South Carolina History - South Carolina - Different Perspectives During the Revolution

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There was vast disagreement in South Carolina about seeking independence from Great Britain. Some believed the colonists needed to be free, while others wanted to stay within the fold of Great Britain.  The different perspectives basically led to a civil war within South Carolina. 

Many in the backcountry (later known as upcountry) preferred to live their lives without interference from others. The backcountry had many immigrants from Germany and those settlers had no loyalty to the King of England, nor to the principles of democracy. While not actively supporting the King, they did not want to rebel either. 

The Lowcountry Plantation owners, however, began making policies which angered the backcountry folk and these people felt the King of England was still the rightful authority over them—so they remained loyal to Him.   These colonists did not want independence from Great Britain and fought on the side of the British.  These men were called Loyalists, or Tories, by the Patriots.

While there were many Loyalists in all the colonies, only New York had more Loyalists than South Carolina.  When the war ended, Loyalists were fined, forced to leave town, or volunteered to leave for the Caribbean or Canada.

The political leaders, at this time, continued to be wealthy white men from the Lowcountry, and the majority of them owned plantations.  Almost all supported being free from Great Britain because of the taxation being forced upon them. 

When the royal governor was forced to leave Charleston, he abandoned the loyalists in the backcountry.  Instead of going to the backcountry to rally support for the King, he left on a warship in the Charleston harbor. 

Now the government was in the hands of a revolutionary Provincial Congress, ironically run by the wealthy white men from the Lowcountry wanting freedom.  Those wanting freedom from Great Britain became known as Patriots. 

The Patriots were helped in their revolution by the geographic features of South Carolina. The South Carolina Patriots volunteered to fight against the crown either in colonial militia or partisan groups.  When the war ended, many continued to work in governmental positions.

Women found themselves managing the farms and plantations while their men were away at war.  Some women were Loyalists, some Patriots, and some had enough to do with caring for their families that they were not involved either way.  Some became nurses or messengers and some sacrificed their homes and fortunes. 

During this time period, most African-Americans were still slaves.  Some served in the Continental Army as soldiers.  South Carolina did not allow its slaves to serve as cooks in the Continental Army until more manpower was needed. Finally the law in South Carolina was changed so that one-third of the militia could be slaves, but they were still not allowed to be soldiers. 

Slaves did, however, fight alongside the partisan bands, but South Carolina did not offer the slaves freedom in exchange for their fighting, as other colonies did. African-Americans also fought for the British because the British told the slaves they would be freed when the British won.

In the beginning, the Native American tribes did not fight on either side.  Once the American colonists attacked them on the frontier, however, Native Americans fought back.  Many joined the side of the British because the British promised to return control of the West to the Native Americans.  Cherokees believed the British and showed support for the British by attacking the colonists.

Original Release: Jun 27, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

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"South Carolina - Different Perspectives During the Revolution" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 27, 2015. Nov 18, 2019.
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