In February of 1733, the British North American colony of Georgia was founded on the banks of the Savannah River, roughly ten miles from the sea. That same year the colony’s London-based leaders, a group of philanthropists known as the Georgia Trustees, published a tract entitled Reasons for Establishing the Colony of Georgia. The opening statement was written by General James Edward Oglethorpe (1698-1785), the experienced military officer and vocal social reformer who had personally led the settlers to their new home south of the Carolinas, and who was instrumental in nearly every aspect of the venture:

It was the city of Savannah that Oglethorpe, after years of preparation, had finally begun to carve out of the hot, humid pine and palmetto forests of the coastal Low Country. This city contained, and contains, all the complexity of the both the man and his mission: the precision and foresight of an experienced warrior tasked with establishing a defensive bastion of British imperial might, and the generosity of a progressive advocate for social and political change who was personally committed to establishing a haven for the downtrodden.