Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation
Some sweet day when blossoms fall
And all the world's a song
I'll go back to Georgia
'Cause that's where I belong. from Georgia by Stuart Gorrell.
Robert Loveman's Georgia was Georgia's official state song before 1979.
Georgia 1777, Preamble
We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection
and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.
It should therefore be among the first objects of those who wish well to the national prosperity to encourage and support the principles of religion and morality, and early to place the youth under the forming hand of society, that by instruction they may be molded to the love of virtue and good order.
Abraham Baldwin, Founder of the University of Georgia
INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNING
Just after the close of the Revolutionary War, Georgia set aside land for "a college or seminary of learning." The following year, Yale-educated lawyer and minister Abraham Baldwin wrote the charter for the University of Georgia.
The University of Georgia Charter, 1785
By the REPRESENTATIVES of the FREEMEN of the STATE of
in General Assembly and by the AUTHORITY of the SAME. GEORGIA
King George II in 1732 granted Georgia to James Edward Oglethorpe, an English general who kept the Spanish from a successful invasion of Georgia. The colony believed in the "liberty of conscience" and quickly recruited Lutheran Salzburgers, Scottish Presbyterians, and Jews. Roman Catholics were excluded. The trustees passed idealistic acts prohibiting rum, forbidding slavery, and regulating the Indian trade.
From early governing documents:
"Article VI. [R]epresentatives... shall be of the Protestant religion...
Article LVI. All persons whatever shall have the free exercise of their religion; provided it be not repugnant to the peace and safety of the State; and shall not, unless by consent, support any teacher or teachers except those of their own profession."Georgia Constitution, 1777
Article I. Section 3. The 'representatives... shall be of the Protestant religion...' requirement was removed.
"Article IV. Section 5. All persons shall have the free exercise of religion, without being obligated to contribute to the support of any religion but their own."Georgia Constitution, 1789
"Article IV. Section 10. No person within this state shall, upon any pretense, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping God in any manner agreeable to his own conscience, nor be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall he ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rate, for the building or repairing any place of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or hath voluntarily engaged to do. No one religious society shall ever be established in this state, in preference to another; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of any civil right merely on account of his religious principles."
Georgia Constitution, 1798
The early settlers developed colonial charters that were decidedly evangelical in their purpose, often expressing a goal for their colony to advance the Christian religion. As the country progressed up to the revolutionary war period, state constitutions evolved from the charters. Those state constitutions served to maintain the order already established by the original charters, the charters based on Christianity.