Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Thomas Brown


If the project Reconstruction was to succeed in the South, Republicans needed a significant minority of native white Southern support. The printers of Columbia, South Carolina seemed like a promising group of potential Republicans. They were members of an urban skilled trade that had a long history of activism. There were several immigrants and native Northerners among them. Plus, the Republican presence in the South created the possibility of more jobs and patronage money for them. All the relevant data suggests that the printers of Columbia could have been scalawags, but they ultimately were not. My research shows that the patronage money never reached their hands. The large degree of familial relations and close associations in the printing community through the typographical union, the workplace, and other fraternal orders likely helped nudge them away from the unknown entity of the Republican party lest they be socially ostracized. Though the Republicans did not get the backing they needed from the printers, they did change the way state printing was carried out by creating the Republican Printing Company. Instead of newspaper editors with more social status than printing experience, printing companies unrelated to newspapers whose owners came from much more humble origins carried out state printing. The main interaction between Republicans and the printers of Columbia did not translate to political support.


© 2017, John Lustrea