Form and Content
Joyce Knight Blackburn has organized James Edward Oglethorpe into four significant eras in the life of the founder of Georgia. Part 1 opens with Oglethorpe as a student at the University of Oxford examining his own position as a Jacobite under the rule of the recently crowned George I. Blackburn places Oglethorpe in a historical context and begins to disclose his personality by creating vignettes based on events in his early life. Much of the first portion of the book focuses on his election as a Tory to the House of Commons, his investigation of conditions in debtors’ prisons, and his role in the passage of the Debtors Act of 1730. As Blackburn describes Oglethorpe’s part in planning and promoting the establishment of a colony in Georgia, one begins to better understand the British motives for colonization and the country’s struggle with Spain and France for domination in the New World. Part 1 ends with Oglethorpe’s preparation to go to the new colony of Georgia.
In parts 2 and 3, Blackburn makes use of excerpts from journals kept by colonists and members of the board of trustees for Georgia to describe the colonization of Georgia and Oglethorpe’s role in it. Highlighted in these sections are the military importance of Georgia as a buffer to protect the Carolinas from the Spanish and French troops to the south, the establishment of Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island, Oglethorpe’s commission as general of the forces of South Carolina...
(The entire section is 495 words.)