Love of Order: South Carolina's First Secession Crisis

Love of Order: South Carolina's First Secession Crisis

Love of Order: South Carolina's First Secession Crisis

Love of Order: South Carolina's First Secession Crisis

Excerpt

In the short space of thirty years, South Carolina "nullified alone and seceded first." These dramatic manifestations of the Palmetto State's unique political culture have fascinated successive generations of historians. From a South Carolina perspective, the nullification movement and the secession crisis of 1860 have been examined most recently in William Freehling Prelude to Civil War and Steven Channing Crisis of Fear. Both works were honored with the Allan Nevins Prize, and both are crucial to our understanding of South Carolina's march along the political path which ended in disruption of the Union. But South Carolina's secession crisis of 1850-51, which served as a rehearsal for disunion, has received little attention. Philip Hamer Secession Movement in South Carolina, 1847-1852, the only book-length treatment of this subject, is now over half-a-century old. Articles on this topic are also scanty and for the most part dated. In the following study, therefore, I have tried to explain the origins of South Carolina's political militance in the 1840s and early 1850s; and I have attempted to chronicle the Palmetto State's secession crisis of 1850-51 more fully and more accurately than previous writers.

This study could not have been undertaken, much less completed, without the assistance of many librarians, archivists, and manuscript curators. Carolyn Wallace and Dick Shrader of the Southern Historical Collection shared their time and knowledge with me. And I am indebted to Isaac Copeland for his special graciousness. E. L. Inabinett and Allen Stokes of the South Caroliniana Library were courteous and helpful to me during many visits to Columbia. My thanks are due also to the staff members of Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina, the Manuscripts Division of the Library of Congress, the Manuscript Department of Duke University Library, the South Carolina Historical Society, and the Virginia Historical Society. I must thank Rosalie Radcliffe and Claudia Price, typists and copy editors of remarkable skill and good humor, for their work on the manuscript.

For encouragement in many ways, I am grateful to George Cuttino and Becky Loveless. Harry McKown, Bob Martin, Gaines Foster, Bill and Ann Coulter, and Paula Wallace aided me immensely on various occasions. Wayne and Fran Mixon have proved friends in all seasons, and Wayne made numerous improvements in my manu-

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