America’s First Century: Virginia, Bloody Virginia

Lead: Far more potent threats to the survival of Virginia than attacks by Native Americans or the Spanish were disease and hunger. In the early years, people arrived and died - in droves.

            Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

            Content: The Virginia Company had it figured out. They instructed the leaders of the colony never to allow Native Americans to see an English colonist die. If the natives did not think white men were mere mortals, they would be far more cooperative. Native Americans must have thought such a dictum rather laughable as they watched from afar for Jamestown was a killing field. Of the initial 104 settlers less than 40 were alive nine months later. The company could hardly keep up with the carnage.

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The Carolina Colony and the Lords Proprietors – Part II

Lead: Between 1663 and 1729, present day North Carolina and South Carolina were ruled by the Lords Proprietors. They started out with high hopes of wealth and riches but soon discovered the bitter reality of colonization.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: In 1663, English King Charles II paid back eight wealthy political supporters who helped him regain the English throne. Their reward: an enormous land grant in North America. It was Carolina, so named in honor of his father, the late martyred King Charles I. The eight nobles were called Lords Proprietor (ruling landlords). The vast territory contained the present day states of North and South Carolina whose western borders ran all the way to the Mississippi River. The Proprietors hoped to reap rich profits through land rent, farming and the development of commerce in the region. They especially wanted to develop silk plantations, but their dreams of cornering the market of this very expensive commodity came to grief because silk failed in the region.

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The Carolina Colony and the Lords Proprietors – I

Lead: Before North and South Carolina became royal colonies in 1729, the region was ruled by the Lords Proprietors, a group of British aristocrats who were in the game of colonization to make money. 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: During the 1500s both the Spanish and French attempted to colonize the Carolina coast. Their efforts were followed by a failed attempt by the English on Roanoke Island in the 1580s. After the so-called Lost Colony, it was seventy-five years before Europeans attempted another settlement in the Carolinas.

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James Oglethorpe and the Founding of Georgia – II

Lead: James Edward Oglethorpe marshaled the arguments and the parliamentary support for the establishment of a new colony south of Carolina. He is considered the Founder of Georgia.

            Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

            Content: Like his father and brother before him, beginning in 1722 James Oglethorpe sat in Parliament. Early in his career at Westminster, spurred by the tragic death of a friend thrown into prison because of debt, he chaired a committee investigating prison conditions. He found them to be appalling. Should a debtor by some chance survive the corruption, disease, and brutality of a prison term, he would have little chance of returning to a productive life once released. At the same time concern was growing in the government about the threat posed by hostile Indian clans and the possibility of Spanish encroachment against the exposed southern flank of the immensely valuable colony of Carolina.

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James Oglethorpe and the Founding of Georgia – I

Lead: The founding of the North American English colony of Georgia emerged from the happy confluence of political shrewdness and personal dedication in the life of James Edward Oglethorpe.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: What would become the Royal colony of Georgia got its start because of social problems in the mother country and a serious military threat to Britain’s interests in North America. The mid-wife to the colony’s birth was James Oglethorpe. One of the interesting features of liability law in England during the 1700s was the power of a creditor over a debtor. A creditor was permitted by law to take possession of the debtor’s body. If you owed a debt and could not pay it, your creditor could throw you in jail until you paid. Not surprisingly, prisons were filled with people whose only crime was that they had fallen on hard times and could not pay their bills. Studies of prison conditions at the time revealed pitiful stories of corrupt judges and prison officials, bribery, extortion, brutality, and disease. If they survived and were released, these so-called debtor criminals had little hope of a decent or productive life.

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