From Empire to Revolution
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From Empire to Revolution

Sir James Wright and the Price of Loyalty in Georgia

Title Details

Pages: 352

Illustrations: 4 b&w

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in

Formats

Paperback

Pub Date: 07/15/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6593-0

List Price: $29.95

eBook

Pub Date: 07/15/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6596-1

List Price: $29.95

eBook

Pub Date: 07/15/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6595-4

List Price: $29.95

Hardcover

Pub Date: 07/15/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6594-7

List Price: $114.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

Published with the generous support of Kenneth Coleman Fund

From Empire to Revolution

Sir James Wright and the Price of Loyalty in Georgia

A new view on British loyalism, Georgia colonialism, and the American Revolution

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  • Description
  • Reviews

From Empire to Revolution is the first biography devoted to an in-depth examination of the life and conflicted career of Sir James Wright (1716–1785). Greg Brooking uses Wright’s life as a means to better understand the complex struggle for power in both colonial Georgia and the larger British Empire.

James Wright lived a transatlantic life, taking advantage of every imperial opportunity afforded him. He earned numerous important government posts and amassed an incredible fortune, totaling over £100,000 sterling. An England-born grandson of Sir Robert Wright, James Wright was raised in Charleston, South Carolina, following his father’s appointment as the chief justice of that colony. Young James served South Carolina in a number of capacities, public and ecclesiastical, prior to his admittance to London’s famed Gray’s Inn to study law. Most notably, he was appointed South Carolina’s attorney general and colonial agent to London prior to becoming the governor of Georgia in 1761.

Wright’s long imperial career delicately balanced dual loyalties to Crown and colony and offers a new perspective on loyalism and the American Revolution. Through this lens, Greg Brooking connects several important contexts in recent early American and British scholarship, including imperial and Atlantic history, Indigenous borderlands, race and slavery, and popular politics.

In this sensitive and insightful account of the life of James Wright, governor of Georgia, Greg Brooking provides a nuanced portrait of loyalism that should be read by all students of the Revolution. Brooking shows us that neither Wright nor loyalists in other colonies based their fateful—and often painful—choice on a political ideology that differed from their radical neighbors; instead, they were motivated by individual considerations of family ties, economic circumstances, and personal temperament—just as many who chose independence would be.

—Carol Berkin, author of A Sovereign People: The Crises of the 1790s and the Birth of American Nationalism

For fifteen years, James Wright deftly governed Georgia, overseeing the colony's economic expansion and population growth. Despite frequent conflicts between Georgia's interests and British policy, Wright successfully navigated the difficult course between colonial and imperial demands until the American Revolution brought his leadership to an end. Greg Brooking makes a major contribution to the history of colonial and Revolutionary America with this biography of an important but oft-neglected figure.

—Jim Piecuch, author of Three Peoples, One King: Loyalists, Indians, and Slaves in the Revolutionary South, 1775–1782

About the Author/Editor

GREG BROOKING is a social studies teacher at North Springs High School who took his PhD from Georgia State University. He has published articles in the Georgia Historical Quarterly and the Journal of the American Revolution. He lives and writes in the Atlanta suburbs.