Celebrating 100 Years of the South Carolina Historical Magazine

By Edgar, Walter | South Carolina Historical Magazine, January 2001 | Go to article overview

Celebrating 100 Years of the South Carolina Historical Magazine


Edgar, Walter, South Carolina Historical Magazine


THANK YOU, DR. ROWLAND FOR THAT KIND INTRODUCTION. It is a pleasure for me to be here tonight to be a participant in the celebration of one of the country's oldest and most distinguished regional quarterlies, the South Carolina Historical Magazine.

The Magazine, like the Society which has published it for one hundred years, is a product of a particular time and a particular people. In order to better understand what this Society and its dedicated members and officers have accomplished, let us look back to the last decade of the 19th century. The South Carolina of the 1890s was a far different place from the South Carolina of today.

First of all, the state's political scene was in turmoil. Since the end of Reconstruction in 1877, for all practical purposes, South Carolina had become a one-party state. While the Republican Party still existed, it survived as the patronage party of northern presidential appointees. However, the unity of the state's white minority was shaken in 1890, when Benjamin Ryan Tillman of Edgefield County led a successful revolt within the Democrat Party to oust Wade Hampton and his lieutenants from office. And, once in power, to rewrite the state's constitution, disenfranchise African-Americans, drive the phosphate companies out of business, and create a complicated, fragmented horse and buggy state government that bedevils us still today.

Tillman was a product of his times, the economic hard times of the late 1880s and early 1890s that caused tens of thousands of South Carolinians to live in wretched poverty. In the years just before he was elected in 1890, Carolinians lost more than one million acres of land for non-payment of taxes. For farmers of all stripes, debt was as real and as heavy as any millstone. It is estimated that before a single boll of cotton was picked in the state, that somewhere between 30 to 60 percent of the crop was already obligated for debts. In some counties, interest rates ran as high as 100 percent per annum! Compounding the problem was the collapse of cotton prices. Rice production was in a precipitous decline.1

South Carolina's commercial life was in not much better shape. Northern capitalists purchased railroads that once had been the pride of the state. And, they manipulated freight rates so that produce now went from the backcountry to northern ports rather than to Charleston. It cost $0.46 to ship a bale of cotton from Abbeville to New York City, but it cost $1.50 to ship the same bale from Abbeville to Charleston. During the last decade of the 19th century, the volume of trade handled by the city's docks plummeted from $98.5 million to $29.5 million. In 1895, the city's real estate was valued at $25 million, but less than a decade later the same property was worth only $19 million. Charleston's population barely held its own while other southern cities grew by leaps and bounds. Is it any wonder that the port city was described by the News and Courier in this dismal fashion: "everywhere there were decaying timbers, rotting piles, growing grass, and empty echoes."2

Poverty-in what in 1860 had been one of the wealthiest states in the country-led to poor education and even poorer health conditions. At the turn of the century approximately 45 percent of the population over the age of ten was completely illiterate; they could neither read nor write. The state's dual school system was understaffed and underfunded. Only about one-third of the state's children were in school. And, for those who were enrolled in what passed for schools, more than half were in class for less than four months. Not a single institution of higher education in the state was able to meet the accreditation standards set by the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges.3

Use of the term "public health" was truly a misnomer. During the Spanish-American War, in some upcountry counties the Army rejected 44 percent of white volunteers. Sanitation in the raw, new mill villages was so primitive that the State Board of Health declared that they were "pest holes for the corruption of the whole State. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Celebrating 100 Years of the South Carolina Historical Magazine
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.