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The American Revolution in Georgia


Georgia History 101

Georgians faced a unique set of problems before and at the start of the American Revolution. Royal governor James Wright (1761-1776) had done an excellent job expanding both the economy and the colony and although there were those who agreed with the northern radicals many, perhaps most, did not support the movement towards independence.

One reason was protection. England, the most powerful country in the world, offered a level of safety that perhaps a new nation could not. It was the Spanish to the south and the French to the west that concerned Georgians the most, along with the Creek and Cherokee Indians. Another was trade. The West Indies and England were both vital markets to Georgia, and many of Georgia's major products were used by the English navy.

Politics deeply divided the state, not just as Tory and Loyalist. People in politically powerful Savannah frequently disagreed with rural Georgians. As Britain passed restrictive trade barriers radicals responded not only in the streets but at the ballot box. Governor Wright twice rejected elected leaders of the Common House (Noble Jones and Archibald Bulloch) in 1771, but by 1775 royal power was gone in Georgia.

On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was enacted, with Lyman Hall, George Walton and Button Gwinnett signing for the state of Georgia. It would take a month for Georgians to find out that all three of their representatives voted for the document and what the document said. Major battles involving Georgians (Battle of the Rice Boats, Fort Moultrie) had already been fought.

Georgians had to deal with problems in Florida. Loyalists, including Governor Wright's brother Germyn were using outposts in that state to raid backcountry Georgia and South Carolina. At least one raid reached all the way to North Carolina. On three occasions the state attempted to deal with the problem with limited or no success. One expedition was so fractious that it leads to the death of Radical leader Button Gwinnett.

England's "Southern Strategy" was aimed at controlling states with a heavily Loyalist population including Georgia. Initiated with the capture of Savannah, Cornwallis spread his men north, hoping to enlist backcountry supporters. At first the plan seemed to work, but Whig colonists finally succeeded, defeating their English oppressors at Cowpens, South Carolina and driving them from Ninety Six.

Freeing Georgia began with Elijah Clarke retaking Fort Augusta. Then General Anthony Wayne defeated an English Army of superior numbers with a force mostly comprised of colonial regulars and Georgia militia. With the Treaty of Ghent in 1783, the American Revolution was over. The struggle to create the United States of America had just begun.

Want to know more about Georgia and the American Revolution?

The American Revolution in Georgia

Constitutional Georgia


Our Georgia History: History 101 index

Georgia's Indian Heritage
The Age of Exploration in Georgia
Colonial Georgia
The America Revolution in Georgia
Constitutional Georgia
Antebellum Georgia
Georgia and the Civil War
Reconstrution Georgia
Georgia's Gilded Age
A State Divided
Depression and War

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Return to Index


FrontHistory 101Early GeorgiaAmerican IndiansSearch
WarsPeopleTimelineListsPlacesPoetry




Golden Ink
Georgia's innovative design group


Legal Notice
Privacy Policy
Copyright