Unit 5: Post Reconstruction. South Carolina History. Wade Hampton & the Bourbons.
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Gov. Wade Hampton’s supporters were known as the Redeemers (because they “redeemed” the state from the Republicans, and placed the antebellum elite back in political power) or the Bourbons (from the French royal family that was restored to the throne after the French Revolution).
They wanted to restore the government as closely as possible to the its prewar state
During this time, plantations were being replaced by small farmers, share croppers, and tenant farmers
Even though the elite were back in power, they did nothing to help the struggling poor farmers
When cotton prices were decreasing and farmers couldn’t pay their debts, the Bourbons passed a crop lien law that allowed creditors to have first claim on a farmer’s crop. This practice kept the farmers in continual debt.
Wade Hampton was willing to support the rights of African Americans to vote and hold office
Other Democrats were not supportive and moved to take away the African American’s right to vote
The Bourbons prevented freedmen from voting by using the Eight Box Law (which required a freedmen to be able to read in order to put the ballot in the right box) and the poll tax (which kept poor people from voting)
These regulations not only affected African Americans, but also poor whites
In order to offer a little assistance to poor, illiterate white voters, “grandfather clause” legislation was passed that allowed them to vote if their grandfathers had been able to vote in 1860
The South Carolina legislature also redrew Congressional districts so that only one district had an African American majority, which limited the number of African Americans elected to the United States Congress
The women’s suffrage (the right to vote) movement continued in South Carolina
Women’s organizations that formed in South Carolina to support women’s right to vote were disappointed when in 1920 the state of South Carolina refused to ratify the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution that allowed women to vote
Racism prevented an accurate count of the number of people who were killed, some estimates place the number as high as 500
The city didn’t get state and federal assistance, but the people of Charleston were able to form the most rapid, humane and financially responsible recovery from the destruction of a large scale disaster in American history up to that time
Free land and the transcontinental railroad used aggressive advertising and land sales to bring settlers to the West through but also provided farmers access to new markets
African Americans were drawn to the urban areas in the Northeast and the Midwest for job opportunities in factories that were not open to them in the mills of South Carolina (such as such as weaving or dying fabric)