The Southern Colonies and the “Social Experiment” of Georgia James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia colony, looking quite dashing in this statue in Savannah, Georgia.
Bell-Ringer • If you were to create your own colony, would you do it to promote making money quickly, practicing your religion freely, or for some “higher purpose”?
Beth Kraus…you had better be looking at this map! It’s a visual aid after all!
For the most part, the southern colonies were more rural in comparison to New England and the Middle Colonies. Economy and society rested on great farmers and independent, middle-class farmers. The great farmers, supported by slave labor, held most of the political power and the best land. They built great houses, adopted an upper-class lifestyle, and kept in touch with overseas culture. Settlers combined agriculture and commerce (trading). Economy was based on cash crops like tobacco, rice, and indigo, as well as shipbuilding materials. Not as closely knit as New England. People were spread out more, which led to less of a community based environment. The first permanent English settlement in the New World was in Jamestown, VA. It was initially settled as a place where the English could hunt for gold and capture Spanish treasure ships. After a rough start, Jamestown, and Virginia as a whole, would be revitalized by tobacco and the emergence of slave labor.
The Shirley plantation in Virginia attests to the wealth and splendor of some of the Southern colonies’ inhabitants.
Maryland started out as a colony that would welcome persecuted Catholics from England. • The Carolinas were originally one big colony given to the king’s supporters. Internal disputes between settlers caused it to break into North and South Carolina. South Carolina was settled heavily by English residents of the Caribbean island of Barbados, who hoped to grow rich cash crops. • The founding of Georgia is one of the most interesting of all. Georgia was created to be a “social experiment.” James Oglethorpe, its leader, wanted it to be a colony where people who were in debt in England could start over again. • It was created to help the poor, protect South Carolina from attacks in Spanish-held Florida, and to produce silk and olives for England. • Settlers had to live by a strict code, including: 1) No alcoholic beverages, 2) No lawyers, 3) No black slaves or “negroes”, 4) No Catholics. • Georgia would fail as a social experiment because settlers were upset that other colonies were prospering, so the leaders of Georgia had to let up on some of their strict requirements, especially the ban on slavery.