James Hamilton Jr.
|53rd Governor of South Carolina|
December 9, 1830 –December 10, 1832
|Preceded by||Stephen Decatur Miller|
|Succeeded by||Robert Y. Hayne|
|Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives |
from South Carolina's 2nd district
December 13, 1822 –March 3, 1829
|Preceded by||William Lowndes|
|Succeeded by||Robert W. Barnwell|
|25th Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina|
|Preceded by||Elias Horry|
|Succeeded by||John Geddes|
|Member of the South Carolina Senate from St. Philip's and St. Michael's Parish|
November 28, 1836 – November 26, 1838
|Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from St. Philip's and St. Michael's Parish|
November 27, 1820 – November 25, 1822
|Born||May 8, 1786|
Charleston, South Carolina, United States
|Died||November 15, 1857 71) (aged|
Gulf of Mexico
|Political party||States' Rights Democrat|
James Hamilton Jr. (May 8, 1786 – November 15, 1857) was an American lawyer and politician. He represented South Carolina in the U.S. Congress (1822–1829) and served as its 53rd Governor (1830–1832). Prior to that he achieved widespread recognition and public approval for his actions as Intendant (mayor) of the city of Charleston, South Carolina in 1822, during the period when plans for a slave rising were revealed. As governor, he led the state during the Nullification Crisis of 1832, at the peak of his power.
Hamilton organized a city militia in June 1822 to arrest suspects, including the purported free black leader Denmark Vesey, supported the City Council in commissioning a Court of Magistrates and Freeholders, and defended their actions, including ordering the execution of Vesey and 34 other blacks, and deporting of tens of others. He helped shape the public perception of the Court proceedings and the reasons for the revolt, as well as gaining legislation in 1822 for more controls on slaves and free people of color. Because of problems with crippling debt after 1839, Hamilton's reputation suffered.
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James Hamilton was born on May 8, 1786, in Charleston, South Carolina, to James and Elizabeth (Lynch) Hamilton, both of the Lowcountry planter elite; his mother was the daughter of Congressman Thomas Lynch and sister of Thomas Lynch Jr.
His parents sent him to preparatory schools in New England; he studied in Newport, Rhode Island, and Dedham, Massachusetts, before returning to Charleston. In the city he read law under prominent attorneys Daniel Huger and William Drayton. Hamilton passed the bar and went into practice in Drayton's office; he later was in partnership with James L. Petigru.
On November 15, 1813, Hamilton married Elizabeth Mathews Heyward, daughter of wealthy low country South Carolina planter Daniel Heyward and Ann SarahTrezevant; her paternal grandfather was Thomas Heyward Jr., a South Carolinian who served in the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. She brought three plantations and approximately 200 slaves to the marriage. The couple had eleven children, ten males and one female.
Hamilton entered politics in the state. He was elected in 1818 to the South Carolina state House of Representatives, serving from 1819 until early 1822.
That year Hamilton was elected as Intendant, or mayor, of the city of Charleston. He was serving when plans were revealed in the spring to white officials of a slave "rising," reportedly led by Denmark Vesey, a free black carpenter and former slave, who was a leader of the large AME African-American Church. Hamilton quickly organized a militia to defend the city and round up and arrest slave suspects. Its forces roamed the city and its environs for weeks.
With Hamilton's leadership, the City Council commissioned a Court of Magistrates and Freeholders to review the cases, hear testimony, and determine guilt and punishment. They conducted their proceedings in secret, beginning in the middle of June. Suspects were arrested throughout the city. On July 1, the court published its initial findings related to the first 30 suspects: declaring Denmark Vesey and five slaves guilty of conspiracy and condemning them to death. They were executed on July 2 by hanging. In total, most during the next weeks, the courts examined a total of 131 men, convicted a total of 67 men of conspiracy and hanged 35 (including Vesey and others of the first group), through July 1822. A total of 31 men were transported, 27 reviewed and acquitted, and 38 questioned and released.
The court proceedings were controversial, criticized by United States Supreme Court Justice William Johnson and South Carolina Governor Thomas Bennett Jr. for their secrecy and lack of due process, as defendants were not allowed to confront accusers and witnesses were promised secrecy. But, Hamilton captured the public opinion of the events, publishing a 46-page article in August, taking credit for the city's actions in preventing a huge uprising and bloodbath. He also shaped the Court's official Report of its proceedings, published in October. Historian Lacy K. Ford has said, "the balance of the evidence clearly points to the exaggeration of the plot and the misappropriation of its lessons by Hamilton, the Court, and their allies for their own political advantage."Robert Tinkler, biographer of Hamilton, thinks he was ruthless about pursuing suspects because he believed the plot was real.
Hamilton built his political career on these events. In the fall, he lobbied the legislature to gain his agenda of increasing controls on slaves and free blacks in the state. He opposed the increasing paternalism in slave treatment which was based on Christian teachings. Hamilton was successful in gaining passage of state laws to achieve his goals,including the Seaman's Act of 1822, which required free black sailors to be imprisoned when their ships were in port in Charleston, to prevent their coming into contact with slaves in the city. As this violated international treaties, the law caused conflict with the federal government. Hamilton upheld the state's right to make such a law, but it was declared unconstitutional. Hamilton gained increased restrictions on free blacks, with a state law that prohibited them from returning to the state to live if they left for any reason, and controls on slave worship and gatherings. He ordered the congregation of the AME Church to be dispersed, and the building destroyed. The minister Morris Brown thanked Hamilton for helping him escape the state; historian Robert L. Paquette credits Hamilton with helping contain white vigilantism.
When South Carolina Congressman William Lowndes resigned from the U.S. Congress in May 1822, Hamilton was well known and had much public support. He was appointed to complete Lowndes' term, starting his congressional career on December 13, 1822, while still serving as mayor. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1824 to a full term, and re-elected in 1826 and 1828, serving until 1829. He had led opposition to the administration of John Quincy Adams and opposed the Tariff Acts of 1824 and 1828. Increasingly at odds with the national government, Hamilton declined to be nominated for another term and returned to his home state to prepare for confrontation.
Hamilton was elected by the state legislature as Governor of South Carolina in 1830, and built up the States' Rights and Free Trade Party. He led the state during the Nullification Crisis of 1832, when more than 80% of the state convention's 162 delegates voted to nullify the federal tariffs of 1828 and 1832.After Robert Y. Hayne was elected by the legislature to governor, he commissioned Hamilton as a brigadier general in the state's militia. Hamilton prepared for possibly defending the state against federal forces on nullification.
Interested in supporting the expansion of slavery in western territories, Hamilton personally lent $216,000 to the young Republic of Texas in the 1830s. Subsequent to that, he made a number of poor business decisions, aggravated by the Panic of 1837, and leaving him deeply in debt for hundreds of thousands of dollars by 1839 – a condition often shared by other planters. Perhaps because his condition reminded them unpleasantly of their own, Hamilton's struggles with debt and poor decision-making caused a steep decline over the next twenty years in his reputation among the planter class in South Carolina. At the time of his death in 1857, he received no recognition from his home state.
He was appointed as loan commissioner for Texas by President Mirabeau Lamar and traveled to Europe to try to secure much-needed credit for the new republic. He did succeed in negotiating some commercial treaties. He also gained diplomatic recognition for Texas from Great Britain and the Netherlands. After being replaced in 1842, Hamilton struggled over several years to try to obtain federal reimbursement for his personal loan to Texas.
Hamilton moved with his family to Texas in 1855, nearly ten years after the republic had been annexed and made a U.S. state. In 1857, while Hamilton was returning by the steamboat Opelousas to Texas from Washington, D.C., his ship was hit by the Galveston and exploded on fire; it sank within half an hour off Avery Island, Louisiana, in the Gulf of Mexico. Twenty people died from the Opelousas, including Hamilton after he gave up his seat in a lifeboat to a woman and her child.
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William Johnson Jr. was an American attorney, state legislator, and jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1804 to 1834. When he was 32 years old, Johnson was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Thomas Jefferson. He was the first Jeffersonian Republican member of the Court as well as the second Justice from the state of South Carolina. During his tenure, Johnson restored the act of delivering seriatim opinions. He wrote about half of the dissents during the Marshall Court, leading historians to nickname him the "first dissenter".
Thomas Pinckney was an early American statesman, diplomat, and soldier in both the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, achieving the rank of major general. He served as Governor of South Carolina and as the U.S. minister to Great Britain. He was also the Federalist candidate for vice president in the 1796 election.
The nullification crisis was a United States sectional political crisis in 1832–33, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, which involved a confrontation between the state of South Carolina and the federal government. It ensued after South Carolina declared the federal Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 unconstitutional and therefore null and void within the sovereign boundaries of the state. However, courts at the state and federal level, including the U.S. Supreme Court, repeatedly have rejected the theory of nullification by states.
Denmark Vesey was an African American leader in Charleston, South Carolina. He worked as a carpenter. In June 1822 he was accused and convicted of being the leader of "the rising," a potentially major slave revolt which was scheduled to take place in the city on July 14. He was executed on July 2.
Barnard Elliot Bee Sr. (1787–1853) was an American attorney and politician. A native of South Carolina, he, with his family, was an early settler of the Republic of Texas. He became a political leader there, serving in several political-appointee positions in the republic.
Robert Young Hayne was an American lawyer, planter and politician. He served in the United States Senate from 1823 to 1832, as Governor of South Carolina 1832–1834, and as Mayor of Charleston 1836–1837. He was a vocal proponent of the states' rights doctrine, in collaboration with John C. Calhoun and James Hamilton Jr.
South Carolina was one of the original thirteen states of the United States. European exploration of the area began in April 1540, with the Hernando de Soto expedition, who unwittingly introduced new Eurasian diseases that decimated the local Native American populations, because they lacked immunity. In 1663, the English Crown granted land to eight proprietors of what became the colony. The first settlers came to the Province of Carolina at the port of Charleston in 1670. They were mostly wealthy planters and their slaves coming from the English Caribbean colony of Barbados. They started to develop their commodity crops of sugar and cotton. The Province of Carolina was split into North and South Carolina in 1712. Pushing back the Native Americans in the Yamasee War (1715–17), colonists next overthrew the proprietors' rule, seeking more direct representation. In 1719, South Carolina was officially made a crown colony.
Antebellum South Carolina is typically defined by historians as South Carolina during the period between the War of 1812, which ended in 1815, and the American Civil War, which began in 1861.
Gullah Jack, also known as Couter Jack and sometimes referred to as "Gullah" Jack Pritchard, was a Methodist, an African conjurer, and a slave to Paul Pritchard in Charleston, South Carolina.
Thomas Bennett Jr. was an American businessman, banker and politician, the 48th Governor of South Carolina from 1820 to 1822. A respected politician, he had served several terms in the state legislature since 1804, including four years as Speaker of the House, and a term in the state Senate.
Henry William de Saussure was an American lawyer, state legislator and jurist from South Carolina who became a political leader as a member of the Federalist Party following the Revolutionary War. He was appointed by President George Washington as the 2nd Director of the United States Mint, was a co-sponsor of the legislation that established the South Carolina College which was to become the University of South Carolina and was given the title of Chancellor as a justice of the SC Equity Court, also known as chancery court. In this capacity he wrote and codified much of the state's equity law still in use today. He served as Intendant (Mayor) of Charleston while his son, William Ford de Saussure, likewise, served as Intendant (Mayor) of Columbia, SC.
The history of Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the longest and most diverse of any community in the United States, spanning hundreds of years of physical settlement beginning in 1670 through modern times. Charleston was the leading city in the South from the colonial era to the Civil War The city grew wealthy through the export of rice and, later, sea island cotton and it was the base for many wealthy merchants and landowners.
Robert James Turnbull was an American lawyer, planter, writer and politician from South Carolina who also published under the name Brutus. His essays in the Charleston Mercury advocating nullification were published as a pamphlet under the title The Crisis: Or, Essays on the Usurpations of the Federal Government, which has been described as "the handbook for nullification and resistance."
This article examines South Carolina's history with an emphasis on the lives, status, and contributions of African Americans. African slaves first arrived in the region in 1526, and the institution of slavery remained until the end of the Civil War in 1865. Until slavery's abolition, the free black population of South Carolina never exceeded 2%. Beginning during the Reconstruction Era, African Americans were elected to political offices in large numbers, leading to South Carolina's first majority-black government. Toward the end of the 1870s however, the Democratic Party regained power and passed laws aimed at disenfranchising African Americans, including the denial of the right to vote. Between the 1870s and 1960s, African Americans and whites lived segregated lives; people of color and whites were not allowed to use the same schools or public facilities. African Americans were treated as second-class citizens leading to the civil rights movement in the 1960s. In modern America, African Americans constitute 22% of the state's legislature, and in 2014, the first African American U.S. Senator since Reconstruction, Tim Scott, was elected. In 2015, the Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina Statehouse after the Charleston church shooting.
Morris Brown was one of the founders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and its second presiding bishop. He founded Emanuel AME Church in his native Charleston, South Carolina. It was implicated in the slave uprising planned by Denmark Vesey, also of this church, and after that was suppressed, Brown was imprisoned for nearly a year. He was never convicted of any crime.
A House Divided: Denmark Vesey's Rebellion is a 1982 television film about Denmark Vesey, a literate skilled carpenter and former slave who planned a slave rebellion in 1822 in Charleston, South Carolina. Denmark Vesey's Rebellion was produced by WPBT and PBS, and Yaphet Kotto played Vesey.
James Henry Ladson (1795–1868) was an American planter and businessman from Charleston, South Carolina. He was the owner of James H. Ladson & Co., a major Charleston firm that was active in the rice and cotton business, and owned over 200 slaves. He was also the Danish Consul in South Carolina, a director of the State Bank and held numerous other business, church and civic offices. James H. Ladson was a strong proponent of slavery and especially the use of religion to maintain discipline among the slaves. He and other members of the Charleston planter and merchant elite played a key role in launching the American Civil War. Among Ladson's descendants is Ursula von der Leyen, who briefly lived under the alias Rose Ladson.
The Denmark Vesey Monument is a monumental statue in Charleston, South Carolina, United States. The monument was erected in 2014 in Hampton Park and honors Denmark Vesey, a freedman who lived in Charleston and was executed in 1822 for plotting a slave revolt. It was designed by American sculptor Ed Dwight.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from South Carolina's 2nd congressional district
Robert Woodward Barnwell
| Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina |
Stephen Decatur Miller
| Governor of South Carolina |
Robert Y. Hayne