chapter  12
14 Pages

Georgia: The Land Closed to Slaves, Rum, and Lawyers

Every schoolchild learns that Georgia, the last of the original thirteen colonies, was founded in 1733 by General James Oglethorpe as a haven for English paupers and felons. The prohibitions on drink and slavery were enacted on April 3, 1735, and supposedly were designed to make the colony more defensible. As one advertisement which sought to induce Jews to come to Georgia proclaimed: Nature has not blessed the world with any tract which can be preferable to it. Ascertaining the extent of slave trading activity in Georgia after 1808, when Congress banned the importation of Africans, is more problematic. Slaves were imported because they were crucial to the development of rice and cotton plantations which became the backbone of Georgia's economy. Law laments the fact that the two communities are no longer in close proximity with one another and that Jews who are now lawyers and doctors "don't always employ blacks".