History of Georgia (U.S. State)

History Of Georgia (U.S. State)

The history of the American state of Georgia spans pre-Columbian time to the present day. The history of the state is formed by its original Native American inhabitants, European exploration and settlement, the American Revolution, the American Civil War, Reconstruction, the Great Depression, and eventual transition to economic and political power.

Georgia was founded in 1732 as a trustee colony and was named for King George II of Great Britain. It became a royal colony in 1752. The colony originally prohibited slavery, a prohibition which lasted until 1749. Afterward, slavery grew in the colony, initially as labor for the coastal rice plantations.

Although initially hesitant to join the American Revolution, Georgians sympathized with the other twelve colonies concerning trade rights and issues of taxation without sufficient legal recourse or representation in the British Parliament. On April 15, 1776 Georgia’s Provincial Congress issued its "Rules and Regulations", a provisional constitutional document for Georgia’s new Whig government. The document served as an interim constitution during Georgia’s transition from a colony to a state until adoption of the Constitution of 1777. (There never was a Georgia declaration of independence.) Archibald Bulloch, was elected the first President of the newly independent state. On January 2, 1788, the state ratified the United States Constitution.

The period after the revolution and before the civil war were years of population growth and economic prosperity. Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin, driving Georgia and much of the South into a cotton-based economy.

Seventy-three years after ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Georgia seceded from the Union and joined other Southern states to form the Confederate States of America in February 1861. War erupted on April 12, 1861 and Georgia contributed nearly one hundred thousand soldiers to the war effort. The first major battle in Georgia was the Battle of Chickamauga, a Confederate victory, and the last major Confederate victory in the west. In 1864, William T. Sherman's armies invaded Georgia as part of the Atlanta Campaign; Sherman's March to the Sea devastated a wide swath from Atlanta to Savannah in late 1864.

After the war, Georgians endured a period of economic hardship. Reconstruction was a period of military occupation and biracial Radical republican rule that attempted to bring about equal rights to the freed slaves (Freedmen) and institute economic initiatives. The end of Reconstruction and return of white domination of the legislature marked the beginning of the Jim Crow era, in which whites imposed second-class legal, social and economic status on African-Americans. The state was heavily rural with an economy based on growing cotton. The Great Depression of the 1930s hit the state hard. Prosperity returned in World War II, although Georgia remained among the poorer states. The Civil Rights Movement had a strong role in the state, which was the base for African-American leader Martin Luther King, Jr.. After 1950 Atlanta became a major regional city, expanding into neighboring communities by the fast-growing suburbs. Due to disfranchisement of African-Americans around the start of the 20th century, Georgia was a Democratic stronghold in presidential elections until 1964 and the passage of federal civil rights legislation. Democratic candidates continued to be popular in state and local elections until the 1990s. Since 2000 the white majority has supported the Republican Party, which has majorities in both houses of the legislature, and more recently, control of all statewide elective offices.

Read more about History Of Georgia (U.S. State):  Pre-Columbian, European Exploration, British Colony, American Revolution, Antebellum Period, Civil War, Reconstruction, Postbellum Economic Growth, Agrarian Unrest and Disfranchisement, Progressive Era, Civil Rights Movement, Sun Belt Growth and The New Right

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