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This Day in Georgia History

January 27, 1785

UGA Chartered

The Georgia legislature enacted into law Abraham Baldwin’s proposed charter for the University of Georgia. In so doing, Georgia became the first state to charter a state university. The act’s preamble declared:

“When the minds of the people in general are viciously disposed and unprincipled and their conduct disorderly a free government will be attended with greater confusions and evils more horrid than the wild uncultivated state of nature. It can only be happy where the public principles and opinions are properly directed and their manners regulated. This is an influence beyond the reach of laws and punishments and can be claimed only by religion and education. It should therefore be among the first objects of those who wish well to the national prosperity to encourage and support the principles of religion and morality and early to place the youth under the forming hand of society that by instruction they may be molded to the love of virtue and good order. Sending them abroad to other countries for their education will not answer these purposes; it is too humiliating an acknowledgment of the ignorance or inferiority of our own, and will always be the cause of so great foreign attachments, that upon principles of policy it is inadmissible. “This country, in times of our common danger and distress, found security in the principle and abilities which wise regulations had before established in the minds of our countrymen. That our our present happiness, joined to the pleasing prospect, should conspire to make us feel ourselves under the strongest obligations to form the youth, the rising hope of our land, to render the like glorious and essential services to our country.”
Image of UGA Chartered View large image
Source: Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia