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Yazoo Land Sale Scandal Essay

1256 words - 6 pages

One of the most important events that had occurred in the state of Georgia that would forever shape its history begun shortly after the American Revolution. When the cotton gin was invented, Georgia’s economy had transformed into a cotton and tobacco based plantation economy. In order to keep with the demands of the economy and citizens, Georgia had adopted the Headright System. The Headright System granted every head of household large acreages of land, which would quickly replace the small farms in Georgia. Then in 1783, the Treaty of Paris had formally ended the American Revolution. Although the war had ended, the nation was still troubled with various issues. The state of Georgia would see shortly after the Revolutionary War that although the Treaty of Paris had given the Floridian territory back to Spain, they were to be left to settle an international dispute once Spain asserted their ownership of land east of the Mississippi and north of the Yazoo River. Georgian’s who were eager to purchase the large amounts of land found west of the Mississippi to either begin plantations or to sell lands to planters. This would soon cause the climax of much trouble in Georgia when state legislators and land companies would work together to essentially set the prices to sell the land in what would be known as the “Yazoo Sale” scandal, which would indirectly result in the Trail of Tears. The most important themes and trends in Georgia’s history from the end of the American Revolution through the late 1830s are symbolized by the Yazoo Sale, its origin, and aftermath.
The first attempt to sell the land west of the Yazoo River was met with failure. Four companies offered to buy the lands in agreement with Georgia legislature. These companies made a deal with Georgian legislators so that they would not have to put a deposit down on the lands and that they could pay off the balance within two years. However, while the Georgia Yazoo Company made a lucrative offer to purchase the lands for three times the amount offered by the other three companies, Governor Edward Telfair would sign the proposal. However, the Georgia state treasurer later rejected their offer when they refused to accept the payment in paper bills rather than in silver and gold, therefore nullifying the sale. In 1794, four new companies (The Georgia Company, the Georgia-Mississippi Company, the Tennessee Company, and the Virginia-Yazoo Company) would make a second offer to purchase the lands and Georgia legislators approved by creating “An Act Supplementary to an Act”. These companies would pay 20% down and pay of the balance by 1795 and pay only two centers per acres. While land speculation is legal, what made the sale Yazoo Sale illegal would be the methods of how these companies were able to purchase 35 million acres of land for a mere $500,000 would cause many Georgians to protest.
The reason of such protest from Georgians was not limited to the four companies being able to purchase...

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