The Tillman Movement in South Carolina

By Francis Butler Simkins | Go to book overview

The political control of South Carolina before 1865 was in the hands of an aristocracy of planters to the exclusion of the black and white masses.1 This was due to the fact that land2 and slaves3 were concentrated in the hands of a few, that there were property requirements for office- holding,4 that political representation was apportioned in favor of the more aristocratic lowlands,5

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1
In illustration of this assertion, the author may instance the lives of the sixty-three different South Carolinians who held the offices of governor and United States senator between 1778 and 1865. Only two of this number--George McDuffie and William Smith--appear to have been of humble birth. Perhaps not more than five--David R. Williams, David Johnson, William Harper, Thomas Bennett, and William Gist--belonged to the Baptist and Methodist churches, which were the churches of the white masses. A great majority of the others belonged to the Episcopal Church, which was the church of aristocratic traditions. Eight families--the Rutledges, the Pinckneys, the Calhouns, the Mannings, the Richardsons, the Haynes, the Butlers, and the Pickens--appear more than once on the list, while most of the Charleston office-holding families were inter-related, as were the Mannings with the Richardsons of Clarendon and the Butlers and Pickens of Edgefield with each other and with the Calhouns of Abbeville. See National Cyclopedia of American Biography and J. Belton O'Neall, Bench and Bar of South Carolina.
2
In 1795 the average size of landholdings in the state was 310 acres; by 1850, in spite of the great increase in population, this average had risen to 541 acres. Census of 1860, Agriculture, p. 222.
3
Four-fifths of the white population held fewer than ten slaves each in 1860.
4
Under the constitution of 1790 membership in the legislature was restricted to those possessed of a freehold estate of five hundred acres and ten Negroes, or real estate to the value of £500. Statutes, I. 185.
5
Statutes, I. 94-95; William A. Schaper, "Sectionalism and Representation in South Carolina," American Historical Association, Report, 1901, gives a full description of the representative system.

-4-

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The Tillman Movement in South Carolina
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Portraits xii
  • Chapter I - The Background 3
  • Chapter II - Early Life of Tillman 23
  • Chapter III - The Emergence of Tillman 51
  • Chapter IV - The Farmers in Politics 70
  • Chapter V - The Election of 1890 103
  • Chapter VI - Tillman's First Administration 135
  • Chapter VII - Tillman's Re-Election and Second Administration 158
  • Chapter VIII - The Dispensary 185
  • Chapter IX - The Constitutional Convention 203
  • Chapter X - The After Effects of Tillmanism 229
  • Bibliography 247
  • Index 263
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