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August 04 , 2009

In Pursuit of Dead Georgians

One Historian’s Excursions into the History of His Adopted State


George R. Lamplugh, a historian of Georgia and the South, explores some of his home state’s most fascinating historical events, beginning with the American Revolution and continuing through the 1850s, in this well-researched collection of essays.

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He covers political factionalism during the American Revolution; the development of political parties in Georgia (which was different from the process in other states); and the impact of the Yazoo Land Fraud on Georgia’s political development.

Some of the most fascinating essays focus on the maneuverings of individual politicians, such as William Few, who was determined to exert local influence after the American Revolution by having the Richmond County courthouse and jail, and hence the county polling place, constructed in the settlement of Brownsborough rather than in Augusta.

More complex issues get equal treatment, such as how after the War of 1812, political parties in Georgia began to slowly adopt policies that were popular in other states—even though that meant hurting Creeks, Cherokees, and slaves.

While Georgia didn’t always live up to democratic ideals, its political history teaches us a lot about our past and possible future.

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