Our Georgia History
 

Antebellum Georgia

Georgia History 101

Georgia's western border reached the Chattahoochee in 1819. That same year Alabama joined the United States, essentially surrounding the Cherokee and Creek Nations. Georgia was looking to expand into the area they controlled; in fact, it was a major campaign platform from 1823 on. To protect itself the Cherokee began a movement towards nationalism that saw the creation of a republic with a bicameral legislature similar to the United States. Further to the south the Creek Nation was coming under similar pressure.

In 1825 Governor George Troup negotiated the Treaty of Indian Springs with William McIntosh, a mixed blood Creek who stood to gain a plantation on the Chattahoochee River. Although the federal government attempted to get involved, The Treaty of Indian Springs would mean the end of the Upper Creek in Georgia.

In 1828 gold was discovered near Dukes Creek in White County, Georgia, on a belt that ran southwest into the Cherokee Nation. As word of the discovery reached Georgia's coast, men and machinery poured into the area. America's first gold rush began. Georgia increased pressure on these Americans to cede their land and move West.

One of the reasons Georgia felt confident in moving against the Cherokee was the election of Andrew Jackson as President of the United States in 1828. Jackson pushed the Indian Removal Act through a divided Congress in 1830. The act meant the Lower Creek still living in Georgia had to move west to present-day Oklahoma. It meant the same thing to the Cherokee.

The Cherokee fought Jackson in the court; a Supreme Court ruling gave the Cherokee status as a nation. Only the federal government, under the Treaty Clause of the constitution, could deal with a sovereign nation. In 1835 the Jackson Administration got what it wanted -- the Treaty of New Echota. Some 500 Cherokee out of an estimated 16,000 signed the treaty which was ratified by the Senate. In 1838 the federal roundup of the Cherokee began. This was the start of the Trail of Tears

Jackson had been popular in Georgia because of his anti-Indian stance but a number of crisis during his administration created bitter resentment in the state. John C. Calhoun, a native son of South Carolina and a popular figure in north Georgia, supported the concept of nullification, the right of any state to "nullify" a federal law. When the South was burdened with an unpopular tariff in 1833 South Carolina attempted to nullify the law and Jackson moved troops to Charleston. A constitutional crisis was averted when the tariff was repealed.

One effect of this crisis was to divide Georgia along pro-Union and States Rights lines (almost everybody was anti-tariff). While Georgians in the north were pro-Union (hence the name Union County), coastal and southern Georgians felt that Georgia had the right to secede from the nation if they were unhappy. The seeds of Civil War had been sown. It would be 28 years before they would be reaped.

Georgia's expansion to the west and north could not be accomplished with traditional transportation. Rivers and roads took time to move raw goods to market and finished goods to consumers. Senator Wilson Lumpkin realized that a new invention, the railroad, could be the answer to transportation problems created by moving inland. First as governor, then as President of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, Lumpkin helped overcome the dependence on these modes of transportation.

Introduction of the railroad changed the face of Georgia. From its beginning as a rowdy town of rail-hands and prostitutes Atlanta (history of Atlanta), located at a crossroads of rail systems in the Southeast, grew quickly to a major producer of many of manufactured goods. Other towns along the railroads began to grow as well, including Macon and Rome (history of Rome).

From 1837 until 1845 Georgia suffered through one of the worst depressions in our nation's history. When the dark economic clouds lifted the state began a steady growth until the Civil War. During this time national problems began to surpass the problems of the state in the minds of many residents. The future of slavery was one of these issues.

Throughout the 1850's a policy of appeasement and compromise permeated the United States of America. Slowly the state's population shifted westward. In the center of Georgia a new city, Atlanta, was taking shape. New not only in life span but in concept: Atlanta would become the first great inland city in the world, not built as a port but as a terminal.

Georgia and the Civil War

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