Georgia was originally intended to the be opposite of South Carolina.
Whereas South Carolina had been settled by Barbadians who brought their culture of racialism, white supremacy and plantation slavery from the Caribbean to the North American mainland and created a Slave Society from the outset, the colony of Georgia was envisioned as a geopolitical buffer state between South Carolina and Spanish Florida which would provide an outlet for the English poor.
Here’s an excerpt from Watson W. Jennison’s book Cultivating Race: The Expansion of Slavery in Georgia, 1750-1860:
“The trustees envisioned Georgia as a refuge for the common man. They consciously rejected the path toward cash crops and plantation slavery in place in much of British North America and the West Indies. Instead, they planned to base Georgia’s economy around the production and export of silk and wine, two high-value commodities that would promote England’s mercantalist interests but would not require slave labor to be profitable …
The trustees purposely avoided the introduction of a cash crop in Georgia because they feared it would lead to the emergence of plantation slavery and, inevitably, to the concentration of land and wealth in the hands of a few colonists, thus undermining the entire project. To avoid such an outcome, they enacted a land policy that limited most migrants to fifty acres. … In addition, the trustees banned slavery in Georgia altogether, making it the only colony in British North America to impose such a prohibition …
Instead, the trustees’ opposition to the introduction of slavery in Georgia stemmed from their apprehension over the institution’s impact on the colony’s white population. …
For the trustees, then, slavery posed a threat to the creation of their utopian society, a place where, under the tutelage and guidance of paternalistic elites, white commoners could find a semblance of equality.”
Georgia vs. South Carolina was an experiment that had major ramifications for the future of the Deep South. Would the Deep South follow the Georgia model and become a White ethnostate based on free labor or would it follow the South Carolina model and become a Slave Society?
The South Carolina model won out because free labor was unable to compete with the wealth generated by slave labor. Slavery was legalized in Georgia in 1751 and the colony was swiftly transformed into a miniature version of the South Carolina Lowcountry as the rice plantations spread out along Georgia’s Atlantic Coast and created a parallel elite that became Georgia’s political class.
The following excerpt comes from Paul M. Pressly’s book On the Rim of the Caribbean: Colonial Georgia and the British Atlantic World:
“The plantation complex that stretched from Brazil to the Lower South sank deep roots into Georgia’s soil within a very short period of time. Philip D. Morgan went a step further when he asserted, “While lowcountry Georgia possessed the territorial extent of a mainland colony, it bore many of the features of a Caribbean island.” The culture and example of the sugar islands, especially those of the Lesser Antilles, exercised a profound influence over the province. As Jack Greene argued, slavery in the lowcountry followed a model worked out in the sugar culture of Barbados. At the same time, the lowcountry developed its own distinctive features.”
The rice plantations advanced into coastal Georgia.
The next step in the spread of the plantation complex across the Deep South would come after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793. Long staple cotton was already being grown on the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, but it was the processing of short staple cotton by the cotton gin that made the Cotton Kingdom which first spread across the South Carolina Upcountry and downward across a vast swath of Middle Georgia toward Alabama and the Florida line.