Planters, Merchants, and Revolution: Lobbying Power and the Economic Origins of Independence in South Carolina
Date of Award
Open Access Thesis
Abner L. Holton
The origins of the American Revolution in South Carolina derived from politicoeconomic factors. Most prominent among those factors was the lobbying power that elite South Carolinians sought within a new confederation. The ruling class of the province looked to the British Caribbean and perceived an immense lobbying power that resulted from the strong economies of sugar islands such as Jamaica. South Carolina simply could not match this power because of the disparate economies. Islands of the British Caribbean enjoyed tremendous clout in shaping imperial policy because of the revenue raised by sugar exports. On the mainland, however, South Carolina enjoyed one of the stronger economies, second only to the Chesapeake region. By uniting into a confederation of the other mainland colonies, whether independence was declared or not, elite South Carolinians could claim primary politico-economic status over other political units. This leap in status would result in heightened lobbying power for the province within the new confederation. All of this points to the fact that the origins of the Revolution within South Carolina were material, not ideological, and were driven by the interests of the merchants and planters, who comprised the ruling class of the colony.
Lear, C. D.(2017). Planters, Merchants, and Revolution: Lobbying Power and the Economic Origins of Independence in South Carolina. (Master's thesis). Retrieved from https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/4077