The Formation of a Planter Elite
Jonathan Bryan and the Southern Colonial Frontier

Alan Gallay
With a new preface

A groundbreaking study by the winner of the Bancroft Prize for The Indian Slave Trade


"Gallay provides useful insight into the overmighty subjects that stalked the periphery of the eighteenth-century British empire."
Journal of American History

"Gallay's useful and well-written account of the rise of Jonathan Bryan—and with him the Georgia elite, to many of whom Bryan was kin by blood or marriage-helps answer the question of who led Georgia into the Revolutionary fray."
William and Mary Quarterly

"An intriguing and well-written biography."
American Historical Review

“Gallay earns praise for plunging into Georgia's early history and risking bold interpretations. He uses the career of long-lived Jonathan Bryan as the unifying theme in his description of the formation of Georgia society.”
Journal of Southern History

"Anyone seeking to understand how the Southern master class emerged need look no further than this important book."
Virginia Quarterly Review

"Gallay uses with an even hand an impressive array of manuscripts and published primary works."
Georgia Historical Quarterly

"Jonathan Bryan deserves this excellent biography. . . .This is writing history in the grand manner. That means that individuals are to the fore."
Atlanta History

"In all, Gallay shows that Georgia was another frontier with few vestiges of democracy in practice. Students of slavery, the southern frontier, and the Revolution will all find something of interest here."

“[An] engaging and accessible book.”
Slavery and Abolition

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Jonathan Bryan (1708-88) rose from the obscurity of the southern frontier to become one of colonial Georgia’s richest, most powerful men. Along the way he made such influential friends as George Whitefield and James Oglethorpe. Bryan’s contemporaries, in terms of their large holdings of land and slaves, were markedly traditional and conservative. As Alan Gallay shows, Bryan was different. Paternalistic and relatively open minded, Bryan contemplated religious, social, political, and economic ideas that other planters refused to consider. Of equal importance, he explored the geographic areas that lay beyond the reach and understanding of his contemporaries. Through the career of a remarkable individual--which spanned the founding of Georgia, the Revolution, and the birth of the new republic--Gallay chronicles the rise of the plantation slavery system in the colonial South.
Page count: 308 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9

Read more about colonial and Revolutionary Georgia at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.


List price: $28.95

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Alan Gallay is the Warner Woodring Chair of Atlantic World and Early American History at Ohio State University, where he is also Director of the Center for Historical Research. His books include Voices of the Old South (Georgia) and The Indian Slave Trade, winner of the 2003 Bancroft Prize.