with railway affairs the railroads for the most part being under Government control. After 1880 economic development became especially marked as manufactures of cotton, iron, steel, and oil spread over the northern part of the State, and the mining of coal grew to large proportions. The Cotton Exposition of 1881, and the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1898, both held at Atlanta, testified to the prosperity of the State. The division of races continued clean-cut; and though there was no disposition among the better class of whites to hinder the negro in the exercise of his civil rights, political equality was begrudged him, and social equality absolutely denied. As late as 1891 the Legislature decreed that separate public conveyances be provided for whites and negroes, and as late as 1897 the appointment of a negro as postmaster was made impossible by public opinion. Instances of mob law and racial feud were frequent after 1894.
In national politics the State was Democratic throughout the nineteenth century, except in 1840 and 1848, when it cast its electoral vote for the Whig candidate. In State politics, Georgia, since 1874, has been immaculately Democratic, and since 1882 the Republicans have not participated in the State elections. From 1890 to 1898, however, the Populist Party was very powerful. The present Constitution was adopted in 1877, when Atlanta was made the capital.
|Archibald Bullock||(President of Georgia)||1776-77|
|John A. Truetlen||1777-78|
|Under Federal Constitution|
|David B. Mitchell||““||1809-13|
|David B. Mitchell||““||1815-17|
|George M. Troup||““||1823-27|
|George R. Gilmer||National Republican (later Whig)||1829-31|
|George R. Gilmer||Whig||1837-39|
|Charles J. Macdonald||Democrat||1839-43|
|George W. Crawford||“||1843-47|
|George W. B. Towns||“||1847-51|
|Herschel V. Johnson||“||1853-57|
|Joseph E. Brown||“||1857-65|
|Charles J. Jenkins||“||1865-67|
|Gen. T. H. Ruger||Military||1867-68|
|Rufus B. Bullock||Republican||1868-71|
|James M. Smith||Democrat||1872-77|
|Alfred H. Colquitt||“||1877-82|
|Alexander H. Stephens||“||1882-83|
|Henry D. McDaniel||“||1883-86|
|John B. Gordon||“||1886-90|
|William J. Northen||“||1890-94|
|William Y. Atkinson||“||1894-99|
|Allen D. Candler||“||1899-1903|
|Joseph M. Terrel||“||1903|
Consult: Jones, The History of Georgia, to 1783 (Boston, 1883); McCall, History of Georgia, to 1816 (Savannah, 1816); Stephens, War Between the States (Philadelphia, 1879); Avery, History of Georgia from 1850 to 1881 (New York, 1884).