Georgia Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation

Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

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.

James 1:5


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.

Isaiah 58:2


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


         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 GEORGIA in General Assembly and by the AUTHORITY of the SAME.

An Act for the more full and complete Establishment of a public seat of Learning in this State
    As it is the distinguishing happiness of free governments that civil Order should be the Result of choice and not necessity, and the common wishes of the People become the Laws of the Land, their public prosperity and even existence very much depends upon suitably forming the minds and morals of their Citizens.  When the Minds of people in general are viciously disposed and unprincipled and their Conduct disorderly, a free government will be attended with greater Confusions and with Evils more horrid than the wild, uncultivated State of Nature.  It can only be happy where the public principles and Opinions are properly directed and their Manners regulated.  This is an influence beyond the Stretch of Laws and punishments and can be claimed only by Religion and Education.  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 moulded to the love of Virtue and good Order.  Sending them abroad to other countries for their education will not answer these purposes, -  is too humiliating an acknowledgment of the Ignorance or Inferiority of our own, and will always be the Cause of so great foreign attachments that upon principles of policy it is not admissible.  This Country in the times of our common danger and distress found such Security in the principles and abilities which wise regulations had before established in the minds of our countrymen, that our present happiness joined to pleasing prospects should conspire to make us feel ourselves under the strongest obligation to form the youth, the rising hope of our Land to render the like glorious & essential Services to our country.  And whereas for the great purpose of internal education, divers allotments of land have, at different times, been made, particularly by the Legislature at their Session in July One thousand seven hundred and eighty three, and February One thousand seven hundred and eighty four, all of which my be comprehended and made the basis of one general and complete establishment.   .......JOSEPH HABERSHAM, Speaker      Watkins, Digest of the Laws of Georgia, pp. 199 ff.



         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.