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“Sign or Die:” The Imperial Crisis and the Reconstruction of South Carolina’s Government

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Chapter Summary

This chapter traces how the lowcountry elite organized resistance and built state governments in the image of the old colonial system. The lowcountry elite faced a number of very real challenges during the imperial crisis, and they certainly had to renegotiate relationships with lower class whites, but the system of government they had created and the experience they had gained meeting previous challenges from similar sources prepared them and informed their responses as they reconstructed South Carolina's government. Provincial leaders were also well positioned to cope with other potential struggles during the revolutionary period. Revolutionaries insisted that they were re-establishing- not destroying- true constitutional principles and the rule of law. The majority prevailed and established a new rule of law in South Carolina that very much resembled and reinforced the old. It would remain the basis of government in South Carolina through the Civil War.

Keywords: Civil War; imperial crisis; law; lowcountry elite; South Carolina; state government



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