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Georgia's History in July

July 5, 2016

U.S. History

The Fourth of July: the official day of remembrance of the United States’ separation from royal authority. The day comes as a belated celebration since the men of the Continental Congress actually voted to be free from British rule on July 2, 1776. In his writings, John Adams even predicted that July 2 would forever be remembered in American history, but since the final draft of the Declaration of Independence wasn’t completed until the 4th (and not officially signed until August 2), July 4 was commemorated as our day of freedom.

For many years following the draft of the Declaration of Independence, most Americans didn’t celebrate Independence Day at all. The late 1700’s and early 1800’s brought turmoil and partisan conflicts causing the Federalists to take issue with the language and policies in the Declaration. In fact, in 1817, John Adams complained that Americans seemed uninterested in its history and past. However, after the War of 1812, the Federalists began to fall apart and new political parties formed who considered themselves inheritors of Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party. Printed copies of the Declaration of Independence began circulating with the date July 4, 1776, at the top. In 1870, nearly a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress officially declared July 4 a national holiday.

Georgia History

Settled in 1733 by James Oglethorpe, Georgia was the last of the 13 original colonies to be formed. It later became a state in 1788. Since then, a lot has happened in our state. From the Battle of Bloody Marsh to the flooding of the Flint River from tropical storm Alberto, the month of July has been an important time in our history.

Let’s take a walk back through some of Georgia's significant events that have taken place in July:

  • 1782  Following its defeat in the Revolutionary War, the British army left Savannah on July 11.

  • 1840 — Wesleyan College in Macon graduated its first inaugural class making it the first degree-granting women’s college in the world.

  • 1851 — Georgia Military Institute opened in Marietta and remained open until the end of the Civil War.

  • 1864 — The Battle of Atlanta, part of the Atlanta Campaign of the Civil War, took place on July 22. At the same time, General Sherman ordered nearly 400 mill workers in Roswell, most of whom were women, to be arrested as traitors and shipped with their children to the North.

  • 1906 — The state legislature approved an amendment to the state constitution creating the Court of Appeals of Georgia.

  • 1913 — Leo Frank was charged with first-degree murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan in Fulton County Superior Court, making it one of the most notorious trials in Georgia history.

  • 1914 — Former President of the Coca-Cola Company, Asa Candler, gifted $1 million towards the opening of a new Methodist college. The donation led to, what we now know as, Emory University.

  • 1936 — Margaret Mitchell sold the movie rights to Gone With the Wind for $50,000.

  • 1946 — The CDC was established in Atlanta.

  • 1960 — On July 31, the Atlanta International Raceway, now known as Atlanta Motor Speedway, hosted its first race.

  • 1976 — On July 20, Hank Aaron hit his 755th and final home run, setting the all-time record for career homers.

  • 1977 — U.S. president and Georgia-native, Jimmy Carter, awarded Martin Luther King Jr. the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

  • 1983 — Georgia’s current state constitution went into effect on July 1.

  • 1993 — The groundbreaking ceremony for Centennial Olympic Stadium took place in Atlanta on July 10. The 1996 Olympic Games would commence in that location 3 years and 9 days later.

As we continue to celebrate our freedom the rest of the month and through the remainder of the year, remember, there’s a lot of history in our country and a lot has taken place right here in the state of Georgia. Get outside to explore some history at Kennesaw Mountain or take in some history in at The Carter Center or The King Center. Whatever you choose, take some time this month to remember how our country and our state were born!

About the Author

Chelsea Stephens is a Content Specialist for Georgia.gov. A Georgia native herself, Chelsea ensures the content on Georgia.gov provides accurate information to all constituents of Georgia. She graduated with a degree in Marketing and has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.