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South Carolina in the 1770s


Brigadier General Francis Marion
Brigadier General Francis Marion

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. "South Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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