South Carolina, state in the southeastern United States, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. In colonial days, the state was part of a vast region that Charles I, king of England, granted to Sir Robert Heath in 1629. The region was named Carolana, a word derived from the Latin form of Charles, in reference to the monarch. His son, Charles II, changed the spelling of the region’s name to Carolina in 1663. During the 17th century the area now covered by the present state came to be called South Carolina and the area to the north became North Carolina. The two sections remained a single colony until the British divided it into two in 1729. Nevertheless, the two areas have continued to be referred to as the Carolinas. On May 23, 1788, South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the Constitution of the United States.
South Carolina remained primarily an agricultural state until the early decades of the 20th century, when manufacturing, particularly the textile industry, developed as the leading economic activity. Nevertheless, agriculture continued to rank as an important activity. The state’s farm output, especially its production of cotton, still provides raw materials for many of its manufacturing activities. While the production of textiles remains important to the economy, manufacturing has become more diversified since the 1960s. The modern shift in emphasis from agriculture to industry has been paralleled by a shift in population from rural to urban areas. Columbia is South Carolina’s capital and largest city.
The state’s most popular, although unofficial, nickname is the Palmetto State. The palmetto, which grows abundantly in coastal areas, is the state tree and appears on the state seal and the state flag.
South Carolina ranks 40th in size among the states, with an area of 82,931 sq km (32,020 sq mi), including 2,611 sq km (1,008 sq mi) of inland water and 186 sq km (72 sq mi) of coastal waters over which it has jurisdiction. The maximum distance, from east to west, is 439 km (273 mi) and its maximum extent north to south is 352 km (219 mi). The state’s mean elevation is 110 m (350 ft).
South Carolina includes portions of three major natural regions, or physiographic provinces, of the eastern United States: the Atlantic portion of the Coastal Plain, the Piedmont (see Piedmont Plateau), and the Blue Ridge provinces.
The Coastal Plain in South Carolina is usually divided into the Inner and Outer plains. The Inner Coastal Plain, inland from the coast, is a region of rolling topography. The Outer Coastal Plain, along the coast, is flat and broken by many rivers and streams. The Outer Coastal Plain is often referred to as the low country, and the Piedmont and the Blue Ridge provinces are known together as the upcountry. The Fall Line separates the Coastal Plain from the Piedmont. On or near this line, rapids occur in all the major rivers as they pass from the harder metamorphic rock of the upland region to the more easily eroded clays and shales of the Coastal Plain.
The Atlantic Coastal Plain occupies about two-thirds of the state. Included within the region are the Sea Islands, a chain of small and often marshy islands that lie along the coast. Near the coast, the land is flat and often swampy, and the soils are generally sandy and infertile. Except for an important truck-crop growing region south of Charleston, little farming is practiced, and forests of longleaf pines cover large areas. Farther inland, the land has better natural drainage and rises gently to 150 m (500 ft) in the rolling Red Hills and Sandhills (or Sand Hills). The soils of the Inner Plain before rising into the Sandhills are more fertile than along the coast, and much cotton and soybeans are grown.
The Piedmont is an upland area that rises gradually northwestward from 120 m (400 ft) above sea level near the Fall Line to 370 m (1,200 ft) along the northwestern edge. The Lower Piedmont formerly was an important cotton-growing area, but most crop production has ceased and the region is now typified by forests and pasture. The Upper Piedmont contains a belt of many manufacturing establishments.
The Blue Ridge province, in northwestern South Carolina, occupies less than 2 percent of the state’s total area. It is a mountainous and mainly forested region. Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in the state, rises 1,085 m (3,560 ft) above sea level in this region.
|B||Rivers and Lakes|
All the major rivers in South Carolina flow generally southeastward across the state to the Atlantic Ocean. The three principal rivers are the Santee, Great Pee Dee, and Savannah rivers. The Santee River, 230 km (143 mi) long, is the longest river entirely within the state. It is formed by the junction of two headstreams, the Wateree River (known in its upper reaches as the Catawba River) and the Congaree River, which, in turn, is formed by the junction of the Broad and Saluda rivers. The Great Pee Dee River, which rises as the Yadkin River in North Carolina, flows through eastern South Carolina to the ocean. Its principal tributaries include the Lynches and Little Pee Dee rivers. The Savannah River, which is formed by the junction of the Seneca and Tugaloo rivers in northwestern South Carolina, together with two of its tributaries, the Tugaloo and Chattooga rivers, forms most of the South Carolina-Georgia state line.
There are no large natural lakes in South Carolina, but a number of large lakes have been created behind power dams on the major rivers.
South Carolina’s coastline extends for 301 km (187 mi). However, if all bays, inlets, and islands are considered, the coastline measures 4,628 km (2,876 mi). The coastline in the northeast, along the Grand Strand, has few indentations or offshore islands. South of Winyah Bay, it is indented by numerous bays and fringed by the Sea Islands.
South Carolina’s climate is characterized by hot summers and mild winters. Precipitation is abundant and fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The subtropical climate found in most of the state arises from the combination of the state’s relatively low latitude, its generally low elevation, the proximity of the warm Gulf Stream in the Atlantic, and the Appalachian Mountains, which in winter help to screen out cold air from the interior of the continent.
Average January temperatures range from less than 4° C (40° F) in the extreme northwestern part of the state to more than 10° C (50° F) in the southern coastal areas. The average temperature range in centrally located Columbia is 0° to 13° C (32° to 55° F) in January. Brief spells of cold weather, with temperatures of -7º C (20° F) or lower, occur each winter. July temperatures average 27° C (80° F) in most of the state, with temperatures in the lower 20°s C (lower 70°s F) in the mountains. Except in the mountains, summer daytime highs throughout South Carolina often enter the lower 30°s C (lower 90°s F). The temperature in July in Columbia ranges from 21° to 33° C (70° to 92° F).
Central South Carolina has an average annual precipitation (both rainfall and snowfall) of 1,140 mm (45 in). Greater amounts fall along the seaboard, which regularly receives more than 1,220 mm (48 in) a year, and in the mountains of the northwest, where more than 1,780 mm (70 in) can be expected. Nearly all precipitation falls as rain, and more than half is received during the spring and summer months. Snow usually occurs only in the mountains and upper Piedmont.
The growing season, or period between the last killing frost in spring and the first killing frost in fall, ranges from about 190 days in the mountains to more than 290 days in the southern coastal area. In the central part of the state, from 210 to 230 days of the year are without frost. Along the coast, the last killing frost in spring generally occurs near the end of February, but in the mountains, frost occurs usually during the last weeks of April. The first killing frost in fall generally occurs at the end of October in the mountains, and in early December along the coast.
Red and yellow podzolic soils, or Ultisols, cover the inner, or northwestern, edge of the Atlantic Coastal Plain and most sections of the Piedmont. These soils are generally easy to farm, but they require heavy applications of fertilizer to maintain their productivity. Less fertile than other soils of this type are those found in the Sandhills.
Young, poorly developed soils, called Inceptisols, cover the Blue Ridge region. These soils can be fertile but vary in their suitability for agriculture. However, the land is generally too steep for cultivation, and so it is used mainly for pasture or is left as forest.
The poorly drained section of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, along the coast, has mainly light-colored and generally infertile sandy soils. However, there are also extensive areas of peat, bog, marsh, and other ill-drained soils, which are productive when drained.
Nearly all of South Carolina was covered with forests through the late 17th century, and today 65 percent of the state’s total land area is forested. Both hardwoods and softwoods occur, but pines dominate where mixed hardwoods prevailed in earlier times. More than 90 percent of all forest land is in privately owned units, ranging in size from small farm woodlots to vast tracts of woodland.
Southern conifers, especially loblolly pine and longleaf pine, predominate in the forests of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. There are also extensive tracts of second growth oak and hickory. Bald cypress, pond cypress, and pond pine are conspicuous in swampy areas of the coastal plain. In the poorly drained areas along some of the rivers of the Atlantic Coastal Plain are found hardwood species of cottonwood, magnolia, elm, sycamore, gum, and oak. A distinctive feature of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, whose origin remains unknown, is the Carolina bays, elliptically shaped depressions whose axes run generally northwest-southeast. Their swampy interiors are characterized by magnolia, red bay, cypress, and tupelo trees. The cabbage palmetto, which is the state tree, and the live oak, which is characteristically draped in a gray-green mantle of Spanish moss, occur along the coast.
In the Piedmont region, southern conifers are also the dominant species. The shortleaf pine is the principal native tree, although the loblolly pine is the dominant species because of intentional planting and its growth on former agricultural lands. There are also several varieties of maple, as well as oak, hickory, elm, and ash in mixed pine and hardwood forests, although considerable stands of loblolly pine have been planted by foresters across the Piedmont. In the Blue Ridge region, oaks and hickories predominate, but there are also stands of white pine, Virginia pine, and hemlock.
Wildflowers and flowering shrubs grow in abundance during spring, summer, and fall. The yellow jessamine, the state flower, is a common flowering vine that grows profusely throughout the state, as does the flowering dogwood. In the mountain regions are found the mountain laurel, also known as kalmia, and varieties of rhododendron.
White-tailed deer are still plentiful in the Piedmont and coastal areas, but the wolves, bison, cougars, elk (wapiti), and other once common large animals have long since disappeared. Rarely seen black bear and the more plentiful bobcat are known to inhabit remote forested and swampy areas. Smaller animals native to the state include opossums, raccoons, otter, skunks, beavers, muskrat, shrews, rats, mice, moles, bats, weasels, mink, and woodchucks. Red foxes, gray foxes, Southern fox squirrels, gray squirrels, flying squirrels, and cottontails are also common.
A great variety of birds have been observed in South Carolina. Many are permanent residents of the state, but a great number are seasonal or migratory visitors from both Arctic and tropical lands. The Atlantic flyway, a great north-south route used by migratory birds follows the South Carolina coast. Among the common shore birds and waterfowl are many species of ducks, geese, terns, and gulls. Game birds include the wild turkey, bobwhite, mourning dove, and woodcock. Hawks, owls, and bald eagles, which are making a comeback, constitute the principal birds of prey in the state. Other birds include the Carolina wren, which is the state bird, the Northern mockingbird, Baltimore oriole, and catbird, as well as species of warbler, sparrow, vireo, swallow, and thrush. The red-cockaded woodpecker, found in old-growth pine forests, remains on the state’s endangered species list, while the pelican, found along the coast, has been removed because of its recovery in numbers.
Turtles and lizards abound in the state’s swampy lowlands, and salamanders, frogs, toads, and other amphibians are also numerous. In addition, more than 40 species of snakes occur in the state. Only six of these are poisonous: the copperhead, the cottonmouth, the coral snake, and the pygmy, timber, and diamondback rattlesnakes.
Fish are plentiful in the state’s coastal waters. Of commercial importance are the shad, menhaden, flounder, black sea bass, sea trout, channel bass, and king whiting. Popular game fish include the tarpon, sailfish, and barracuda. Common freshwater fishes include the crappie, pickerel, catfish, bream, largemouth bass, striped bass, and trout.
A number of programs have been undertaken for the conservation and improvement of South Carolina’s soils, forests, and wildlife resources. Conservation efforts, including the protection of critical land areas, are carried on by a number of federal agencies, state agencies such as the Heritage Trust program of the Department of Natural Resources, and private organizations such as the South Carolina Nature Conservancy.
Severe soil erosion in the past ruined large sections of formerly productive farmland in the upland regions of the Piedmont, and considerably reduced the productivity of many other areas of the state. The principal soil conservation effort is directed toward covering the badly eroded lands with pasture grasses or trees to prevent further soil removal. Contour plowing, strip cropping, terracing, crop rotation, no-till farming, and other soil-conserving measures are also actively encouraged. Reforestation, supervised cutting and replanting, and fire protection are practiced to provide adequate timber supplies in the present and future. A state department of health and environmental control was established in 1970 to combat water, air, and solid waste pollution.
In 2006 the state had 26 hazardous waste sites on a national priority list of sites for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. Between 1995 and 2000, the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment decreased by 2 percent. Most other states recorded a greater reduction.
South Carolina’s economy was predominantly dependent on agriculture until well into the 20th century. When industrialization did come to the state, it consisted largely of low-wage manufacturing firms. Thus, the average manufacturing wage in the state is among the lowest in the United States. The leading contributors to South Carolina’s gross product are the manufacture of nondurable goods, the services, government services, financial services, and trade. U.S. military facilities, such as Fort Jackson, at Columbia, the Marine Corps facilities at Parris Island and Beaufort, and air force bases at Sumter and Charleston, also are important to regional economies.
South Carolina had a work force of 2,126,000 in 2006. The largest share of the workers, 33 percent, held jobs in service industries such as restaurants or data processing centers. Another 19 percent worked in wholesale or retail trade; 13 percent in manufacturing; 17 percent in federal, state, or local government, including those serving in the military; 7 percent in construction; 17 percent in finance, insurance, or real estate; 19 percent in transportation or public utilities; 2 percent in farming (including agricultural services), forestry, or fishing; and less than 1 percent in mining. Only 2.3 percent of South Carolina’s workers are unionized; in the 1990s the state had the lowest unionization rate in the country.
In 2005 there were 24,300 farms in South Carolina. Of those, 25 percent had annual sales of more than $10,000. Less than one-half of farm operators identified farming as their principal occupation, and farming was a sideline for many operators who held other jobs. Farmland occupied 2 million hectares (4.8 million acres), of which 47 percent was cropland.
Tobacco is the leading source of income from crops and in the late 1990s accounted for one-fourth of cash receipts from crops each year. Tobacco is grown primarily in the Pee Dee River counties in the eastern part of the state, having been introduced there in the last decades of the 19th century, but is found in other parts of the Atlantic Coastal Plain as well.
Other major crops are greenhouse and nursery products, cotton, soybeans, peaches, hay, wheat, and corn. Soybeans, planted in a larger area than any other crop, are used in crop rotation because of their soil-building qualities; they are also important because of their strong market value, due to their use as animal feed and for making soybean oil. More peaches are produced in South Carolina than in any other state except California and Georgia. Cotton is a crop that has been making a strong comeback since the early 1980s, although the area used to raise cotton is a fraction of what it was in the mid-1940s. Nevertheless, cotton fiber (lint) and cottonseed once again are valuable sources of farm income. While cotton raising is limited primarily to the Inner Coastal Plain, corn and wheat are generally grown throughout the state. Other field crops include peanuts, rye, and grain sorghum. Other leading vegetable crops include tomatoes, cucumbers, snap beans, and sweet potatoes. Watermelons and apples are also grown commercially. Forest products are another important source of farm income.
|A2||Livestock and Livestock Products|
Poultry products, including broiler chickens, eggs, and turkeys, are the leading source of livestock income, providing nearly two-fifths of total agricultural sales in 1997. Cattle and calves, hogs, and dairy products are also important. Cattle and hogs are raised in large numbers throughout the Piedmont and the Atlantic Coastal Plain.
|A3||Patterns of Farming|
Cash-crop farming is the principal type of farm economy in South Carolina. This system, which emphasizes the production of crops for cash sale rather than general farming and livestock production, evolved from the state’s oldtime cotton-plantation economy. Cotton, which is one of the state’s main cash crops, is grown widely in the Inner Coastal Plain, but most farmers protect themselves against low cotton prices or failure of this crop by growing soybeans, corn, and other crops for sale. In sections of the Piedmont, many former cotton fields are now pasturelands used for grazing, or have been planted into forests.
Most farmers in South Carolina own their own land, and the former institutions of tenancy and sharecropping have virtually disappeared. These farming practices developed at the end of the American Civil War (1861-1865), when many of the black freedmen in South Carolina and the rest of the South found themselves landless and without means of support and many former slaveowning landlords were without farmhands to raise and cultivate the cotton. However, the number of tenant farmers and sharecroppers decreased greatly as social and economic conditions improved in the last half of the 20th century. A new type of tenancy, the part-owner, has become an increasingly common aspect of the farming landscape. Prompted by mechanization and the desire to bring additional land into cultivation, a farmer leases unused land from others to create a larger and more cost-effective farming unit. Frequently, these additional lands are at some distance from each other, creating fragmented farms.
Shellfish such as shrimp, crab, oysters, and clams make up the most important component of South Carolina’s ocean catch. Some freshwater finfish, including eel and catfish, are also sold commercially. In 2004 South Carolina’s fish catch was valued at $18.5 million.
Nearly all of the forest in South Carolina is commercially productive. Forests cover 65 percent of the state. Softwood trees, especially the shortleaf, longleaf, slash, and loblolly pines, are the principal commercial trees. They are used mainly for lumber and for making wood pulp and paper. Hardwoods such as oak, walnut, and maple, which comprise a much smaller area, are cut for use in the furniture industry.
South Carolina has no major deposits of mineral fuels such as coal, natural gas, or petroleum. However, a variety of other minerals are produced. Cement, crushed stone, and gold are the state’s leading mineral products. Clays and sand and gravel are among the other materials extracted. South Carolina generally ranks highly among the states in the production of kaolin, a type of white clay used in making pottery and paper. South Carolina also is the nation’s leading producer of vermiculite, which is used for insulation and as a medium for planting. The state is the only gold producer east of the Mississippi River. Other minerals produced include peat, mica, silver, manganese, granite, and gemstones.
The manufacture of chemical goods produced more revenue in South Carolina in the late 1990s than did the state’s traditionally strong textiles output. Chemical production includes a variety of synthetic fibers, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural fertilizers. The chief centers of the chemical industry are Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, Camden, and Rock Hill.
Textile manufacture is one of the leading industries in the state. In 1996 the manufacture of textiles and apparel accounted for one-fifth of all the personal income earned from industry. The textile industry in South Carolina suffered a period of decline in the 1980s, as it did in most of the nation, and total textile employment fell by more than one-quarter. But by the mid-1990s employment began to stabilize, although some mills continued to close. Cotton goods are most important, but some carpets, yarn, and knitted goods are produced, and output of synthetic fabrics has grown. The chief textile centers are Anderson, Columbia, Gaffney, Greenville, Greenwood, Lancaster, Rock Hill, and Spartanburg.
Other leading employers in the late 1990s were firms engaged in the manufacture of industrial machinery, including automated devices for textile manufacture; plastic and rubber products; paper and paperboard; electronics and electrical equipment; motor vehicle parts and accessories; and lumber.
Nuclear power plants generate 52 percent of the electricity produced in South Carolina. The state has 7 nuclear plants, of which three are at Seneca, two at Catawba, and one each at Hartsville and Jenkinsville. Another 45 percent of the state’s electricity comes from steam plants fueled primarily by coal. Hydroelectricity makes up the small remainder of electricity produced in the state.
Tourism has become South Carolina’s second most important industry, and visitors to the state spent $7.5 billion for food, travel services, recreation, and lodging in 2002. Two-thirds of the tourists focused their visits on the coast. Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Hilton Head Island are the leading destinations, but popular low-density resorts are also found at Kiawah, Seabrook, and Fripp islands.
Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, and Spartanburg are the chief transportation centers in South Carolina. The state is served by a network of federal and state highways totaling 106,600 km (66,238 mi), including 1,357 km (843 mi) of the national interstate highway system.
Water transportation, which was the chief means of transportation in colonial South Carolina, is now relatively unimportant. The Savannah River is the only navigable river now extensively used for river traffic, and many of the early-19th-century canals have long been abandoned. However, barges, pleasure craft, and other coastal vessels are numerous on the Atlantic portion of the Intracoastal Waterway, which extends along the coast.
Railroad construction dates from 1830, but most of the state’s early railroad lines were heavily damaged during the Civil War. In 2004 there were 3,701 km (2,300 mi) of railroad track. Some 14 percent of the tonnage of goods hauled on the rail system is lumber and another 14 percent is pulp and paper. Nonmetallic minerals accounted for 8 percent of freight originating in the state, and chemicals represented another 16 percent. Container traffic through the Port of Charleston has become increasingly important, and railroads haul about one-quarter of the containers shipped through the port.
In 2007 the state had 8 airfields, most of which were private. The principal airports were at Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville-Spartanburg, although they ranked near the bottom of the nation’s busiest airfields, overshadowed by major airline hubs in Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
The principal centers of wholesale and retail trade are Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, and Spartanburg. Charleston is South Carolina’s chief seaport, handling both foreign and domestic freight traffic. The state ports authority also has terminals at Port Royal and Georgetown for maritime trade.
|IV||THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH CAROLINA|
According to the 2000 national census, South Carolina ranked 26th among the states, with a total population of 4,012,012. This figure represented an increase of 15.1 percent over the 1990 population.
South Carolina was primarily rural longer than most other states, but by 2000 some 60 percent of the population lived in urban centers. Urbanization was very rapid in the later portion of the 20th century. As a result, by 1990, five southern states and six northern states were more rural than South Carolina, as against only six states nationally in 1970. Much of the urban increase occurred in the suburbs of Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, and other large cities. The average population density for the state as a whole was 55 persons per sq km (144 per sq mi) in 2006.
In 2000 whites constituted 67.2 percent of the population and blacks 29.5 percent. Asians were 0.9 percent of inhabitants; Native Americans, many of whom were members of the Catawba people, were 0.3 percent, and those of mixed heritage or not reporting race were 2 percent. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders numbered 1,628. Hispanics, who may be of any race, were 2.4 percent of the population.
Between 1820 and 1920 blacks outnumbered whites in South Carolina. After 1920 the state’s white population grew more rapidly than the black population because many blacks migrated to the North. Blacks are still a majority in parts of rural South Carolina, although many blacks have moved to urban areas.
The largest city in South Carolina is Columbia, with a population (2006) of 119,961. It serves as the state capital and is a leading commercial, industrial, and transportation center. Columbia is the central city of the Columbia metropolitan area, which is coextensive with Lexington and Richland counties and had a total population of 703,800 in 2006. Charleston, with a 2006 population of 107,845, is the state’s second largest city, its principal port, and one of its major industrial centers. The Charleston-North Charleston metropolitan area comprises Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties. In 2006 it had a population of 603,200. Greenville, with a population of 57,428 in 2006, is one of the state’s large industrial centers. Spartanburg, a textile-manufacturing and railroad center, had a population of 38,561. Greenville and Spartanburg are the centers of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson metropolitan area. The area, which comprises Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Pickens, and Spartanburg counties, had the largest metropolitan population in the state in 2006 with 602,000 inhabitants.
Other major cities with their 2006 populations include Sumter (39,159), a furniture and woodworking center; Rock Hill (61,620), a center of the textile industry; Florence (31,284), which is primarily a trade center and railroad transfer point; Anderson (26,242), which produces textiles, fiberglass yarn, and sewing machines; and Greenwood (22,407), a textile-manufacturing center.
By far the largest number of church members in South Carolina belongs to Baptist denominations, representing nearly one-half of all church members. Other Protestant denominations represented in the state are the Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Pentecostals. There are also a number of Roman Catholic, Unitarian, and Jewish congregations, as well as many small evangelical and fundamentalist groups. The national headquarters of the Reformed Methodist Union Episcopal Church is in Charleston.
|V||EDUCATION AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS|
Until the late 19th century, well-to-do South Carolinians generally hired tutors to instruct their children or sent them to private academies. Still wealthier residents often sent their children abroad to be educated. During the same period, ministers, missionaries, and traveling schoolmasters played major roles in the spread of education among the less privileged classes, especially in rural areas. In 1710 and 1712 the colonial assembly passed laws providing for the education of a few needy pupils at public expense. Educational aid for the poor was also provided by a number of charitable groups. South Carolina’s first school for blacks was opened in 1740. Laws providing for an extensive program of public education were passed in 1811, but the schools that were subsequently established received inadequate support and were attended only by the needy. Attempts at public education ceased during the Civil War.
In 1868 the constitution drawn up by the state’s Reconstruction government provided for an excellent educational system. Little was done to put the system into effect until 1876. The constitution of 1895 provided more generous financial support but also legalized separate education for whites and blacks, a system already practiced. Thereafter schools gradually improved, but the bulk of the funds were spent on the white schools. Advances made in the 20th century include direct state financing and supervision of local schools; consolidation of rural school districts; and programs to abolish illiteracy and educate adults. Compulsory school attendance was first introduced in 1937. It was abolished in 1955 to avert the prospect of racial integration in the schools but was reinstituted in 1967. Despite the 1954 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional, and even though the Summerton School District (now known as the Clarendon County School District) was one of the systems incorporated into the Supreme Court decision, South Carolina did not begin to desegregate its schools until 1963.
School attendance is compulsory for children aged 5 to 17, although parents may waive attendance of all-day kindergarten for 5 year olds. Of the state’s children, 8 percent attend private schools. In the 2002–2003 school year South Carolina spent $8,577 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,299. There were 15.3 students for every teacher (the national average was 15.9 students per teacher). Of those older than 25 years of age in the state in 2006, 81.3 percent had a high school diploma, while the country as a whole averaged 84.1 percent.
The first college established in South Carolina was the College of Charleston, which began offering instruction at the college level in 1790 and is now the state’s oldest institution of higher education. The state-supported University of South Carolina, chartered in Columbia in 1801 as South Carolina College, was one of the first state colleges or universities founded in the United States.
In 2004–2005 South Carolina had 33 public and 30 private institutions of higher education, including two-year colleges and a 16-campus system of state-supported technical education centers primarily developed to prepare students for jobs in new and expanding industries. Leading schools included Columbia College, Allen University, and Benedict College, all in Columbia; Converse College and Wofford College, in Spartanburg; The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, and the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston; Furman University and Bob Jones University, in Greenville; Clemson University, in Clemson; Limestone College, in Gaffney; South Carolina State University, in Orangeburg; and Winthrop University, in Rock Hill.
In colonial days the South Carolina assembly became the first known in America to grant governmental aid to libraries. In South Carolina, also, is the first U.S. college building devoted exclusively to use as a library, the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina. The Charleston Library Society, founded in 1748 and still in operation, is one of the oldest municipal libraries in the country. There are 41 public library systems in the state, with an annual circulation that averages 4.6 books for every resident, a rate among the lowest of the states. Among the larger academic libraries are those at the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, College of Charleston, Furman University, and Winthrop College. The state archives are housed by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History in Columbia, and the state library is the depository for all state government publications.
Museums noted for fine arts collections include the Gibbes Museum of Art of the Carolina Art Association, in Charleston; the Columbia Museum of Art, in Columbia; the Florence Museum of Art, Science and History, in Florence; and the Greenville County Museum of Art, in Greenville. The South Carolina State Museum in Columbia has a collection of works by South Carolina artists but also includes extensive exhibits on science and history. The Charleston Museum houses a fine collection of South Carolina memorabilia. Other historical materials are housed in the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Museum in Columbia, Clemson University’s Hanover House, the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina with its collection of folk art, and the Museum of African-American Culture in the Mann-Simons Cottage in Columbia. The Citadel operates a military museum in Charleston.
In 2002 South Carolina had 14 newspapers that were published daily. The first newspaper in the state, the South Carolina Gazette, was founded at Charleston in 1732. The oldest newspaper still being published is the thrice-weekly Georgetown Times, which began publication in 1797. The Charleston Post and Courier, founded in 1803 as the Charleston Courier, is the oldest existing newspaper in South Carolina. Other leading South Carolina dailies include the Columbia State, the Greenville News, the Anderson Independent-Mail, and the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.
The first radio station in South Carolina was WSPA, which began broadcasting at Spartanburg in 1930. The first television station in the state was WIS-TV at Columbia, which began operation in 1953. In 2002 there were 57 AM and 75 FM radio stations and 23 television stations operating in the state.
|E||Music and Theater|
Musical activities in South Carolina date to early colonial days. In 1734 and 1735, Charleston audiences heard the first opera presented in what is now the United States. The Saint Cecilia Society, organized in 1767, subsequently sponsored America’s first symphony orchestra. Today there are symphony orchestras at Charleston and Columbia.
The history of the theater in South Carolina began in the 18th century. The Dock Street Theater, the first building designed wholly for theatrical performances in America, was opened in Charleston in 1736. After the American Revolution (1775-1783), a pall fell for a time on theatrical activity, but a theatrical revival took place in the 19th century.
In the 20th century, little-theater activity became popular in the state. The Columbia Stage Society, formed in 1908, was a pioneer in this movement and was the first little-theater group to build its own playhouse, the Town Theater. This group encouraged young playwrights and did much to stimulate native talent.
The Spoleto Festival USA, a major international festival of the performing arts, has been held annually since 1977 at Charleston in late spring. It includes musical, dance, and theatrical performances.
|VI||RECREATION AND PLACES OF INTEREST|
South Carolina offers tourists and residents a great variety of year-round recreational activities. The scenic mountainous section in the northwest affords good camping and hiking in wilderness areas, and water sports are the major attraction at the many fine resorts that line the state’s coast. Inland swamps and coastal areas abound in wildlife, and fish are abundant in both saltwater and freshwater regions. In addition, thousands of tourists visit the state’s numerous places of historic interest.
Seven units of the National Park System are located in South Carolina. In Fort Sumter National Monument is Fort Sumter, where the opening engagement of the American Civil War was fought in April 1861. Cowpens National Battlefield commemorates the Battle of Cowpens, which ended British control in South Carolina during the American Revolution. Kings Mountain National Military Park preserves the site of an earlier important battle of the revolution, the Battle of Kings Mountain. The Ninety Six National Historic Site preserves a colonial trading village and seat of government. Fort Moultrie National Monument preserves the site where a squadron of British warships was repelled during the revolution; the fort was also among those bombarding Fort Sumter at the outset of the Civil War. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site preserves the simple 18th-century farm of a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. The last significant tract of virgin bottomland hardwoods in the southeastern United States is contained in the Congaree Swamp National Monument.
|B||National and State Forests|
The federal government maintains two national forests in South Carolina. Sumter National Forest, the larger one, includes foothills and mountains in three separate sections in the northwestern part of the state. Francis Marion National Forest in southeastern South Carolina is named after the Revolutionary War general also known as “The Swamp Fox” for his campaigns in the region. The state forests in South Carolina include Sand Hills State Forest, the largest, which adjoins the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, one of 11 in the state.
Cheraw State Park, in the Sandhills country of the northeast, is the oldest in the system and contains a championship golf course. Table Rock State Park, which lies in the Blue Ridge province, is a scenic area that includes Table Rock and other peaks, and dense forests. Nearby, also in a mountainous area, is Oconee State Park, which includes a lake. Poinsett State Park, in central South Carolina, contains many wooded trails. In Myrtle Beach State Park, on the northeastern coast, are found a wide, sandy beach, sand dunes, and forests. Off the southeastern coast is Hunting Island State Park, located on a barrier island.
Several units of the state park system are primarily of historic interest. General Thomas Sumter Historical Site, in Stateburg, includes the grave of Thomas Sumter, an American Revolutionary leader. Old Dorchester, near Summerville, is a historical state park on the site of the old town of Dorchester, which was settled in 1696 by colonists from Massachusetts. The settlement was abandoned after the Revolutionary War, and the site includes its ruins. In Lancaster is the Andrew Jackson Historical State Park, in the region in which the seventh United States president was born. Rivers Bridge State Park marks the site of a Civil War engagement.
|D||Other Places to Visit|
Popular tourist attractions in South Carolina are the state’s famous gardens. In the Charleston area are Magnolia Gardens, which are on a 17th-century plantation and are especially noted for displays of azaleas, magnolias, and camellias; Middleton Gardens, which date from the 1740s and are the oldest formal landscaped gardens in the United States; and Cypress Gardens, which contain a lake where bald cypress trees grow. Other notable gardens include Edisto Gardens in Orangeburg, Kalmia Gardens in Hartsville, and Swan Lake in Sumter. In Brookgreen Gardens, near Marrells Inlet, more than 500 sculptures are displayed in a setting of native trees. The Botanical Garden complements a zoological park at Riverbanks, in Columbia.
There are numerous historic places of interest in the state, many of them in Charleston. The Heyward-Washington House, which dates from about 1770, was the home of Thomas Heyward, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Among the many other historic landmarks in Charleston are the Old Powder Magazine, which was built about 1713; the Old Exchange, which dates from 1771; Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church, which was begun in 1752; and Saint Philip’s Episcopal Church, which was completed in 1838. Columbia has a number of historic sites, including the Robert Mills House (1823), and the boyhood home (1872) of Woodrow Wilson, commemorating the 28th United States president. Clemson, a town in northwestern South Carolina, is the site of Fort Hill, which dates from 1803. It was the home of the American statesman John C. Calhoun. The Beaufort Historic District includes more than 170 buildings.
Sporting events are a feature of South Carolina’s yearly calendar. Trial, steeplechase, and harness races are contested on three weekends in March during the Triple Crown in Aiken. The Carolina Cup steeplechase is held in the spring and the Colonial Cup steeplechase is held in the fall in Camden. Sailboat regattas are held in June, July, and August at Columbia, Beaufort, Mount Pleasant, and Charleston. An annual stock-car race is run at the Darlington Racetrack on Labor Day.
Numerous festivals also brighten the year in South Carolina. April events include the Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival in Mount Pleasant, which celebrates the shrimp fishing industry. In the first week of June the Sun Fun Festival is celebrated at Myrtle Beach. The Golden Leaf Festival is held each September at Mullins, while the Jewel City Jubilee occurs in Ruby. The Lee County Cotton Festival is held each October in Bishopville. The South Carolina State Fair takes place at Columbia in October.
South Carolina has had seven state constitutions altogether, adopted successively in 1776, 1778, 1790, 1861, 1865, 1868, and 1895. The constitution of 1895 is still the state’s basic governing document, although it has been amended many times and underwent an exhaustive review in the 1960s. Constitutional amendments may be proposed by a two-thirds majority in each house of the state legislature or by constitutional conventions. To be adopted, amendments must be approved by a majority of those voting on the amendments in a general election and must then be approved by a majority vote in each house of the state legislature chosen at the same election.
The governor, the state’s chief executive official, is elected for a four-year term and may succeed to office only once. The governor traditionally appointed only a few administrative officials and had less extensive executive powers than most other governors, but the Government Reorganization Act in 1993 increased the governor’s powers of appointment and dismissal of agency heads and increased the governor’s involvement in the appointment of commission members. The governor may veto proposed legislation and can veto specific items—a line-item veto—of appropriation bills, but the legislature can override the governor’s veto by a vote of two-thirds of those present at the voting in each house. Other elected officials are the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, adjutant general, treasurer, comptroller general, superintendent of education, and commissioner of agriculture. All are elected to four-year terms and may succeed themselves in office.
South Carolina’s state legislature, called the General Assembly, consists of a 46-member Senate and a 124-member House of Representatives. Senators are elected for four years, and representatives for two years. Regular sessions of the legislature are held annually, beginning on the second Tuesday in January, and must adjourn by 5 pm on the first Thursday of June unless extended by agreement of two-thirds of its members.
The supreme court, the state’s highest court, has original as well as appellate jurisdiction. The court consists of five justices: a chief justice and four associate justices. All are elected for ten-year terms by the members of both houses of the general assembly meeting jointly. The next highest court is the court of appeals, created in 1979. It comprises a chief judge and five associate judges and normally sits in panels of three. Its jurisdiction includes appeals from circuit and family courts, with specific exceptions that go directly to the Supreme Court. Circuit courts are organized into 16 judicial districts and have original jurisdiction over most matters. Circuit court judges are also chosen by the state legislature, for six-year terms. Lower courts include probate courts, magistrate’s courts, recorder’s courts, and family courts, which combine domestic relations and juvenile courts.
Traditionally, government in South Carolina’s 46 counties was administered by the county’s legislative delegation, made up of the state senator and house members from each county. In general, the counties elected executive officials, such as commissioners, but the local state legislative delegations exercised real control over county affairs by virtue of their control over county finances. However, under a home rule bill that took effect in 1976, county government was systemized, and the powers of the county officials were strengthened. In addition to county governments, there are a number of multi-county planning commissions.
Most of the state’s 270 municipalities have the mayor-council form of municipal government. Most of the larger cities have city managers. Besides county and municipal governments, South Carolina has more than 600 special purpose districts that provide particular services at local levels.
South Carolina has six representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and two members in the U.S. Senate. The state has eight electoral votes in presidential elections.
In prehistory, many Native American peoples lived in South Carolina. Starting about 900 years ago the Mississippian culture, also called Mound Builders, flourished in this region. The Mississippians built great temple mounds, and some can still be seen today. Major nations in the state in 1600 were the Cherokee, of the Iroquoian language stock; the Catawba, speaking a Siouan language; and the Yamasee, speaking a Muskogean language. In 1715 the Yamasee led other peoples in the Yamasee War (1715-1716) against the English settlers. The Yamasee were defeated and driven out of South Carolina. The Cherokee began warring against the settlers about 1760 and sided with the British in the American Revolution (1775-1783). All but a few Cherokee left the state after the revolution.
The Catawba kept friendly relations with the Europeans, but by the end of the 18th century disease and tribal wars reduced them almost to nothing. About 1,400 strong, their descendants now live on a small reservation on the Catawba River. They received an award of $50 million, in settlement of treaty claims, from the Congress of the United States in 1993. The Catawba are noted for their pottery, which is unique in that it survives in an unbroken tradition from the Mississippian culture to the present.
The largest organized Native American nation remaining in South Carolina is the PeeDee, 2,500 of whom live in four counties in the northeast. Although they have no reservation, the PeeDee have a representative council and two chiefs: an elected chief and a hereditary chief.
|B||European Exploration and Early Settlement|
Two Spanish ships from Santo Domingo, sent by magistrate Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón, explored the South Carolina coast in 1520 and returned with about 70 Native American captives. In 1526 Ayllón came himself with 500 settlers whom he landed in South Carolina or perhaps in Georgia. One of the earlier captives, Francisco Chicora, was brought along as interpreter. The settlers were beset by a host of problems, however, and the colony was abandoned within a few months. In another early colonization effort, a group of French Huguenots (members of the Protestant religion) started a short-lived settlement on Parris Island in 1562. In 1566 the Spanish returned and built a town, Santa Elena, on Parris Island. They left the state for good, however, after 1586.
In 1629 King Charles I of England granted to his attorney general, Sir Robert Heath, all the land between Virginia and Spanish Florida from ocean to ocean. Heath’s plans for Carolana, as the land was called, never materialized. So in 1663 King Charles II granted the same territory, then called Carolina, to eight noblemen, who became the lords proprietors of the province. Two years later Carolina was enlarged to include all the land between latitudes 29° north and 36°30′ north. In 1670 one proprietor, Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, organized an expedition that resulted in the founding of Charles Town (now Charleston), the first English settlement in the South Carolina region. On the west bank of the Ashley River, Charles Town was populated by settlers from England and the island of Barbados. Ten years later, Charles Town moved across the river to Oyster Point, a location better adapted for defense and trade. Settlement in Charles Town and the surrounding country was fairly brisk, and by 1700 about 5,000 settlers were living in the area. In addition to the English, most of whom were members of the Church of England, the settlers included French Huguenots, religious dissenters from New England, and a large number of black African slaves.
|B1||Overthrow of the Proprietary Government|
Beginning in the 1680s, South Carolina colonists became increasingly upset with the policies of the proprietors. By that time most of the original proprietors had died. One source of discontent was their successors’ unwillingness to provide defense against the Spanish in Florida as well as against Native American uprisings and pirate raids. Colonial resentment became particularly intense during the Yamasee War, when hundreds of settlers were killed. In addition to their bitterness over the defense question, the colonists nurtured long-standing grievances over the proprietors’ economic and political control. Finally, in 1719, the settlers drove the provincial governor from Charles Town and sent an agent to Great Britain (a union of three countries headed by England) to request that Carolina be made a royal province, administered by the king’s functionaries. In 1721 a provisional royal government was established in Charles Town, and South Carolina officially became a royal province in 1729. North Carolina, where the proprietary authority had remained in force, became a separate royal province. In 1732 a considerable portion of South Carolina became the separate province of Georgia.
|B2||Economic Growth and Expanding Settlement|
By 1730 the settler population of South Carolina had risen to about 30,000. The greatest concentration of settlers continued to be in the vicinity of Charles Town, but settlers had also fanned out to other areas of the coastal plain. In particular, the settlers sought out the numerous tidal swamps at the margins of rivers, where conditions were ideal for growing rice. The cultivation of rice began in South Carolina in the 1680s and, in the decades after 1700, became the colony’s richest economic activity. Charles Town was one of the busiest ports of North America as rice and other products were exported to Great Britain and the West Indies. For the most part, rice was grown on large plantations by slave labor; by 1708 blacks outnumbered whites in South Carolina. Slave labor was also essential to the cultivation of a second major staple crop, indigo, a source of dye, which began to be grown commercially in the 1740s.
In the 1730s pioneers began to settle in the so-called middle country of South Carolina, the hilly region between the low country and the Fall Line. In the 1750s settlement began in the Piedmont region between the Fall Line and the mountains. Various European groups were represented in the middle country and upcountry, including Germans, Welsh, Swiss, and Scots-Irish. Some of these settlers came directly from Europe and others from American colonies such as Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. By 1775 these backcountry settlers constituted about half of the province’s white population.
Life in the South Carolina backcountry in the 18th century was in sharp contrast to life in the low country. The smaller farm, rather than the plantation, was typical in the backcountry. Few farmers had slaves, and a large part of a farmer’s produce was likely to be consumed by himself and his family. The wealth and European culture that characterized Charles Town in the 18th century found little comparison in the settlements of the backcountry. Presbyterians, not the Anglican Church, dominated the area.
Although they prospered under royal rule, South Carolina’s wealthy and powerful merchant and planter class came increasingly into conflict with the royal authorities in the 1760s and 1770s. The royal governor, William Campbell, was forced to leave Charles Town in 1775 after the American Revolution broke out between the American colonies and Great Britain. In March of the next year, an independent state government was established under John Rutledge, president of the legislature, pending settlement of major issues disputed with the royal authorities. The merchants and planters still hoped to avoid a final break with Britain. However, after the British attacked Charles Town in June 1776, support for independence predominated, although pockets of pro-British sentiment persisted, particularly in the backcountry, where settlers nurtured grievances against many leaders in Charles Town.
In May 1780 the British captured Charles Town after a two-month siege. In August they scored a major victory over the colonies’ Continental Army at the Battle of Camden, and they then occupied the entire state with little opposition. By the end of 1781, however, they had been driven back to Charles Town, largely through the combined efforts of troops under Major General Nathanael Greene and militia forces led by Brigadier General Andrew Pickens, Brigadier General Thomas Sumter, General William Hill, and Brigadier General Francis Marion. The Americans won major victories at the battles of Kings Mountain in October 1780 and Cowpens in January 1781. In December 1782 the British evacuated Charles Town, their last foothold in the state. The city’s name was changed to Charleston in 1783.
After the war, South Carolina in 1787 ceded to the federal government its claims to land west of the Appalachian Mountains. On May 23, 1788, it became the eighth state to ratify the Constitution of the United States. The capital was moved to Columbia in 1790 in an effort to repair the breach between the low-country and upcountry residents.
|C||The 19th Century|
|C1||Growth of Cotton Cultivation|
Long-staple or Sea Islands cotton had been grown in South Carolina, mainly along the coast, since colonial times but was cultivated on a relatively small scale. Then, in the first decades of the 19th century, after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, short-staple cotton rose to first importance among the state’s crops, ahead of rice and indigo. Indigo production had declined into insignificance after the revolution. Cotton was planted in almost every part of the state, and many South Carolinians left the state to plant cotton on rich western lands. Because of the heavy out-of-state migration, South Carolina’s population rose only slowly, from 345,591 in 1800 to 703,708 in 1860. About 60 percent of the population in 1860 were blacks, all but 9,000 of whom were slaves.
The growth of cotton throughout South Carolina did more to unify the state than any previous political expedient. As cotton cultivation spread, so did the plantation system. Upland farmers continued to raise considerable amounts of grain and livestock with few slaves, but the plantation worked by numerous slaves became the more important agricultural unit in the upcountry, as it was in the low country. A landed aristocracy grew up in the upcountry and established close connections with the older aristocracy along the coast. Improved transportation also served to draw the two sections together. Canals and roads were built, and in 1833 what was then the longest railroad in the world, the South Carolina Railroad, was completed between Charleston and Hamburg on the Savannah River, a distance of more than 208 km (130 mi). The railroad, like the canals and roads, was intended to direct the flow of upcountry trade to Charleston.
Many South Carolinians opposed acts of Congress imposing tariffs—taxes on imports—in the decades following the War of 1812 (1812-1815), and a loud uproar followed the adoption of a very high tariff in 1828. This so-called Tariff of Abominations meant high prices for manufactured goods that the state’s planters had to buy. The planters also feared that European nations, where most of the state’s cotton and rice was sold, would retaliate for the U.S. tariff by levying higher tariffs on the state’s exports. In large part, however, the growing uproar over tariffs was due to developments for which the national government had little responsibility. With the opening of new cotton lands to the west, increases in the production of cotton were driving the price down, while an increasing demand for slaves drove their cost up. In South Carolina, where much of the land had eroded through poor farming methods, prosperity was becoming increasingly elusive for the planters.
Political factions in South Carolina, the so-called Nullifiers and Unionists, disagreed over the tariff issue. The Unionists believed in applying federal law, even the hated tariff, uniformly; the Nullifiers did not. Their position was expounded in 1828 by U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun of South Carolina in a pamphlet he published, called South Carolina Exposition and Protest. Calhoun argued that the tariff violated the state’s rights and made it the slave of Northern manufacturing interests. More generally, he argued that a state had the right to nullify any federal law that infringed on the constitutional rights of its people. The Nullifiers did not attempt to put their theory into practice until they realized that the revised tariff act of 1832 offered little relief. In November 1832 a state convention declared both tariff laws null and void, stopped their enforcement in South Carolina, and threatened secession from the federal Union if the federal government tried to enforce them. However, a compromise tariff bill was passed by Congress in 1833, largely through the efforts of Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky. The passage of this bill left the nullification issue unsettled.
During the nullification battle, South Carolinians became increasingly alarmed over attacks on slavery by abolitionists, who wanted slavery ended totally and immediately. The slavery issue loomed larger as Congress debated the question of the extension of slavery into the newly acquired territories in the West. Many Congress members from the Northern states pressed to end slavery, both because it was considered immoral and because white labor could not compete with unpaid black labor. Members from the Deep South (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida) believed that slavery was essential to their cotton-centered agricultural system and that the North was trying to dominate the national economy. Southern plantation owners feared that, if the new territories all became antislavery states, they would join with the North in Congress and force an end to slavery in the South.
South Carolina was one of only three states with a black majority, and thus the entire white population was especially apprehensive about what would happen to their society if the slaves became free. They had memories of the Stono Uprising of 1739, starting near Charles Town, in which 25 whites were killed; and the aborted rebellion of Denmark Vesey in 1822, which involved 2,000 to 3,000 slaves. Vesey’s plan was well organized and, had he not been betrayed, might have accomplished its goal of seizing the arsenals in Charleston and burning the city.
The so-called fire-eaters, politicians who wanted secession, tried but failed to push South Carolina into seceding in 1850. Henry Clay came up with another compromise, embodied in the Compromise Measures of 1850, that postponed the showdown for another decade. However, the agitation for secession increased.
|C4||Secession and Civil War|
In 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected president as the candidate of the Republican Party, which opposed the spread of slavery. South Carolina had threatened to secede if the Republicans won, and on December 20, 1860, it became the first state to leave the Union. Ten other Southern states followed. In March 1861 the breakaway states organized as the Confederate States of America and got ready for war.
The American Civil War began April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery, under orders from Brigadier General Pierre G. T. Beauregard, bombarded federal forces at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. After 34 hours, the fort surrendered. Aside from this event, little major fighting took place in the state. Charleston harbor was blockaded almost for the duration of the war, and the city was finally occupied by Union forces in February 1865 after a 19-month siege. Among the Union troops marching into Charleston was the black 54th Massachusetts Infantry, singing “John Brown’s Body.” A few weeks later, 4,000 of the city’s black population staged a massive parade to celebrate their liberation. Black schoolchildren marched with a banner that read “We Know No Master But Ourselves.”
Also in February, Union troops under General William T. Sherman burned Columbia in the course of their devastating march northward from Savannah through the Carolinas. All along the way, planters’ homes, smokehouses, and storerooms were plundered.
In all, about 63,000 South Carolinians served in the Confederate forces; more than one-fifth of them lost their lives.
After the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson’s plan for restoring the Union, or Reconstruction, was to reestablish the state governments and then readmit the states’ delegates to Congress. A government dominated by ex-Confederates was set up in South Carolina, which repealed the 1861 ordinance of secession and recognized the abolition of slavery. This government was short-lived, however, because it maintained white supremacy. It failed to give blacks the right to vote and, in common with most other rebel states, enacted a Black Code that severely restricted the liberties of all blacks, both the newly freed and those who had not been slaves. For example, blacks were required to pay a yearly tax of $10 to $100 if they wished to follow any occupation other than farmer or servant.
Partly because of these acts by the Southern states, the Radical wing of the Republican Party in Congress wrested control of Reconstruction from President Johnson and imposed the harsher regime called Radical Reconstruction. In March 1867, Congress put ten of the ex-Confederate states under military rule. Readmission to the Union was made conditional on their adoption of new constitutions acceptable to Congress. They were required to extend the vote and basic civil rights to all men, regardless of race. The next year a convention, composed mainly of former slaves, free blacks, whites who had moved from the North (called carpetbaggers by their enemies), and Southern whites sympathetic to the North (called scalawags) drew up a new state constitution. This constitution allowed all adult men to vote and did not impose property or educational requirements; it also provided for a system of public schools. The most powerful ex-Confederates were disfranchised (denied the right to vote). On June 25, 1868, South Carolina was readmitted to the Union.
From 1868 to 1876 the Republican Party governed the state. This “rule of the robbers,” as the ex-Confederates called it, evoked violent white opposition. The Ku Klux Klan, a secret society organized in Tennessee, extended its activities to the state to subvert Republican rule by terrorist means. In 1871 so many lynchings and beatings took place that nine counties in the Piedmont were placed under martial law by the federal government. Hundreds of people were arrested, and the Klan ceased to exist in the state.
In 1876 the Red Shirts, a militant white political organization, supported Wade Hampton, a former Confederate general and the Democratic Party candidate for governor, against the Republican incumbent, Daniel H. Chamberlain of Massachusetts. Bribes and intimidation occurred on both sides. The Red Shirts engineered an apparent victory for Hampton, but the election results were contested, with both sides crying fraud. As it happened, the presidential election that year was also in doubt because of contested electoral votes in four states, three of which—South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana—were in the South. The Republican presidential candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, needed those votes to barely defeat his Democratic opponent, Samuel J. Tilden. He got them. Whether a deal was struck, or whether the Republicans merely gave assurances to cease interfering in the South, Tilden did not challenge the national result, and the Republicans did not challenge Hampton’s claim to the governorship. Hayes withdrew the remaining federal troops from the state when he took office in March 1877.
The Democrats had returned to power in South Carolina, and it was to be essentially a one-party state for almost a hundred years thereafter. In subsequent decades the Democrats strengthened their control of state politics by disfranchising the state’s black population.
|C6||Hard Times and the Growth of the Textile Industry|
The end of the Civil War left South Carolina in deep poverty, from which the state did not completely emerge for a century. Cotton cultivation was resumed on a large scale after the war, and in time cotton acreage grew beyond its prewar levels. The vastly increased production resulted in low prices in most years. The times were hardest for blacks who owned little land. Times were also hard for the small white farmers, many of whom lost their land through debt. Most of the blacks and many whites became sharecroppers and tenant farmers.
Sharecropping and tenant farming were substitutes for paid farm labor where little cash was available to pay wages. A sharecropper raised part of the landlord’s crop and was paid a share of the profits after deductions for living expenses and the cost of tools and supplies. A tenant farmer sold what he raised and paid the landlord a share of the profits as rent. The landlord either owned the crop (in sharecropping) or had a lien on it (in tenant farming); so, even if the profit was low, he got his share first. The cropper or tenant took what was left or, if none was left, got an advance to keep going until the next harvest. Once in that system, tenants and croppers were forced to remain because they could seldom earn enough to pay off their yearly advances. The increasing erosion of the soil contributed to the deepening poverty. Not until World War II (1939-1945), when widespread mechanization of agriculture made sharecropping unprofitable, did the system begin to disappear.
Some white farmers left the land to work in the textile mills that were being built, mainly in the upcountry, in the 1880s. By 1892 there were 51 textile mills in South Carolina, about three times the number operating before the Civil War. By 1910 there were 167 mills. The growth of the textile industry was spurred by such purely economic factors as the proximity of raw cotton and the availability of waterpower and of cheap labor. In addition, the construction of mills took on the nature of a crusade, aimed at raising the economic level of impoverished white farmers. By 1910 about 50,000 workers, virtually all of them white, had jobs in textile mills.
|C7||Tillman and the Agrarians|
By the 1880s many white farmers were dissatisfied with the traditional leadership of the Democratic Party. That leadership rested with the Redeemer, or Bourbon, faction, consisting of the wealthier planters and business leaders. In 1890 an upcountry farmer, Benjamin R. Tillman, sought the Democratic nomination for governor. Inveighing against the wealthy classes on one hand and the blacks on the other, Tillman rallied white farmers to his support and won the Democratic nomination and the governorship from the Bourbons. Tillman’s proudest achievement was the new state constitution passed in 1895. It replaced the Reconstruction constitution of 1868 and made it difficult for most blacks to vote, using techniques that were not explicitly racial and thus avoided the protection of black voting rights afforded by the 15th Amendment to the Constitution.
Another means of disfranchisement was the so-called white primary—the statewide primary election of the Democratic Party, first held in 1896, in which only white voters could participate. Because this was a party vote only, not a state election, it circumvented the 15th Amendment. However, it effectively denied any voice to the few black voters because under one-party rule the Democrat who won the primary always won the general election.
About this time, state laws began to impose racial segregation, or separation of white and black citizens, in every area of life.
|D||The 20th Century|
|D1||Economic Growth and Progressivism|
After 1900 agriculture began to recover. Cotton production rose, but farmers also grew oats, corn, and hay. Tobacco became the leading crop in the Pee Dee area of the state.
After Tillman became U.S. senator in 1894, the agrarians began to quarrel with one another. Then, after 1900, a group of progressive leaders urged statewide reforms. These reforms included aid to education, the end of child labor in the cotton mills, and better treatment for the mentally ill and prisoners. Richard I. Manning, a progressive Democrat, was elected governor in 1916.
In 1900 the population of South Carolina was 1,340,316. By 1920 it had risen to 1,683,724. The rate of increase slowed in the 1920s as the effects of soil erosion drove many farmers from the state, particularly from the lower Piedmont region. Compounding the effects of erosion was an infestation of the boll weevil, an insect pest from Mexico that feeds on the seed pods of cotton plants. Boll weevils destroyed half of the state’s cotton crop in 1922. Poor black farmers left in large numbers, and in 1930, for the first time in 110 years, the census showed South Carolina’s white population to be larger than its black population. The textile industry continued to expand in the 1920s as many Northern firms purchased local cotton mills.
Like other Americans, South Carolinians were hard hit by the Great Depression, the hard economic times of the 1930s. Farmers, hurt by sharp declines in the price of cotton, depended heavily on the federal government for assistance. As part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vast New Deal program to recover from the depression, laws were passed placing federal restrictions on cotton production. The restrictions were meant to reduce the supply of cotton and thereby raise the price that growers could get for it. They were also meant to encourage greater diversification in farming by diverting cotton acreage to other crops. However, the result for many cotton-growing tenants was that jobs in Northern cities held out better economic prospects than farming, and they left the state.
During World War II (1939-1945) and in the postwar decades, the pace of economic change was greatly accelerated in South Carolina. Farming became increasingly diversified as considerable cotton land was taken out of cultivation and returned to pasture or was planted in other crops. Tobacco cultivation was greatly expanded in the Pee Dee, and in 1955 tobacco for the first time surpassed cotton as the state’s leading cash crop. There was a vast increase in soybean cultivation and in the production of peaches and livestock, particularly cattle.
In addition to becoming more diversified, farming also became mechanized. Increasing mechanization was largely responsible for the decline in the relative importance of farming as a source of employment. By 1980 only about 4 percent of all jobs in South Carolina were on farms, as compared with about 40 percent in 1940. At the same time industrial employment increased rapidly and, in the mid-1950s, surpassed farm employment as the state government made a concentrated effort to attract industry to South Carolina. The textile industry expanded and diversified, with the largest gains in the manufacture of synthetic yarns, such as Orlon, rayon, fiberglass, and woven plastics. There were large gains in newer industries, such as apparel, chemicals, electrical machinery, and fabricated metals. Many farmers moved to towns and cities to take industrial jobs or remained on their farms and commuted into the cities. Many blacks continued to migrate to Northern cities. By 1970 blacks were only about 30 percent of the state’s population as compared with more than 50 percent in 1920.
|D4||The Civil Rights Revolution|
In 1945 South Carolina was still governed by the constitution of 1895. Control of the government was in the hands of the legislature, and the legislature was controlled by representatives of small rural counties. From the 1930s to the 1970s the most powerful legislators were from Barnwell County. State Senator Edgar Brown and House Speaker Sol Blatt were referred to as “the Barnwell Ring.”
The system of racial segregation and rural political control began to break down after World War II. In 1946 the federal courts declared the white primary illegal. In 1948 the national Democratic Party in its platform came out in favor of civil rights for blacks. In reaction, Governor Strom Thurmond broke with the party that year and ran for president as the candidate of a short-lived splinter group, the States’ Rights Democratic Party, known as Dixiecrats. He eventually rejoined the Democrats, and in 1964 became a Republican.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 1954 decided, in Brown v. Board of Education, that segregated schools were unconstitutional. In reaction, the state government passed laws to prevent racial integration in the public schools. In January 1960 black citizens in Greenville led the first protest march in the state against segregation. Blacks and whites also protested segregation in many cities with sit-ins, in which they occupied the seats in a segregated restaurant and refused to leave when they were denied service. After violence broke out in other Southern states, white leaders in South Carolina began to moderate their resistance to federal law. Clemson University admitted its first black student in 1963. The federal courts ordered total desegregation in the public schools beginning in 1970.
|D5||Changes in Politics|
When the national Democratic Party supported civil rights in 1948, blacks, who had been Republican since Reconstruction, began to vote Democratic. At the same time many whites began to vote Republican, at first in presidential elections. In 1962 the first Republican in many years, a white, was elected to the legislature; in 1975 James B. Edwards became the first Republican governor since 1876.
Meanwhile, in 1970, three black Democrats won election to the legislature. When, in 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that state senators and legislators must represent equal numbers of people, the small rural counties began to lose their power. Rapidly growing urban areas gained greater representation.
In 1969 a legislative committee recommended changes in the constitution of 1895. Between 1971 and 1976 the voters approved new articles that conformed to new federal laws and simplified the constitution. In 1993 the legislature reorganized more than 120 separate state agencies into 11 departments and gave the governor power to appoint cabinet secretaries to run these agencies directly. The legislature also gave the governor some measure of control over six other agencies. These reforms increased the power of the governor and provided a more practical approach to the operation of state government.
In the 1980s and 1990s the two political parties in the state began to show internal stresses. In the Democratic Party the new black members demanded a role in making decisions alongside the white old guard, many of whom began to defect to the Republicans. The success of the Republican Party also brought division. The business elite was joined by a growing group of Christian fundamentalists in the state party. They united in support of Ronald Reagan’s election as president in 1980 and again in 1984, but the internal divisions have continued in the presidential elections of 1988 and 1992. A Democrat-turned-Republican, David Beasley, was elected governor in 1994. He was defeated in his 1998 reelection bid by Democrat Jim Hodges. In 2002 Hodges was also defeated for reelection; Republican Mark Sanford became the state’s new governor.