By Cole Blease Graham Jr., William V. Moore
The uncompromising John C. Calhoun, one of South Carolina's most famous congressmen, warning of the dire consequences of giving way to democracy, led the state as the first to secede from the union in 1860. After the war, with a new constitution, South Carolina's government became more democratic; however, "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, through his agrarian Reform Party, appealed to white Democrats and small farmers in an effort to eliminate all but whites from the state's politics.
The Civil Rights movement, industrial renovation, and shifts in South Carolina's economy have gradually altered the state's political culture. The racist politics of the post-Civil War era have slowly been chipped away by federal and state initiatives. Long dominated by its legislature (itself often dominated by alumni in Congress), state government has gradually accorded more power to the governor. No less significant, South Carolina has gradually relinquished its antipathy toward the federal government, recognizing the need for cooperation. Despite changes, the direction of state policy continues to be primarily in the hands of the business elite.
South Carolina Politics and Government outlines the ways that South Carolinians and their long-standing traditionalistic political culture will continue to be challenged by economic and social changes in the future. Besides providing the historical background of South Carolina's society and government, Graham and Moore review recent elections and party competition; the state's legislative, executive, and judicial branches; and policies in areas relating to local government, education, and public safety.