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"Oglethorpe's Dream"


"Oglethorpe's Dream"
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.42

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    filthy, politician, somewhat, trustee, successful, education, society, slavery, colonist, homeland, motto, wealthy, hard-working, relationship, military, religion
     content words:    James Oglethorpe, British Parliament, King George II, South Carolina, If Oglethorpe, King George, Yamacraw Indian, Savannah River


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"Oglethorpe's Dream"   

1     James Oglethorpe seemed to have everything anyone could want in 18th century England. He was born in 1698 to a wealthy family. As a young man, he had received the best education and distinguished himself as an officer in several battles across Europe. Later, like his father, he was elected to serve in the British Parliament.
 
2     Shortly after his election to Parliament, Oglethorpe had a good friend who was put into prison. What was his crime? He was a debtor-someone who owes money to a business, the government, or another person. Debtors were kept in special "debtors' prisons." Debtors' prisons were filthy places where the prisoners were treated harshly. Oglethorpe's friend contracted the disease smallpox while in debtors' prison and died. This moved Oglethorpe to use his wealth and power to fight the injustice of the debtors' prison system.
 
3     As a politician, Oglethorpe worked to reform conditions in the debtors' prisons. His efforts were somewhat successful, but he soon realized that there was a much larger problem: finding a way to help the country's many poor citizens. Oglethorpe felt that many of the poor were honest and hard-working, but had never had an opportunity to be successful. He had an idea!
 
4     Oglethorpe believed that a new colony could be established in America for the sole purpose of providing a new beginning for some of England's poorest people, including some of those who were in debtors' prisons. He used his power and influence to try to convince King George II that his idea would work.

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