Georgia history



Georgia history


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Georgia history



                           STUDY GUIDE TO GEORGIA HISTORY


This guide is simply an outline to aid you in studying Georgia’s history and should be used in conjunction with a textbook on Georgia history.  The guide provides some chronology along with major trends and events, and lists some significant people that you should be able to identify. 



Three basic areas:



Coastal Plain

Each support different flora and fauna

Rivers begin in the mountains and flow to the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico



(Do not memorize specific dates, but have an idea of time and sequence)


Indians populated Georgia

Cherokee in North

Creek Confederation in other areas

Small band of Chickasaw near Augusta

Colonial- 1550s-1775

Revolutionary War/Confederation- 1775-1788

Early National Period- 1790s-1820

Antebellum Period - 1820-1861

Civil War 1861-65

Reconstruction- 1865-77

Gilded Age/Progressive Era- 1870s - World War I

WWI to WWII - 1917-1945

Post World War II- 1945-present






Late 1550s/early 1600s Spanish Missions along Coastal Georgia

1670 Founding of Charleston

English traders began to trade with Indians in what later became GA

1732 Charter granted to a charitable trust

Three reasons for colony’s founding:

1.  Trust wanted to provide new start for poor of England and

persecuted Protestants in Europe

2.  English government wanted defense buffer between Spanish

Florida and English Carolina

3.  English government wanted Georgia to fit into British mercantilism

1733- First colonists arrived.  James Oglethorpe -Founding Trustee


1733-early 1750s- Trustee Period

Agreements with Indians

Problems with Trustee policies (including land policies)

Problems with “Malcontents”

Three Laws- 1. No rum  2. No slavery  3. License required to trade with Indians

English and other ethnic groups settle

War of Jenkins’ Ear with Spanish

Battle of Bloody Marsh

Abandonment of Trustee policies and laws by late 1740s

Economic development


1752-1775 Royal Colony

Development of slavery and plantation system

Rice culture along coast

Fur trade in back country

New government with royal governor, Governor’s Council, elected

Commons House of Assembly

Indian Land Cessions in 1763-1773- opening of back country to farmers

Events leading to Revolution 1763-1775 including Georgia’s

reactions to events in other colonies

Georgia younger, weaker, closer ties to England so slower to action;

only one of thirteen rebellious colonies with no representative

in First Continental Congress

Attended Second Continental Congress- three signed Declaration of

Independence- George Walton, Lyman Hall, Button Gwinnett


Significant People:

James Oglethorpe, Mary Musgrove, Tomochichi, William Stephens, John Reynolds, Henry Ellis, James Wright




1775-1778 - Fighting in Georgia between Patriots(Whigs) and Loyalists (Tories).

1776 - Battle of Rice Boats.  Royal government fell.

December 1778 - British Capture of Savannah.  Re-establishment of royal government.

1779 - French/Patriot Siege of Savannah failed

1779-1780 - Patriots retreated to Augusta.  Augusta taken by British, retaken by Patriots, retaken by British, retaken by Patriots.

1782- Patriots retook Savannah.


Government during Revolution- Rules and Regulations of 1776;

Followed by first state constitution in 1777.

1781-1789- Georgia part of Confederation of states under Articles of


Capital moved to Augusta in 1786 along with more population moving

to interior.  Settlers’ desire for Indian land led to problems.

1787- Georgia participated in Constitutional Convention.  Two signed-

Abraham Baldwin and William Few.

1788- Georgia electors unanimously chose George Washington for

first president.  Support for Constitution and stronger federal

government related to Indian lands.


Significant People:  Noble Wimberly Jones, Walton, Hall, Gwinnett, Lachlan McIntosh, Elijah Clarke, Thomas Brown, Nancy Hart, Col. Archibald Campbell, Count D’Estaing, James Jackson, Anthony Wayne, Nathanael Greene, Lighthorse Harry Lee




Development of Georgia’s economy

End of Indian trade

Rice culture continued in coastal areas

Tobacco culture in piedmont

1793 -Invention of cotton gin by Eli Whitney on Mulberry Grove                                       

Plantation outside Savannah

1800s -Development of cotton culture

Land lottery

Continuing development of slavery

Agricultural production of yeomen farmers

Development of towns

Development of transportation- roads

Development of banking


Political Development

Indian Land Cessions

Constitutions of 1789, 1795

Development of political factions



Yazoo Land Fraud

War of 1812 and its impact

Development of education and religion

Growth especially of Methodists and Baptists


Significant People: Abraham Baldwin, William Few, George Mathews, James Jackson, John and Elijah Clarke, George Troup, Josiah Meigs, Eli Whitney, John Milledge

IV.       ANTEBELLUM PERIOD 1820-1861



Party development over issues of tariff, Mexican War, states’  rights, secession

Capital moved to Louisville in 1795 and to Milledgeville in 1804

Indian Removal- Creeks and Cherokee


Economic Development

Cotton in piedmont, rice on coast

Food crop production- corn and other crops

Development of transportation


1830s - Railroads- Georgia RR, Central of Georgia,

Western and Atlanta and smaller lines

Limited development of manufacturing- cotton mills, tanneries, quarries, turpentine distilleries, lumber


Social and cultural development

Social groups:  Planter elite, small planters, yeomen farmers (majority of white population), poor whites, free African Americans, enslaved African                                              Americans

Education- Limited.

            Academies and private schools, tutors on plantations, poor schools in some towns.

            Higher education: Franklin College (UGA), and colleges founded by  religious denominations such as Emory, Oglethorpe, Mercer.                                            Wesleyan for women.  Medical College of Georgia

A few intellectual and civic organizations emerged

Some social reforms including academy for the blind, academy for the deaf,    asylum for the mentally ill


Significant People:  William Harris Crawford, John Forsyth, George Gilmer, Wilson Lumpkin, Howell Cobb, Herschel Johnson, Alexander Stephens, Robert Toombs, Joseph Brown, John Ross, Major and John Ridge, Sequoyah, Elias Boudinot, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, Crawford W. Long


V.        CIVIL WAR 1861-65


Georgia voters divided in 1860 election between Breckinridge for southern Democrats;          Bell of Constitutional Unionists; and Douglas of the northern Democrats.

Secession convention a struggle between immediate secessionists and cooperationists        who hoped to stay in the union through another compromise.

Seceded in January.  Confederate States of American formed in February.  War began          after firing on Ft. Sumter, SC in April.  Georgia had an uneasy relationship with       the Confederate government throughout the war.

Industry expanded.  Atlanta became quartermaster and commissary headquarters of   Confederacy. Confederate Powder Factory in Augusta.

Problems during war with inflation, shortages, morale, opposition to the draft, class     resentments. Educational institutions suffered, many closed.



Union blockade of coast; Union capture of Ft. Pulaski

1863- Battle of Chickamauga

1864- Sherman’s fight to Atlanta and subsequent Battle of Atlanta

            November-December- Sherman’s March to the Sea

February 1865- Sherman moved out to Carolinas

April 1865- Columbus captured by Gen. James Wilson

Liberation of African Americans from slavery


Significant People: Joseph E. Brown, Alexander Stephens, Robert Toombs, Howell and T.R.R. Cobb, Braxton Bragg, Joseph E. Johnston, William Tecumseh Sherman, Henry Wirz


VI.       RECONSTRUCTION 1865-77



Under Lincoln and Johnson Plans

Military Reconstruction 

Emergence of Republican Party in Georgia

Political enfranchisement of African Americans

Constitution of 1868

Atlanta became state capital in 1868

Readmission in 1868.   Expulsion of Black legislators.

Reinstitution of reconstruction/military

2nd readmission in 1870.  “Redemption”

1870s- Rise of “Bourbon” Democrats to power

Constitution of 1877

13th, 14th, 15th Amendments to U.S. Constitution



Freedman’s Bureau

Return to agriculture including cotton production

Emergence of tenant farming/sharecropping

Emergence of crop lien system of credit

Emergence of Atlanta as a center of distribution and commerce

Rebuilding of infrastructure including railroads


Social and Cultural Development

State supported public school system (segregated)

Primary grades only, 3 month term

Reopening of colleges.  Some new state colleges.

First African American colleges.

Founding of independent African American churches

Rise of KKK


Significant People: Charles J. Jenkins, Joseph E. Brown, Rufus Bullock, John B. Gordon, Alfred Terry, Jefferson Long, William Jefferson White, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, Gustavus J. Orr, Sidney Lanier





Democratic Party consolidation of power

Populist challenge in the 1890s

Disfranchisement of African American voters

Passage of laws of segregation by state and local governments

Leo Frank case

Rebirth of KKK at Stone Mountain




Increasing tenant farming/sharecropping/crop lien

“New South”

Diversity in agriculture

Industry - Textiles, Processing other natural resources

New industry- Coca Cola

Urbanization in a few areas


Social/ Cultural

Education increased.  New colleges founded.  More professionalization of education

Race Relations

Booker T. Washington/WEB DuBois approaches

Resistance to segregation

Court Cases

Atlanta Race Riot

Emergence of African American businesses, civil and social organizations


Significant People: William and Rebecca Latimer Felton, Hoke Smith, Thomas E. Watson, John Marshall Slaton, Leo Frank, Joel Chandler Harris, Henry Grady, Booker T. Washington, WEB DuBois, Alonzo Herndon, Asa Candler, Martha Berry, Juliette Gordon Low





Military bases in World War I

Population migration of African Americans to the North




Automobiles and radios, electricity in urban areas; movies; airplanes

“Roaring twenties”- jazz, flappers, etc. and backlash to that


Continuing predominance of agriculture with some diversification; Sharecropping/crop lien continued

Problems with boll weevil- affecting agriculture and textiles


1930s- Depression

New Deal of President Franklin Roosevelt.

Programs of relief (PWA, WPA, CCC for example created jobs), recoverysuch as AAA, and reform (social security, banking, REA for example)

Decline in sharecropping/diversification in agriculture


Significant People: Walter George, Richard Russell, Eugene Talmadge, Eurith D. Rivers, Erskine Caldwell, Caroline Miller, Margaret Mitchell, Arthur Raper, Lillian Smith, Robert Woodruff, Charles Herty, Bobby Jones


IX.       WWII to present


WWII- Brought military bases and industry to Georgia

Changed the economy


Economic Changes

Diversification of agriculture to include many crops such as peaches, peanuts,soybeans

Mechanization of agriculture

Decline in agriculture especially family farms

1940s- 70s- Industrialization

Many industries including carpet, automobile, broiler (chicken processing), paper, and many others

1980s and 1990s- Growth of service and technology jobs

Emergence of Tourism as a major economic component

Rapid urbanization and suburbanization

Emergence of Atlanta as a major US city (financial, transportation,commercial center)

Economic problems for rural areas, small communities

Increased urban and rural poverty


Race Relations

Civil Rights movement

Massive Resistance led by Herman Talmadge and others

End of Segregation and Disfranchisement

Integration of schools in 1960s/70s (UGA in 61)

African Americans voting and in elective office beginning in the 1960s


Political Change

End of County Unit System

African Americans in political arena

Emergence of viable two party system


Social and Cultural Changes

Population migration from North (including African American by 1980s/90s)

Increased ethnic, racial, religious diversification

Growth of modern education system

1990s- Establishment of lottery and HOPE under Governor Zell Miller

Emergence of arts and other cultural and historic organizations

Emergence of professional sports/sports teams

Increase in emphasis on historic restoration and preservation

Atlanta as international business center and host of 1996 Olympic Games


Significant People: Ellis Arnall, Marvin Griffin, Ernest Vandiver, Carl Sanders, Lester Maddox, Jimmy Carter, Howard “Bo”Calloway, Richard Russell, Sam Nunn, Carl Vinson, Flannery O’Connor, Carson McCullers, Alice Walker, James Dickey, Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young, Cathy Cox, Jessye Norman, Ray Charles


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