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.