South Carolina, History
South Carolina is one of the original states of the United States. A rich slave state based on cotton, it was inspired by the brilliant states' rights theorist John C. Calhoun; it took the lead in forming the Confederacy, but lost disastrously. It finally recovered after 1945 and threw off segregation in the 1960s-1970s, and after a century of loyalty to the Democratic party switched to become a Republican stronghold.
The region has been populated since approximately 13,000 BC (when tool-making nomads began to leave material remains). Major settlement began after 1712 as the northern half of the British colony of Carolina attracted frontiersmen from Pennsylvania and Virginia, while the southern parts were populated by wealthy English planters who set up large slave plantations. Therefore the Province of South Carolina was distinguished from the Province of North Carolina in 1719.
South Carolina declared independence from Britain and set up its own government on March 15, 1776; it promptly joined the United States by signing the Declaration of Independence. The British invaded in 1780, capturing a large American army, and set up a networks of forts designed to attract Loyalists. Nasty guerrilla warfare, coupled with major battles, forced the British out in 1781. The cotton gin made the state a major center of cotton plantations, enabling a rich elite centered in Charleston.
Efforts to nullify the federal tariff of 1832 collapsed when other states failed to support South Carolina. However, the ideas about minority rights of Calhoun encouraged the state to secede when it thought its rights to own slaves were threatened by the election of Abraham Lincoln on an anti-slavery platform in 1860. A month later it became the first state to leave the Union, and in February it formed the new Confederate States of America with six other cotton states that believed their independence was secure because their cotton crop was so essential to the world economy. In April 1861 the American Civil War began when Confederate forces attacked the American fort at Fort Sumter, in Charleston. The state provided soldiers but was not the scene of major battles. Sherman marched through destroying plantations as he went, in early 1865.
After the Confederate defeat, South Carolina underwent Reconstruction. Freed slaves gained the vote and full civil rights; however, their power was short-lived, and were eventually taken away in the Jim Crow era of racial segregation that lasted from the 1880s to 1964.
From 1865 to 1940 the state was poor, and educational levels were low. Most people lived on farms and grew cotton. The more affluent were landowners, who subdivided the land into farms operated by tenant farmers or sharecroppers, along with land operated by the owner using hired labor. The piedmont area industrialized, with textile factories that turned the raw cotton into yard and cloth for sale on the national market.
Politically the state was part of the Solid South, with no elected black officials between 1900 and the late 1960s. The Civil Rights laws of the 1960s ended segregation and allowed the blacks to vote. By 2000 South Carolina was solidly Republican at the presidential level, but state and local government was contested by the two parties. The cotton regime ended by the 1950s. As factories were built across the state, the great majority of farmers left agriculture. The population continued to grow, reaching 4 million in 2000, as coast areas became prime locations for tourists and retirees. With a poverty rate of 13.5%, the state was only slightly worse than the national average of 11.7%
- 1 Colonial period
- 2 Revolutionary War
- 3 Antebellum South Carolina
- 4 Civil War
- 5 Reconstruction
- 6 Economic booms and busts
- 7 Desegregation
- 8 Recent events
- 9 Bibliography
By the end of the 16th century, the Spanish and French had left the area of South Carolina after several reconnaissance missions and failed colonization attempts; however in 1629, King Charles I of England granted a charter to lands between latitudes 36 and 31. It was called "Carolina" after the Latin form of Charles. Eight nobles, the Lords Proprietors were absentee rulers; in 1719 the land was split into the royal provinces of North Carolina and South Carolina.
In April 1670 settlers arrived at Albemarle Point on the shores of Ashlee, and founded Charles Town, named in honor of King Charles II.
Throughout the Colonial Period, the Carolinas participated in many wars against the Spanish and the Indians, particularly the larger Yamassee and Cherokee tribes. The smaller coastal tribes were decimated by diseases of the Europeans, and by capture and removal as slaves to the Caribbean. The Carolina backcountry was settled largely by Scots-Irish migrants from Pennsylvania and Virginia, while the low country was dominated by mostly wealthy plantation owners who brought in black slaves from the West Indies, as well as white indentured teenage boys and girls as laborers. The political tensions between the lowcountry and upcountry became a recurring theme for generations.
Many wealthy planters from the English sugar islands Barbados and Jamaica obtained extensive land grants in South Carolina between 1672 and 1692. With no room for expansion on Barbados, and an unhealthy climate, the younger sons sought to start new plantations in South Carolina.
Colcanis (2005) shows the impacts of globalization began with the founding of the colony. The eight individuals linked to the Carolina Charter of 1663 were involved in financial ventures that stretched from the Indian Ocean to West Africa. The colony's interactions with the outside world were limited initially due to the small size of the domestic market, but when a viable agricultural export staple in the form of rice began to take shape, the colony's place in the world became clear. By the 18th century, South Carolina possessed many advantages - cost-efficient, disciplined, and technologically skilled African labor and an attractive physical environment - that resulted in the colony becoming one of the wealthiest of the British colonies. In turn, South Carolinians became avid consumers of services from outside the colony, such as mercantile services, medical education, and legal training in England. Almost everyone in 18th-century South Carolina felt the pressures, constraints, and opportunities associated with the growing importance of trade.
Two crops, both cultivated by slave labor were the primary reason why South Carolina became the wealthiest colony in North America. Rice culture was begun along the coast mainly from the Georgetown and Charleston areas, about the beginning of the 18th century and grew rapidly. The rice varieties and the cultural knowledge were brought by slaves from West Africa. In time the best rice was selected and became known as Carolina Gold, which denoted not only its color but its ability to produce great fortunes for plantation owners.
Indigo culture and processing in South Carolina was begun by Eliza Lucas Pinckney in the 1740s. An "Indigo Bonanza" followed, with South Carolina production approaching a million pounds in the late 1750s. This growth was stimulated by a British bounty of six pence per pound.
In addition the colonial economy was derived from sales of deer skins, and naval stores (like turpentine and tar) and timber. Shipbuilding was begun, using the prime timbers of the live oak.
The slave trade between 1717 and 1767 was primarily carried on by British vessels bringing slaves from the West Indies and occasionally direct from Africa. The need for manpower after the expansion of rice cultivation in the 1720s resulted in this colony's becoming the largest slave importer on the continent. During the 18th century, an abundance of shipbuilding materials meant that most slave ships were built in the colonies. During 1717-38, London and Bristol dominated as the registration sites of slave ships, but Liverpool replaced London during 1752-67. Since North American winters were cooler than those experienced in tropical latitudes, the slave trade was largely a seasonal affair, with the largest number of slaves arriving between May and November.
South Carolina from 1700 to 1830 had the largest Jewish population in all of North America, based as merchants in Charleston. 
Prior to the American Revolution, the British began taxing American colonies to raise revenue, particularly outraging South Carolinians with the Townsend Acts that taxed tea, paper, wine, and glass. To protest the Stamp Act, South Carolina sent wealthy rice planter Thomas Lynch, twenty-six-year-old lawyer John Rutledge, and Christopher Gadsden to the Stamp Act Congress, held in 1765 in New York. Other taxes were removed, but tea taxes remained. Soon South Carolinians, like the Boston Tea Party, began to dump tea into the Charleston Harbor, followed by boycotts against merchants who dared sell the tea (none was sold).
South Carolina declared independence from Great Britain and set up its state government on March 15, 1776. Many of the South Carolinian battles fought during the American Revolution were with loyalist Carolinians and the Cherokee tribe which had allied itself with the British. Both the Americans and British engaged in guerrilla warfare. Patriot guerrillas, led by "Swamp Fox" Francis Marion and "Gamecock" Thomas Sumter attacked British detachments and outposts, held loyalists in check, and severed supply lines. They also collected intelligence for the regular forces. Though far better suited for insurgency than for participation in pitched battles, they nonetheless successfully fought in major actions, particularly at Cowpens and Eutaw Springs, North Carolina. 
On October 7, 1780, at Kings Mountain, Andrew Pickens led a body of militia who destroyed British Major Patrick Ferguson and his 1000-man force of British regulars and loyalists on a hilltop. Kings Mountain was the turning point in the southern campaigns since it forced General Cornwallis to abandon the state as he headed north toward Yorktown, where he was captured by George Washington.
The new federal Constitution was ratified by the state in 1787, and the new state constitution was ratified in 1790 without the support of the Upcountry.
Antebellum South Carolina
Due to the invention of the cotton gin in 1786, the economies of Upcountry and Lowcountry became fairly equal in wealth. The Lowcountry could grow long staple cotton, but the Upcountry's soil could only grow short staple cotton. Lowcountry cotton had been easier to separate by hand until Eli Whitney's cotton gin made it as easy to separate Upcountry cotton as it was to separate Lowcountry cotton. The invention caused farmers to require a larger number of workers. Upcountry planters began to import slaves from Virginia.
To avoid the dangers of corruption in Charleston, the capital was moved to Columbia. Before the War of 1812, the state's Congressmen voted to prevent northern industry from exporting any goods, leading to inter-sectional tensions. After the war, however, John C. Calhoun proclaimed the need for more industry, and proposed higher protective tariffs. He later reversed course.
In 1828, John C. Calhoun decided that constitutionally, the state government of each state within that state had more power than the federal government. Consequently, if a state deemed it necessary, it had the right to "nullify" any federal law within its boundaries. When in 1832, South Carolina's houses quickly "nullified" the hated federally mandated tariffs, President Andrew Jackson declared this an act of open rebellion and ordered U.S. ships to South Carolina to enforce the law.Template:Ref
Calhoun resigned as vice president, planning on becoming a senator in South Carolina to stop its run toward secession while solving the problems inflaming his fellow Carolinians. Before federal forces arrived at Charleston, Calhoun and Henry Clay agreed upon a compromise tariff that would lower rates over 10 years.
Tensions over the institution of slavery were a key feature of South Carolina life during the antebellum period. In 1822, free black craftsman and preacher Denmark Vesey was convicted for having masterminded a plan for blacks to murder all the Charlestonian whites by slaves and free blacks. Historians remain uncertain whether a plot really existed or merely hysterical fears among whites. The state established curfews and forbade assembly of large numbers of blacks and the education of slaves. Since the mere presence of free blacks was seen as dangerous, South Carolina leaders also made it illegal for slaveholders to free their slaves without a special degree from the state legislature.
Meanwhile the slaves on the larger plantations developed their own social norms and religious values. Cross-plantation marriages, in which slaves from different plantations united, demonstrate the resilience of families and the desire for autonomy within slave communities. Such marriages constituted 34% of slave households in antebellum South Carolina. The fact that male slaves risked beatings by patrollers to visit wives and children on other plantations indicates that they saw themselves as "initiators, protectors, and providers." Such unions were expressions of autonomy and resilience, which disputes previous studies of slave families that have either underestimated the incidence of cross-plantation marriages or have seen such unions as weak and unstable. A serious issue was the possibility of forced separations by separate sales. Most slaves had to live under the constant threat, and sometimes the reality, of being separated from their loved ones. However, through cross-plantation family ties, slaves managed to resist many of the potential threats to family and to marriage viability. Cross-plantation family networks meant that local separations had a lesser impact on slave family and community ties than did long-distance sales. Local sales, gifts, and divisions of estates among heirs did mean, however, that family patterns often were multidimensional, with some family members belonging to the same owner and others belonging to more or less distant neighbors.
see Civil War, U.S.
Very few South Carolina whites saw emancipation as an option. Whites feared that if blacks, the vast majority in most parts of the state, were freed, they would try to "Africanize" their cherished society and culture as they had seen happen after slave revolutions in some areas of the West Indies. Carolinian leaders were divided between devoted Unionists that opposed any sort of secession, and those who believed secession was a state's right. John C. Calhoun noted that the dry and barren West could not support a plantation system and would remain slaveless. Thus, Calhoun proposed that Congress should not exclude slavery from Kansas and other western territories because it was the right of the people of the slave states to take their property to territory owned by the United States.
When Abraham Lincoln was elected President in November 1860, a number of conventions organized around the South to discuss the options. States with strong pro-secession movements such as Alabama and Mississippi sent delegates to the convention where they advised the Carolinians to "take the lead and secede at once." On December 20, 1860, South Carolinians in Charleston voted to secede from the Union. President James Buchanan declared the secession illegal but did not act to stop it.
By the fall of 1860, most upcountry political leaders supported secession, but worries about the political loyalties of the non-slaveowning majority of the upper Piedmont and their apparent lack of enthusiasm for secession persisted. The formation of so-called "Minute Men" companies was crucial in the effort of secessionists to mobilize support for their cause. Minute Men companies also gave secessionists visual evidence of popular support. The article relates the paramilitary mode of organizing used by Minute Men companies and the actions taken by these groups, as well as the membership of the companies. Membership rosters show that slaveowning yeomen, a minority in the upcountry, provided the bulk of the leadership and membership in these organizations.
On February 4, a congress of seven cotton states met in Montgomery, Alabama, and approved a new constitution for the Confederate States of America. Lincoln argued that the United States were "one nation, indivisible," and denied the Southern states' right to secede. South Carolina entered the Confederacy on February 8, 1861 thus ending fewer than six weeks of being an independent State of South Carolina. Virginia politician Roger Pryor told Charleston that the only way to get Old Dominion to join the Confederacy was for South Carolina to instigate war with the United States. The obvious place to start was right in the midst of Charleston Harbor.
On December 26, 1860, Major Robert Anderson, commander of the U.S. troops in Charleston, withdrew his men into the island fortress of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. South Carolina militia swarmed over the abandoned mainland batteries and trained their guns on the island. When the Confederacy (of seven states) formed in February 1861 it could not tolerate the fort of another nation in the center of its #2 harbor. Allowing the U.S. to control its largest harbor meant that the Confederacy was not really independent--which was Lincoln's point when he insisted on keeping Sumter and resupplying it.
About 6,000 men were stationed around the rim of the harbor, ready to take on the 60 men in Fort Sumter. At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, after two days of intense negotiations, and with Union ships just outside the harbor, the firing began. The decision was made by President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet. Edmund Ruffin is usually credited with being given the honor firing the first shot. Thirty-four hours later, Anderson's men raised the white flag and were allowed to leave the fort with colors flying and drums beating, saluting the U.S. flag with a 50-gun salute before taking it down.
Civil War devastates the state
The South was at a disadvantage in number, weaponry, and maritime skills--few southerners were sailors. Federal ships sailed south and blocked off one port after another. As early as November, Union troops occupied the Sea Islands in the Beaufort area, establishing an important base for the men and ships who would obstruct the ports at Charleston and Savannah. When the plantation owners, many of which had already gone off with the Confederate Army elsewhere, fled the area, the Sea Island slaves became the first "freedmen" of the war, and the Sea Islands became the laboratory for Northern plans to educate the African Americans for their eventual role as full American citizens.
Despite South Carolina's important role in the start of the war, and a long unsuccessful attempt to take Charleston from 1863 onward, few military engagements occurred within the state's borders until 1865, when Sherman's Army, having already completed its march to the sea in Savannah, marched to Columbia, then north into North Carolina. There was little resistance to his advance. Sherman's 1865 march through the Carolinas resulted in the burning of Columbia and numerous other towns. Poverty would mark the state for generations to come. South Carolina lost 12,922 men to the war, 23% of its male white population of fighting age, and the highest percentage of any state in the nation.
On February 21, 1865, with the Confederate forces finally evacuated from Charleston, the black 55th Massachusetts Regiment marched through the city. At a ceremony at which the U.S. flag was once again raised over Fort Sumter, former fort commander Robert Anderson was joined on the platform by two men: African American Union hero Robert Smalls and the son of Denmark Vesey.
During the war the Port Royal Experiment was an experiment by abolitionists and the Lincoln administration to provide freed slaves access to cotton plantation land on the Sea Islands of South Carolina that had been captured by the Union Army in November 1861. A dispute among antislavery factions seeking to control the process frustrated freedpeoples' expectations and created considerable animosity among them for their supposed benefactors. The "preemptionists," proposed giving freed blacks an advantage over speculators by recognizing their first right of purchase, because as former slaves many had improved the land in question. The "antipreemptionists," favored a more measured approach to eventual landownership that involved an extended period of wage labor, after which blacks would enter the open market with enough money to purchase land. The middle course advocates, failed to strongly support either approach as they tacitly accepted blacks' status as wage laborers. Presaging developments that would undermine Reconstruction throughout the South, their ambivalence ultimately worked to effectively block land ownership for blacks.
Resigned to defeat, most whites followed war hero Wade Hampton III who advised the state to accept President Andrew Johnson's terms for reentry to full participation in the Union. That meant abolishing slavery, rejecting Confederate nationalism, and repealing secession. However, the state legislature, in 1865, passed "Black Codes" that angered Northerners, who saw an attempt to impose semi-slavery on the Freedmen. The South Carolina black codes have been described:
- "Persons of color contracting for service were to be known as "servants," and those with whom they contracted, as "masters." On farms the hours of labor would be from sunrise to sunset daily, except on Sunday. The negroes were to get out of bed at dawn. Time lost would be deducted from their wages, as would be the cost of food, nursing, etc., during absence from sickness. Absentees on Sunday must return to the plantation by sunset. House servants were to be at call at all hours of the day and night on all days of the week. They must be "especially civil and polite to their masters, their masters' families and guests," and they in return would receive "gentle and kind treatment." Corporal and other punishment was to be administered only upon order of the district judge or other civil magistrate. A vagrant law of some severity was enacted to keep the negroes from roaming the roads and living the lives of beggars and thieves."
After winning control of Congress in the 1866 elections (held only in the North, for the South was excluded from Congress), the Radical Republicans took control of the Reconstruction process in 1867. Though they had long been the majority of the state's population, African Americans for the first time played a prominent role in politics. The Army registered all male voters, a majority of them black, and elections returned a Republican government comprised of a coalition of Freedmen, Carpetbaggers and Scalawags. The new Constitution of 1868 brought democratic reforms. Scalawags supported it, but most whites viewed the Republican government as representative of black interests only and were largely unsupportive. Laws forbidding former Confederates, virtually the entire native white male population, from bearing arms only exacerbated the tensions, especially as rifle-bearing black militia units began drilling in the streets of South Carolina towns.
Rubin (2006) tells the story of the South Carolina scalawags. Along with the "carpetbaggers" and the freedmen (who predominated numerically in the Republican party), the scalawags sought to reshape South Carolina politics to make it more democratic and inclusive. Their efforts in this direction were opposed by most white South Carolinians, who were willing to use any means at their disposal, including assassination, to reimpose white supremacy. Rubin (2006) explores the scalawags' backgrounds, actions, and fates, while telling the familiar story of Reconstruction--white Democrats versus black Republicans--from an unfamiliar perspective, that of white southerners who broke ranks and supported the rights of their black neighbors. Their reasons for doing so varied widely, but most commonly centered on resentment of the old ruling class, the planters who had dominated the state for so long and had led it to ruin in the Civil War.
Republicans succeeded in creating a much more representative and responsive government than any the state had seen before or would see for generations. During its heyday the party began to attract more and wealthier white South Carolinians. Nevertheless, these years also saw disturbing trends toward factionalism and corruption within southern Republican governments, trends in which scalawags took part. These failings led to the abandonment of southern Republicans by the federal government, allowing southern Democrats to overthrow the state government by force. After Reconstruction most scalawags saw continuing political involvement as futile, but some remained as prominent Republicans well into the twentieth century.
Redemption: 1874-76 elections
The Ku Klux Klan raids of the late 1860s terrifying blacks and Carpetbaggers in an attempt to overthrow Republican rule. Most of the state's "better element" showed little tolerance for such violence, especially when undertaken anonymously; President Ulysses S. Grant used the federal courts to shut down the Klan, even to the point of suspending habeas corpus.
Using as a model the "Mississippi plan", which had redeemed that state in 1874, South Carolina Redeemers employed intimidation, persuasion, and control of the blacks. Armed with heavy pistols and rifles they rode on horseback to every Republican meeting, and demanded a chance to speak. The Red Shirts milled among the crowds, and each selecting a black man to watch, privately threatened to shoot him if he raised a disturbance; they organized hundreds of rifle clubs, then obeying proclamations to disband, sometimes reorganized as missionary societies or dancing clubs--with rifles. They set up an ironclad economic boycott against Black activists and Scalawags who refused to vote the Democratic ticket, turning them out of employment and avoiding all contacts with them. They beat down the opposition — but always just within the law. Only a few confrontations drew blood. Wade Hampton made more than forty speeches across the state. Thousands of Black Republicans joined his cause; donning the Red Shirts, they paraded with the whites. Most Scalawags "crossed Jordan," as switching to the Democrats was called.
In 1876, Piedmont towns were the site of numerous demonstrations by the "Red Shirts," white Democrats displaying the red color, determined to win the upcoming elections by any means possible. The Red Shirts turned the tide in South Carolina, convincing whites that this could indeed be the year they regain control. Before the election, Republican Governor Daniel Henry Chamberlain asked Grant for military assistance and Grant sent 1,100 federal troops to keep order and ensure a "fair" election. The Democrats recognized that mobilizing white voters was crucial to regaining political power. To this end, conservatives turned the 1876 gubernatorial campaign between Democrat Wade Hampton and Republican incumbent Daniel H. Chamberlain into an emotional, persuasive, and participatory public ritual. The campaign events -the "Hampton Days" celebrations - helped stimulate a resurgence in pro-Confederate sentiments. These public spectacles drew on the racial and gender obsessions of white Carolina culture. The ritual and rhetoric of the Hampton Days also portrayed the contest between Hampton and Chamberlain as a religious struggle between good and evil. This campaign and other redemption political contests demonstrate that the Lost Cause provided a powerful idiom for constructing a conservative white political order.
On election day 1876, there was trickery and intimidation on all sides, employed by both parties, and the returns were disputed all the way to Washington, where they played a central role in the Compromise of 1877 that put Republican Rutherford B. Hayes in the White House. In Columbia both parties claimed victory, and for a while, two separate state assemblies did business. The Republican State Assembly tossed out results of the tainted election and reelected Chamberlain as governor. A week later, Hampton took the oath of office for the Democrats. Finally in April 1877, President Hayes withdrew federal troops from the state. Immediately, the Republican government dissolved and Chamberlain headed back north, as Wade Hampton and his Redeemers took control.
The whites were back in charge of South Carolina, in the person of General Hampton. Hampton's election marked the establishment of a ninety-nine-year hold on the State House by the Democrats. The Democratic Party, in those years, was the "white" party in South Carolina, and whites successfully kept blacks (who were mostly Republican) away from the ballot boxes. Hampton and other wealthy Confederate officers, called "Bourbons" were the southern branch of the national network of conservative Democrats called Bourbon Democrats. However the poor white farmers of the Upcountry were in no mood to return to the aristocratic leadership that had led them into the Civil War.
Confederate general Edward McCrady, Jr. (1833-1903) was emblematic of conservative white efforts to create new racial and social hierarchies after Reconstruction. He served with distinction during the war, and afterward returned to Charleston where he resumed practicing law with his father. This allowed the family to reclaim the social and economic status they had enjoyed before the war. McCrady, scion of a prominent Charleston family, helped defeat black Republicans during the 1870s. McCrady and other Bourbons recalled the values of the Old South to justify a prominent place for the traditional elite. The election of Wade Hampton as governor in 1876 sparked a resurgence of political conservatism in South Carolina that lasted until the election of "Pitchfork" Benjamin R. Tillman in 1890. Many conservatives, like McCrady, compared the Bourbon's political defeats of the 1890s to the military defeat of 1865.
In the 1880s, a populist movement erupted among poor white farmers, led at first by Greenback Party politician John Augustus Hendrix McLane. McLane campaigned against the Bourbons, proposing major revisions to class-based economic and social systems in the state. Such efforts to advance the cause of equal economic and labor rights for working-class whites and blacks were not only vulnerable to violence and susceptible to demagoguery but were up against a deeply entrenched racial history that remained an integral part of the prevailing social structure. In 1889 the upcountry farmers (led by Ben Tillman) had the votes in the General Assembly to repeal the state's Civil Rights Act of 1870. Repeal was controversial and caused a protracted debate that had been prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Civil Rights Cases (1883). Local custom imposed segregation in local hotels and public places, but the railroads were controlled by Yankees and the cars were integrated. Repeal opened the way for segregation on the trains; despite opposition from the railroads, segregation was imposed on them by law in 1898. 
With the 1890 election of "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, leader of the poor upcountry farmers, the Upcountry finally captured the state government, to the disgust of the Lowcountry gentry. He won his nickname by ridiculing the old elite and promising the jab his sharp pitchfork in the "ribs" of Bourbon President Grover Cleveland. (The exact anatomical target depended on whether ladies were in the audience.) Tillman, after his reelection as governor, in 1892 successfully led the charge for a state constitutional convention to draw up a new constitution that deprived 90% of blacks of their voting rights.
Economic booms and busts
In 1886, Atlanta publisher Henry W. Grady, speaking before a New York audience, proclaimed his vision of a "New South", a South based on the Northern economic model. By now, the idea had already struck some enterprising South Carolinians that the cotton they were shipping north could also be processed in South Carolina. By 1900 the textile industry was exploding across the Upstate because of its water power. In 1902, the Lowcountry hosted the Charleston Expedition, drawing visitors from around the world, with the hope of impressing them on the idea that the state was on the rebound. President Theodore Roosevelt, whose mother had attended school in Columbia, made an appearance, smoothing over the still simmering animosities between the North and the South.
In South Carolina, things continued to improve even after the Tillman era ended with the election of progressive Governor Richard Irvine Manning III in 1914. The expansion of brightleaf tobacco around 1900 from North Carolina brought an agricultural boom, which was broken by the depression, but recovered and lasted until near the end of the 20th century. In 1919, the invasion of the boll weevil destroyed the state's cotton crop which, despite low prices, was still the state's primary crop.
Electrification was critical in modernize the state's cities, towns and farms. Duke Power was a distinctive electric utility for five reasons. First, its founders envisioned a regional supply system, with interconnected hydroelectric and steam facilities, both serving and hoping to develop a relatively backward part of the nation. Second, Duke Power, founded as the Southern Power Company in 1904, linked together a series of hydroelectric plants, mainly along the Catawba River. The Duke family, rich from cigarettes, kept it independent despite the holding company movement of the 1920s. Third, by developing an in-house expertise, Duke Power cultivated what business historians call organizational capabilities. The company could build plants cheaper and better than most other utilities did. Fourth, Duke Power recognized the uses of multipurpose dams, which generated hydroelectricity but also provided flood control, soil and water conservation, and outlets for recreation. Finally, Duke Power has been a technological leader, both in the construction and operation of conventional plants and in its enthusiastic embrace of nuclear power.
Compared to hot spots such as Mississippi and Alabama, desegregation went rather smoothly during the 1950s and 1960s in South Carolina. And yet, as early as 1948, when Strom Thurmond ran for president on the States Rights ticket, South Carolina whites were showing their discontent with the Democrats' post–World War II continuation of the New Deal's federalization of power. The process began in Rock Hill in 1961, when nine black Friendship Junior College students took seats at the whites-only lunch and refused to leave. They refused to pay fines, and by going to jail became national martyrs for the Civil Rights Movement.
Clemson University, a state school, allowed Harvey Gantt into its classes in 1962, making it the first public school in the state to integrate. Gantt's entrance into the school occurred without incident, and won plaudits as the popular Saturday Evening Post magazine praised "Desegregation with Dignity: The Inside Story of How South Carolina Kept the Peace". Twenty years later, Gantt became mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 1964, Barry Goldwater's platform galvanized South Carolina's conservative Democrats and led to major defections into the Republican Party, most notably Senator Thurmond. Unfortunately, the tragic shooting at Orangeburg in 1968 made one great exception to the state's peaceful desegregation. Three students were killed and more than 30 others wounded by police overreacting to the violence of students protesting a segregated bowling alley.
In 1970, when South Carolina celebrated its Tricentennial, more than 80% of its residents had been born in the state. Since then, however, outsiders have discovered South Carolina's golf courses and beaches. The state, particularly the coastal areas but increasingly inland as well, has become more popular as a tourist destination and magnet for new arrivals. Even some descendants of black Carolinians who moved out of the South during the Jim Crow years have moved back. Despite these new arrivals, about 69% of residents are native born.
In the 1970s, South Carolina elected its first Republican governor since Reconstruction. In 1987 and 1991, the state elected and reelected Governor Caroll Campbell, another Republican. Republican David Beasley, a former Democrat who claimed to have undergone a spiritual rebirth that caused him to reconsider his views, ran for governor as a Republican and won. As governor, Beasley surprised everyone and risked the wrath of Southern traditionalists by announcing, in 1996, that as a Christian he could not justify keeping the Confederate flag flying over the State House, knowing that it offended black South Carolinians. Traditionalists were further shocked when Bob Jones III, of Bob Jones University, announced that he held the very same view.
Beasley went into the 1998 elections with such an edge in popularity that the top two Democratic candidates did not even bother to run. Remarkably, Beasley was brought down by the Democrats' third stringer, Lancaster State Assemblyman Jim Hodges. Hodges, a former opponent of legalized gambling, now attacked Beasley's opposition to the creation of a state lottery and to the continued growth of video gaming in the state, which Hodges painted as salvation tax base for public education. Largely funded by gambling interests, particularly upstate gambling magnate Fred Collins, Hodges won the election. 
Despite Hodge's unwillingness to join Beasley in his opposition to the flying of the Confederate battle flag, the NAACP, though at the same time demanding a boycott of the state over that very same issue, announced its support for Hodges. In 1998, 90% of African American Carolinians voted for Hodges, causing the election to swing his way. Governor-elect Hodges announced that he agreed with Beasley's increasingly popular compromise on the Confederate flag issue, supporting the flag's transfer to a Confederate monument on the State House's grounds. Most of the state's major newspapers supported Mark Sanford to replaces Hodges in 2002. The state's mishandling of the Hurricane Floyd evacuation in 1999 had fingers pointing in Hodges' way.
In the lottery's first year it awarded $40 million for "LIFE Scholarships", granted to any South Carolinian with a B average, graduation in the top 30% of the student's high school class, and a 1,100 SAT score. It also awarded $5.8 million for "HOPE Scholarships" which had lower standards. Hodges campaigned for reelection in 2002 against Republican moderate Mark Sanford, former U.S. congressman from Sullivan's Island, and lost.
Textbooks and surveys
- Edgar, Walter. South Carolina: A History, (1998) the standard scholarly history
- Edgar, Watler, ed. The South Carolina Encyclopedia, University of South Carolina Press, 2006, the most comprehensive scholarly guide
- Rogers Jr. George C. and C. James Taylor. A South Carolina Chronology, 1497-1992 2nd Ed. (1994)
- Wallace, David Duncan. South Carolina: A Short History, 1520-1948 (1951) standard scholarly history online edition
- WPA. South Carolina: A Guide to the Palmetto State (1941) famous guide to every part of the state, plus topical histories. online edition
- Wright, Louis B. South Carolina: A Bicentennial History' (1976) online edition
Scholarly studies: to 1860
- Anzilotti, Cara. In the Affairs of the World: Women, Patriarchy, and Power in Colonial South Carolina. Greenwood, 2002. 216 pp.
- Carney, Judith A. Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas. Harvard U. Press., 2001. 232 pp.
- Clarke, Erskine. Our Southern Zion: A History of Calvinism in the South Carolina Low Country, 1690-1990 (1996) online edition
- Channing, Steven. Crisis of Fear: Secession in South Carolina (1970)
- Coit, Margaret L. John C. Calhoun: American Portrait (1950) biography online edition
- Coclanis, Peter A. "Global Perspectives on the Early Economic History of South Carolina." South Carolina Historical Magazine 2005 106(2-3): 130-146. Issn: 0038-3082
- Crane, Verner W. The Southern Frontier, 1670-1732 (1956) online edition
- Davis, William C. Rhett: The Turbulent Life and Times of a Fire-Eater. U. of South Carolina Press, 2001. 702 pp.
- Edgar, Walter. Partisans and Redcoats: The Southern Conflict That Turned the Tide of the American Revolution. 2001. 189 pp.
- Ford Jr., Lacy K. Origins of Southern Radicalism: The South Carolina Upcountry, 1800-1860 (1991) online edition
- Gordon, John W. South Carolina and the American Revolution: A Battlefield History. U. of South Carolina Press, 2003. 238 pp.
- Greene, Jack P.; Brana-Shute, Rosemary; and Sparks, Randy, eds. Money, Trade, and Power: The Evolution of Colonial South Carolina's Plantation Society. U. of South Carolina Press, 2001. 400 pp.
- Johnson Jr., George Lloyd. The Frontier in the Colonial South: South Carolina Backcountry, 1736-1800 (1997) online edition
- Little, Thomas J. "The Origins of Southern Evangelicalism: Revivalism in South Carolina, 1700-1740." Church History 2006 75(4): 768-808. Issn: 0009-6407 Fulltext: in Ebsco
- Littlefield, Daniel C. "The Slave Trade to Colonial South Carolina: a Profile." South Carolina Historical Magazine 2000 101(2): 110-141.
- Mercantini, Jonathan. Who Shall Rule at Home? The Evolution of South Carolina Political Culture, 1748-1776, (University of South Carolina Press; 2007); 314 pp.
- Oatis, Steven J. A Colonial Complex: South Carolina's Frontiers in the Era of the Yamasee War, 1680-1730. U. of Nebraska Press, 2004. 399 pp.
- Rogers, George C. Evolution of a Federalist: William Loughton Smith of Charleston (1758-1812) (1962) online edition
- Roper, L. H. Conceiving Carolina: Proprietors, Planters, and Plots, 1662-1729 (2004)
- Ruymbeke, Bertrand Van. From New Babylon to Eden: The Huguenots and Their Migration to Colonial South Carolina. U. of South Carolina Press, 2006. 396 pp. online review
- Schultz Harold S. Nationalism and Sectionalism in South Carolina, 1852-1860 (1950) [online edition
- Sinha, Manisha. The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina (2000) online edition
- Smith, Warren B. White Servitude in Colonial South Carolina (1961)online edition
- West, Stephen A. "Minute Men, Yeomen, and the Mobilization for Secession in the South Carolina Upcountry." Journal of Southern History 2005 71(1): 75-104. Issn: 0022-4642 Fulltext: in Ebsco
- Wood, Peter H. Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 Through the Stono Rebellion (1996)
- Young, Jeffrey Robert. Domesticating Slavery: The Master Class in Georgia and South Carolina, 1670-1837 (1999)
Scholarly studies: since 1861
- Ackerman, Robert K. Wade Hampton III, (University of South Carolina Press; 2007) 341pp
- Bass, Jack and Thompson, Marilyn W. Strom: The Complicated Personal and Political Life of Strom Thurmond. Public Affairs Press, 2005. 415 pp.
- Billingsley, Andrew. Yearning to Breathe Free: Robert Smalls of South Carolina and His Families, (University of South Carolina Press; 2007) 253pp.
- Carlton, David L. Mill and Town in South Carolina, 1880-1920 (1982)
- Cisco, Walter Brian. Wade Hampton: Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman. Brassey's, 2004. 401 pp. online review
- Clarke, Erskine. Our Southern Zion: A History of Calvinism in the South Carolina Low Country, 1690-1990 (1996) online edition
- Cooper Jr., William J. The Conservative Regime: South Carolina, 1877-1890 (1968).
- Durden, Robert F. Electrifying the Piedmont Carolinas: The Duke Power Company, 1904-1997. Carolina Academic Press, 2001. 298 pp.
- Ford, Lacy K. "Rednecks and Merchants: Economic Development and Social Tensions in the South Carolina Upcountry, 1865-1900," Journal of American History, 71 (September 1984), 294-318; in JSTOR
- Holden, Charles J. In The Great Maelstrom: Conservatives in Post-Civil War South Carolina. U. of South Carolina Press, 2002. 164 pp.
- Johnson, Joan Marie. Southern Ladies, New Women: Race, Region, and Clubwomen in South Carolina, 1890-1930. U. Press of Florida, 2004. 282 pp.
- Kantrowitz, Stephen. Ben Tillman & the Reconstruction of White Supremacy (2002)
- Kantrowitz, Stephen. "Ben Tillman and Hendrix McLane, Agrarian Rebels: White Manhood, 'The Farmers,' and the Limits of Southern Populism." Journal of Southern History. Vol: 66#3 (2000) pp. 497+. in JSTOR online edition
- Keyserling, Harriet. Against the Tide: One Woman's Political Struggle. University of South Carolina Press, 1998.
- Moore, John Hammond. Carnival of Blood: Dueling, Lynching, and Murder in South Carolina, 1880-1920. U. of South Carolina Press, 2006. 250 pp.
- Morrill, Dan L. The Civil War in the Carolinas. Nautical & Aviation, 2002. 526 pp.
- Oldfield, John. "State Politics, Railroads, and Civil Rights in South Carolina, 1883-89." American Nineteenth Century History 2004 5(2): 71-91. Issn: 1466-4658 Fulltext: in Ebsco
- Peirce, Neal R. The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States; (1974)] solid reporting on politics and economics 1960-72 online edition
- Poole, W. Scott. South Carolina's Civil War: A Narrative History. Mercer U. Press, 2005. 187 pp.
- Rubin, Hyman S. The South Carolina Scalawags (2006)
- Simon, Bryant. A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948 (1998) online edition
- Simkins, Francis Butler. The Tillman Movement in South Carolina (1926) online edition
- Simkins, Francis Butler. Pitchfork Ben Tillman: South Carolinian (1944)
- Simkins, Francis Butler, and Robert Hilliard Woody. South Carolina during Reconstruction (1932). a highly detailed standard history
- Simon, Bryant. A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948 (1998),
- Slap, Andrew; "The Spirit of '76: The Reconstruction of History in the Redemption of South Carolina" in The Historian. Volume: 63. Issue: 4. 2001. pp 769+ online in JSTOR on 1876
- Stone, Richard Phillip, II. '"Making a Modern State: The Politics of Economic Development in South Carolina, 1938-1962." PhD dissertation U. of South Carolina 2003. 531 pp. DAI 2004 64(12): 4598-A. DA3115140 Fulltext: at ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
- Tindall, George Brown. South Carolina Negroes, 1877-1900. University of S.C. Press, 1952; reissued 2003 with a new introduction by the author.
- Tullos, Allen Habits of Industry: White Culture and the Transformation of the Carolina Piedmont (1989) online edition
- Williamson Joel R. After Slavery: The Negro in South Carolina during Reconstruction, 1861-1877 (1965)
- Zucek, Richard, State of Rebellion: Reconstruction in South Carolina U of South Carolina Press, 1996
see also Charleston, South Carolina for more books
- Bass, Jack and Jack Nelson.The Orangeburg Massacre,. Mercer University Press, 1992.
- Burton, Orville Vernon. In My Father's House Are Many Mansions: Family and Community in Edgefield, South Carolina (1985), new social history online edition
- Carlton, David L. Mill and Town in South Carolina, 1880-1920 (1982), social history
- Doyle, Don H. New Men, New Cities, New South: Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston, Mobile, 1860-1910 (1990) online edition
- Fraser, Walter J., Jr. Charleston! Charleston! The History of a Southern City. U. of South Carolina, 1990. 542 pp. the standard scholarly history
- Huff, Jr., Archie Vernon. Greenville: The History of the City and County in the South Carolina Piedmont (1995)
- Moore, John Hammond. Columbia and Richland County: A South Carolina Community, 1740-1990 (1993)
- Rose, Willie Lee. Rehearsal for Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment (1964), Union gave freed slaves land during Civil War
- Pike, James Shepherd, The Prostrate State: South Carolina Under Negro Government(New York, 1874). hostile report on Reconstruction full text online at Making of America, University of Michigan
- Salley, Alexander S. ed. Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650-1708 (1911) online edition
- Walker, Melissa, ed. Country Women Cope with Hard Times: A Collection of Oral Histories. U. of South Carolina Press, 2004. 240 pp.
- Woodmason Charles. The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution Edited by Richard J. Hooker. (1953), a missionary reports
- Colcanis (2005)
- see Christopher C. Boyle, "Rise of the Georgetown Rice Culture" at 
- See 
- Littlefield (2000)
- Theodore Rosengarten and Dale Rosengarten, , eds. A Portion of the People: Three Hundred Years of Southern Jewish Life. U. of South Carolina Press, 2002; and see History of Jews in South Carolina
- David Keithly, "Poor, Nasty and Brutish: Guerrilla Operations in America's First Civil War." Civil Wars 2001 4(3): 35-69. Issn: 1369-8249 Fulltext: in Ebsco
- Emily West, "The Debate on the Strength of Slave Families: South Carolina and the Importance of Cross-plantation Marriages." Journal of American Studies 1999 33(2): 221-241. Issn: 0021-8758 Fulltext: online from Cambridge Journals; West, "Surviving Separation: Cross-plantation Marriages and the Slave Trade in Antebellum South Carolina." Journal of Family History 1999 24(2): 212-231. Issn: 0363-1990 Fulltext: in Ebsco.
- West (2005)
- During this salute, one of the guns exploded, killing a young soldier—the only casualty of the bombardment and the first casualty of the war.
- Akiko Ochiai, "The Port Royal Experiment Revisited: Northern Visions of Reconstruction and the Land Question." New England Quarterly 2001 74(1): 94-117. Issn: 0028-4866 Fulltext: at Jstor
- Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer, A History of the United States since the Civil War (1917) 1:128–129
- Simkins and Woody (1932); Zucek (1996)
- Rubin (2006)
- W. Scott Poole, "Religion, Gender, and the Lost Cause in South Carolina's 1876 Governor's Race: 'Hampton or Hell!'" Journal of Southern History 2002 68(3): 573-598. Issn: 0022-4642
- The next Republican governor of South Carolina was James Burrows Edwards in 1975.
- Charles J. Holden, "'The Public Business Is Ours': Edward McCrady, Jr. and Conservative Thought in Post-civil War South Carolina, 1865-1900." South Carolina Historical Magazine 1999 100(2): 124-142.
- Kantrowitz, (2000)
- Oldfield, 2004
- Durden (2001)