• South Carolina
  • About
  • Advertise
  • Contact Us
South Carolina

South Carolina African Americans – A New Constitution in 1868


Also see African-Americans - Reconstruction - 1865-1900 Main Page



As disagreeable to whites as Congress' Reconstruction Acts were, South Carolinians realized that this legislation also paved the way for something even more unpleasant – a new constitutional convention. Faced with the possibility of being ruled by African Americans, the white population formed a solid opposition. Since the constitutional convention had to be approved by the voters, whites registered in record numbers in the hope that they could intimidate the black electorate and derail the convention. As Wade Hampton insisted, "It would be better for the State to be remanded to Military Government rather than that which places the negro permanently in power."

An "alternative" white "Conservative State Convention" was held which issued an open letter to the people of the United States, assuring them that white South Carolinians "would never acquiesce in Negro equality or supremacy."

Participants in this convention included a number of planters who had previously been made wealthy by the sweat of their African-American slaves, including James Chesnut, Benjamin Perry, Wade Hampton, and William DeSaussure. They urged a program of "register-and-reject," which involved registering and then failing to vote. Since the new constitution required the support of the majority of registered voters, not voting produced the same effect as voting no. The results were, in fact, very close, but the white strategy failed and South Carolina would have a new constitution with guaranteed equal rights under the law.

Total Registered127,550
Black80,379
White47,171
Voting for a Convention68,768
Voting against a Convention2,278
Not Voting55,798
 

Despite their defeat, whites in South Carolina continued to preach hatred. As one planter, Thomas Pinckney Lowndes, noted:
"For us the war was not ended. We had met the enemy in the field and lost our fight, but now we were threatened with a servile war, a war in which the negro savage backed by the U.S. and the intelligent white scoundrel as his leader was our enemy."

MOST POPULAR

SC Gifts
SC Newsletter

Charleston Hotels
Columbia Hotels
Greenville Hotels
Myrtle Beach Hotels

Charleston Real Estate
Columbia Real Estate
Greenville Real Estate
Myrtle Beach Real Estate

Charleston Jobs
Columbia Jobs
Greenville Jobs
Myrtle Beach Jobs

ALL CATEGORIES

SC African-Americans
SC Arts & Entertainment
SC Bed & Breakfasts
SC Businesses
SC Calendar of Events
SC Churches
SC Cities, Towns
SC Colleges, Universities
SC Consumer Help Desk
SC Counties
SC Education
SC Elections
SC Facts & Firsts
SC Genealogy
SC Gifts
SC Government, Politics
SC Health, Medicine
SC History
SC Hotels
SC Jobs
SC Libraries, Museums
SC Maps
SC Movies
SC News
SC Organizations
SC Photo Gallery
SC Plantations
SC Pronunciations
SC Real Estate
SC Restaurants
SC Schools
SC Sports, Recreation
SC Tax Guide
SC Tides
SC Tourism
SC Vacation Rentals
SC Web Cams
SC Weddings