Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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SOUTH CAROLINA, one of the thirteen original states of the American Union.


—BOUNDARIES. The triangular shape of the state, and its natural boundary by the Atlantic on the east, leave but two boundaries to be fixed, on the north and on the west. The former was tacitly fixed about 1698, and more formally in 1732 (See NORTH CAROLINA), and was run by the two states in 1764, 1772 and 1813. The latter led to a boundary, suit between Georgia and South Carolina before the congress of the confederation, which was settled in 1787 by a cession to Georgia of South Carolina's claims west of the Savannah and the Tugaloo branch of it. The latter state then proceeded to cede to the United States her "other " claims west of a north and south line from the head of the Tugaloo, but this, as it proved, was a distance of but twelve miles. (See TERRITORIES.)


—CONSTITUTIONS. The constitutional history of the colony is bound up with that of North Carolina until about 1700. In 1719 the people revolted against the proprietors, and established a temporary government of their own; and , in accordance with their wish, South Carolina became a royal colony until the revolution. The crown appointed the governor; the governor appointed the upper house, or council, and retained a veto power; and the people elected the lower house. The opening years of the revolution were marked by constant conflicts between the governor, Sir William Campbell, and the legislature, so that the legislature was almost constantly prorogued. July 6, 1774, the first popular convention met, and chose delegated to congress; and , Jan. 11, 1775, a provincial congress met, which practically assumed the powers of government. March 26, 1776, it adopted the first constitution of the state. The lower house, or general assembly, was to be chosen by the people annually, in fixed apportionments to each parish; it was to choose the upper house, or council of thirteen members; and the two were to choose the president [governor] and vice president. The congress made itself the first lower house. Two peculiar provisions are that the president, was to have no power to make war, peace or treaties, without the consent of the legislature; and that "the resolutions of the continental congress, now of force in this colony, shall so continue until altered or revoked by them." (See STATE SOVEREIGNTY)


—March 17, 1778, an act of the legislature, put a new constitution in force after Nov. 29. It ordained that "the style of this country" should be the state of South Carolina; gave the government a term of two years, and forbade his re-election; changed the names of the houses to senate and house of representatives, and made them both chosen by the people; left out the section as to national supremacy; and established freedom of incorporation to all societies "professing the Christian Protestant religion."


—June 3, 1790, a more elaborate constitution was framed by a popular convention, without popular ratification. It omitted the treaty clause; made the right of suffrage dependent on a freehold of £50 or a tax of three shillings; recognized slavery by requiring for representatives a qualification of £150 or 500 acres and ten negroes; and omitted all religious restrictions. It was amended in 1808, 1810, 1816, 1820, 1828, 1834, 1856, and 1861, the first, the great compromise described hereafter, being the only important change.


—A new constitution was formed by a convention Sept. 13-27, 1863, without popular ratification. Its main changes were that it gave the governor a term of four years, and made him eligible by popular vote; gave the right of suffrage to free white males over twenty-one, on two years' residence; forbade slavery, "slaves in South Carolina having been emancipated by the action of the United States authorities"; and forbade the legislature to inflict punishment of any kind for participation in the rebellion.


—The reconstruction convention at Charleston, Jan. 14-March 17, 1868, framed a new constitution, which was ratified by popular vote, April 14-16. It declared that all men were free and equal; that their paramount allegiance was due to the United States: that the state should forever remain in the Union, and resist with its whole power every attempt to dissolve it; and that all classes of citizens should enjoy equally all common, public, legal and political privileges. The compromise of 1808 (hereafter detailed) was omitted, and the legislature was to be chosen according to population, the house for two years, the senate for four. Every male over twenty-one was given the right of suffrage, except that no one prohibited from holding office by the 14th amendment was to vote or hold office until his disabilities were removed. Debt contracted in aid of rebellion was repudiated. Presidential electors were to be chosen by the people, thought the federal constitution directs them to be chosen in such manner as the legislature may direct.


—GOVERNORS: John Rutledge, 1776-8; Rawlins Lowndes, 1778-9; John Rutledge, 1779-82; John Matthews, 1782-3; Benjamin Guerard, 1783-5; William Moultrie, 1785-7; Thomas Pinckney, 1787-9; Charles Pinckney , 1789-92; Arnoldus Vanderhorst, 1792-4; William Moultrie, 1794-6; Charles Pinckney, 1796-8; Edward Rutledge, 1798-1800; John Drayton, 1800-2; James B. Richardson, 1802-4; Paul Hamilton, 1804-6; Charles Pinckney, 1806-8; John Drayton, 1808-10, Henry Midleton, 1810-12; Joseph Allston, 1812-14; David R. Williams, 1814-16; Andrew Pickens, 1816-18; John Geddes, 1818-20; Thomas Bennett, 1820-22; John L. Wilson, 1822-4; Richard I. Manning, 1824-6, John Taylor, 1826-8; Stephen D. Miller, 1828-30; James Hamilton, 1830-32; Robert Y. Hayne, 1832-4; George M'Duffie, 1834-6; Pierce M. Butler, 1836-8, Patrick Noble, 1838-40; John P. Richardson, 1840-42; James H. Hammond,1842-4; William Aiken, 1844-6; David Johnson, 1846-8; W. B. Seabrook, 1848-50; John H. Means, 1850-52; John L. Manning, 1852-4; James H. Adams, 1854-6; R. F. W. Allston, 1856-8; William H. Gist, 1858-60; Francis W. Pickens, 1860-2; M. L. Bonham, 1862-4; A. G. Magrath, 1864-5; Benj. F. Perry, provisional, 1865; James L. Orr, 1865-8; Robert K. Scott, 1868-72; Franklin J. Moses, 1872-5;; Daniel H. Chamberlain, 1875-7; Wade Hampton, 1877-9; William D. Simpson, 1879-81; Johnson Hagood, 1881-3; Hugh S. Thompson, 1883-5.


—The state is popularly known as the "palmetto state," from a local dwarf palm, the most northern variety of the order. It has always been a favorite emblem for state flags, etc. The capital of the state is Columbia.


—POLITICAL HISTORY. For a long time South Carolina was divided into two quite distinct geographical and political divisions by the line across the middle of the state formed by the falls of the great rivers. The lower, coast or cotton country, from the falls to the seaboard, was the original colony, settled mainly by English Episcopalians, with a considerable percentage of French Huguenots; the upper country, from the falls to the mountains ,was settled mainly by immigrants from the states to the northward, with a considerable percentage of Scotch and Scotch-Irish immigrants. But a more essential difference was in the distribution of the slave population. From the beginning it fell more heavily toward the coast. In 1840, of the 196,222 slaves in the state, 129,814 were in the lower country, and 66,408 in the upper country; and, of the 267,360 whites, 150,994 were in the upper country, and 116,366 in the lower country. The segregation of interests, in its final development, may be seen in the following table of white and slave population, compiled from the census of 1860. Class A is the tier of districts or counties impinging directly on the sea, and including the sea-island cotton district; class B is the tier next to the preceding; and class C is the extreme northern tier; the intermediate districts are more evenly balanced, and are not considered. In all three classes the districts are arranged in order, from west to east, to the North Carolina boundary.


Table.  Click to enlarge in new window.


Geological reasons account for the few variations from the general rule in the table. The upper country, on the democratic principle, had the power to tax, and the lower country the property liable to taxation. The compromise by which the two were reconciled is altogether the most interesting feature in the history of the state before 1860.


—Before the revolution the upper country had comparatively little intercourse with the lower country, and hardly any political power. During the revolution it was one of the strongholds of the tory party of the state, and political power was carefully conserved by the lower country. This design will explain the first constitutions of the state, in which the number of delegates in the lower house was so apportioned to the districts as to give control to the lower country; and the choice of other state officers were given to the legislature. As soon , however, as state politics settled down into orderly development, it became evident that no such unilateral arrangement could be permanent. The tendency to the formation of a white democracy, in which the property of the lower country would be at the mercy of the population of the upper country, was so strong, and created so much angry feeling, that, in 1807, a compromise was agreed upon, and, in 1808, it was ratified as a part of the constitution. Its provisions will be found in Calhoun's works, as cited below. In brief, it fixed the number of members of the lower house at 124, 62 representing white population, and 62 taxation. Every ten years the white population and the taxes paid for ten years past were to be ascertained; and each district was to be entitled, for the next ten years, to one representative for each sixty-second part of either the total white population, or the total amount of taxes paid. In this way any undue exercise of taxing power by the upper country would remedy itself; for it would, for the next ten years, increase the representation of the districts on which undue taxes should be levied. To whatever the result is to be ascribed, to this compromise or to the increase of slaveholding influence, it is certain, that, from 1808 until the overthrow of this compromise by the reconstruction constitution of 1868, there were really no separate parties in the state, and no bitterness of party conflict.


—The formation of the federalist and anti-federalilst party division in 1787-8 brought about a curious contradiction to previous history. Many of the leaders of the lower country, who had been ardent whigs during the revolution, had been educated in England, retained no abiding animosity to that country, and, as they represented commercial interests, were federalists by nature, even though the policy of their party might lead to friendship with Great Britain. On the contrary, the spirit of local independence, and a general opposition to the lower country, made the rest of the state as warmly anti-federalist. The division is plainly shown in the vote in the legislature on calling a convention to consider the constitution in 1788. Of the twenty-nine districts or parishes in the state, only five were divided: the parishes on the coast were as generally unanimous in favor of calling the convention as the parishes in the upper country were unanimous against it. The convention was only called at last by a vote of 76 to 75. In the convention the constitution was ratified, May 23, 1788, by a vote of 149 to 73. The division in the vote was not so striking as in the convention, seventeen parishes or districts being now divided; but the line of division was still very perceptible.


—For some years after the adoption of the constitution the federalists retained a general control of the state, due rather to their wealth and ability than to their numbers. They gave three great leaders to the national federal party: Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (see his name); and William Smith and Robert G. Harper, two of the ablest congressional debaters of their party. When the legislature came to choose electors in 1792, they obtained the second votes of seven of the state's eight electors for John Adams. Before another presidential election the opposition had fairly taken form, and in 1796 the eight electors voted for Jefferson and Thomas Pinckney. In 1800, when the battle between federalists and democrats had become general and defined, the popularity of Charles C. Pinckney in his own state gave him the federalist support for vice-president. (See CAUCUS, CONGRESSIONAL.) The democrats in the legislature offered to compromise by choosing electors pledged to Jefferson and Pinckney, and this, as it afterward proved, would have made Pinckney vice-president, instead of Burr. An indiscreet letter, written by Adams, and censuring Pinckney's public conduct, had recently come to light, and would have been a fair excuse to an ordinary politician for abandoning Adams. But Pinckney rejected the compromise, and stood by his colleague; and both fell together. The legislature chose electors, who voted for Jefferson and Burr; and this was the deciding state.


—From this time the state, in national politics, was a unit, its small federalist element disappearing after its first great defeat. In state politics the only element of discord was removed by the compromise of 1808. For half a century the political history of the state is an absolute blank, with the single exception of the nullification contest. (See NULLIFICATION.) In that struggle the nullification leaders were Calhoun, Senator Hayne, Gov. Hamilton, Preston (afterward senator), and Rhett. The "Union party" was led by Poinsett, Huger, Petigru, Legaré, Grimké, Drayton, Memminger, and others; but it must be remembered that the Union party generally by no means denied the right to secede, only the right to disobey the laws of the Union, while remaining in the Union. And, further, the opposition of nullifiers, like Calhoun and Preston, to the Jackson school of national democratic leaders, was a reason for their being often classed as whigs until 1843—4. (See WHIG PARTY, II.) In fact, men of all parties in the state were generally ultra democrats, secessionists in ultimate theory, and differing in practice only.


—After the termination of the nullification struggle the state remained in political repose until 1860. For ten years before that date she was ready to secede at any time upon a promise of support by one or more other states. In 1860, having secured the desired assurances, the state seceded, and became one of the confederate states. (See SECESSION, CONFEDERATE STATES.) With a voting population of 47,000 in 1860, she furnished 60,000 soldiers to the confederate armies, and at the close of the rebellion was well nigh exhausted. The marks of the exhaustion are still visible in the census of 1870, in which the state shows a slight decrease of white population since 1860, in spite of five years' recuperation. Alabama is the only other seceding state which shows the same indication.


—In May, 1865, some feeble efforts at self assertion by the state government were suppressed by the federal authorities, and Benj. F. Porry was appointed provisional governor, June 30. Under his guidance the convention of 1865, which rescinded the ordinance of secession, was held, a constitution adopted, and a governor and legislature elected. The new legislature met Oct. 25, and the new governor was inaugurated Nov. 29. The state government ratified the 13th amendment, and a code of laws permitting and regulating apprenticeship of laborers until the age of twenty-one in males and eighteen in females, and specifying the rights and duties of employers and employed. At the following session of the legislature an effort was made to remove the dislike of the negroes to the "black code" by the passage of a bill giving all civil rights, to sue and be sued, etc., to the freedmen; but the 14th amendment was rejected.


—Under the reconstruction act (See RECONSTRUCTION), Maj. Gen. D. E. Sickles was appointed military governor March 11, 1867. He was removed Aug. 26, and was succeeded by Maj. Gen. E. R. S. Canby. The registration showed 78,982 colored and 46,346 white voters. A convention was ordered by overwhelming votes, the state constitution of 1868 was adopted, and the state was readmitted, June 25. The new state officers had all been nominated by the convention which framed the constitution, sitting as a republican nominating convention. Four of them, Gov. Scott, the state treasurer, N. G. Parker, the comptroller general, J. J. Neagle, and the attorney general, D. H. Chamberlain, were northern men, or "carpet-baggers"; the secretary of state, F. L. Cardozo, was a native freedman; and the adjutant general, F. J. Moses, was a native white. One of them, Moses, has since been imprisoned in New York for theft; all of them, with the exception of their ablest member, Chamberlain, seem to have been personally and shamelessly dishonest. The legislature, composed mainly of freedmen without property, education, political experience, or sense of responsibility, was probably the most openly corrupt legislative body that ever held sessions in the United States. Details of its proceedings would be tedious and useless; they can be most easily reached in Pike's work, cited below. One instance will be sufficient: the state debt was officially reported in 1868 at $5,407,306.27; in 1872 at $17,557,000; and in 1873 at $20,333,901.10. In 1871 a legislative investigating committee reported that the state officers had over-issued bonds and defrauded the state to the amount of $6,314,000; but the legislature, by a large majority, refused to impeach them. One defaulting official defied a legislative committee to indict him, unless the legislature should first pass a bill to enlarge the penitentiary, since he intended to take at least half of them thither with him.


—Ku-klux outrages in the state seem to have fairly begun in 1870, though they were alleged to have taken place previously. In 1871 they had become a prominent feature in elections (see KU-KLUX KLAN), but were unsuccessful in their object of suppressing the negro vote. In 1874 came the first sign of defeat for the dominant party: a part of it refused to support the regular nominations, and the nominations of this faction were supported by the democrats, and defeated by a much smaller majority than usual. In 1876 came the final struggle between property and population for the control of the state. From the beginning it was marked by hardly suppressed disorder. Massacres of negroes took place at several points, in one of which, at Hamburgh, July 9, the assaulting party of whites was led by a negro justice of the peace. Nov. 21, the returning board declared the republican presidential electors successful by an average vote of 91,672 to 90,856; most of the republican candidates for state offices successful by very similar votes; and no party majority in the lower house of the legislature, owing to the board's refusal to give any certificates for Edgefield and Laurens counties, where fraud and violence were charged. In the senate there was a small but undisputed republican majority. On the meeting of the legislature, which was to canvass the votes for governor, Gov. Chamberlain used federal troops to exclude the Edgefield and Laurens members from the state house. Thereupon they, with the other democratic members, sixty-four in all, formed one house, and the fifty-nine republican members another. Dec. 5, the senate and the republicans declared Chamberlain elected, casting out the vote of the two counties above named; a week later the democratic house, with part of the senate, declared Wade Hampton elected. Hampton obtained the office in April following. (See INSURRECTION, II.)


—Since 1877 there has been practically no republican opposition in state elections, nor, generally, in congressional elections. In 1882 one republican congressman was seated after a contest. In the presidential election of 1880, 58,071 republican to 112,312 democratic votes were cast. In the legislature of 1882 the republicans have but two senators out of thirty-four, and five representatives out of 124. How long this state of affairs can last is a difficult question. One answer to it may perhaps be the restoration in some form, by common consent, of the venerable compromise of 1808, which was abrogated in 1868. The effort to exclude property representation altogether has resulted in the entire exclusion of the popular majority from power, an equitable division of power between the two might possibly solve the problem.


—The roll of South Carolina names which have reached exceptional distinction in American polities is very large. The most distinguished are those of Calhoun and C. C. Pinckney. (See their names.) Others are as follows, democrats unless otherwise specified: William Aiken, governor 1844-6, congressman 1851-7; R. W. Barnwell, congressman 1829-33 United States senator 1850-51, and a member of the confederate states senate 1862-5; M. L. Bonham, congressman 1857-60, brigadier general in the confederate army, confederate congressman 1861-2, and governor 1862-4; Preston S. Brooks (see his name); Ædanus Burke, state judge and chancellor 1778-1802, and congressman 1789-91 (see CINCINNATI); Armistead Burt, congressman 1843-53; Andrew P. Butler, state judge 1835-46, and United States senator 1846-57; M. C. Butler, major general in the confederate army, and United States senator 1877-87; Langdon Clieves, congressman 1811-15 (see DEMOCRATIC PARTY, III.), and president of the bank of the United States in 1819; William Drayton, congressman 1825-33; William Henry Drayton, state judge and chief justice 1771-7, and author of a widely circulated whig charge to a grand jury in April, 1776; Christopher Gadsden, a revolutionary leader, delegate to the stamp act congress in 1765, and to the continental congress 1774-6; John Gaillard, United States senator 1805-26, and president of the senate 1814-19 and 1820-25; James Hamilton, congressman 1823-9, and governor 1830-32 (see NULLIFICATION); James H. Hammond, congressman 1835-6, governor 1842-4, United States senator 1857-60, and an ultra pro-slavery author and debater; Wade Hampton, governor 1876-9 and Unites States senator 1879-85; R. G. Harper, federalist congressman 1795-1801 (see MARYLAND); Robert Y. Hayne, attorney general 1818-22, United States senator 1823-32, and governor 1832-4 (see NULLIFICATION); Ralph Izard, commissioner to Tuscany 1777-9, delegate to congress 1781-3, and United States senator 1789-95; Lawrence M. Keitt, congressman 1853-60 (see BROOKS, P. S.), killed at Cold Harbor in 1864; Henry Laurens, delegate to congress 1777-80, minister to Holland 1780-81, and one of the negotiators in 1782-3; Hugh S. Legaré, attorney general 1830-32, chargé at Brussels 1832-6, congressman 1837-9, and attorney general under Tyler; William Lowndes, congressman 1811-22 (see DEMOCRATIC PARTY, III); George M'Duffie, congressman 1821-34, governor 1834-6, and United States senator 1843-6; John McQueen, congressman 1849-60, and confederate congressman 1862-4; Charles G. Memminger, confederate secretary of the treasury, 1861-4; Arthur Middleton, delegate to congress 1776-8 and 1781-3; Henry Middleton (son of the preceding), governor 1810-12, congressman 1815-19, and minister to Russia 1820-30; James L. Orr, congressman 1849-59, confederate senator 1862-5, governor (republican) 1865-8, and minister to Russia 1872-3; Francis W. Pickens, congressman 1834-43, minister to Russia 1858-60, and governor 1860-62; Charles Pinckney, delegate to congress 1777-8 and 1784-7, and to the convention of 1787, governor 1789-92, 1796-8 and 1806-8, United States senator 1797-1801, minister to Spain 1803-5, and congressman 1819-21 (see ELECTORS); Joel R. Poinsett, congressman 1821-5, minister to Mexico 1825-9, and secretary of war under Van Buren; Win. C. Preston, United States senator 1833-42, president of the college of South Carolina, and an eloquent speaker; Robert Barnwell Rhett (name changed in 1837 form Smith to Rhett, to obtain a legacy), congressman 1837-49, U. S. senator 1851-2, and a leader in secession; Edward Rutledge, delegate to congress 1774-7, and governor 1798-1800; John Rutledge, delegate to congress 1774-7 and 1782-3, governor 1776-8 and 1779-82, justice of the U. S. supreme court 1789-91, and appointed chief justice in 1795, but not confirmed by the senate because of his intemperate opposition to Jay's treaty; William Smith, federalist congressman 1789-97, and minister to Portugal 1797-1801; Thomas Sumter, a famous partisan leader in the revolution, congressman 1789-93 and 1797-1801, and United States senator 1801-10; Waddy Thompson, congressman 1835-41, and minister to Mexico 1842-4; and James L. Trenholm, confederate secretary of the treasury 1864-5.


—See authorities under NORTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, NULLIFICATION, SECESSION, RECONSTRUCTION; 2 Poore's Federal and State Constitutions; Lawson's History of Carolina (to 1714); 2 Force's Tracts; Carroll's Historical Collections of South Carolina (to 1776); Gibbes' Documentary History of the Revolution, chiefly in South Carolina (1764-82); Drayton's Memoirs of the Revolution, as relating to South Carolina (1821); Rivers' Early History of South Carolina; Ramsay's History of South Carolina; Chase's Life of Lowndes; 6 Calhoun's Works, 254; 1 Olmstead's Cotton Kingdom, 206; Simms' History of South Carolina (continued to 1860); Pike's The Prostrate State (1873).


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