First installment: 150 years later, Civil War legacies still affect SC

01/14/2011 8:40 AM

01/14/2011 8:42 AM

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When South Carolina started the Civil War - seceding 150 years ago - it was one of the country’s wealthiest states, with wealth based on slavery. Four years later, the state was one of the nation’s poorest - and slavery no longer existed. Once a month through September, The State will look at the ways the Civil War changed - and continues to change - South Carolina in our series "The Civil War: 150 years later."

150 years later, Civil War legacies still affect SC

On a foggy day near Christmas 1860, a delegation of South’s Carolina wealthiest, most powerful citizens - planters, judges, legislators and clergy, all white men - assembled at Columbia’s stately red brick-columned First Baptist Church to contemplate smashing the Palmetto State’s bond with the United States of America.

Within hours, the assembly adopted a resolution that for some among the group - those who relished the moniker of "fire-eater" - thought was 30 years past due: "The state of South Carolina should forthwith secede from the Federal Union."

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S.C. to mark start of momentous, tragic war

Starting this month, South Carolina will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War with a series of events that underscore this state’s central role in that titanic, tragic struggle.

Almost no state money has been spent to organize or hold the events.

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Viewpoint: Abel Bartley

To discuss the Civil War without talking about slavery is the equivalent of talking about the American Revolution without talking about taxation or representation.

Viewpoint: Pelham Lyles

[I]f we cover up each culture’s part in history and revise its accounting, we create myths that cast shadows on truth.

On the Web

Dept.of Archives and History

National Parks Service

Lowcountry Civil War Commemoration

Ordinance of Secession: Charles Lesser | View all videos

Upcoming events

Monday - Institute Hall. Unveiling of a S.C. historical marker at the site of Institute Hall, where - 150 years ago - South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union. 11:15 a.m., 134 Meeting St., Charleston.

Monday - Secession ball and play, starting at 6 p.m. at Charleston’s Gailliard Municipal Auditorium. Sponsored by the Confederate Heritage Trust and Sons of Confederate Veterans. $100 a person includes dinner. More information at

Jan. 8 - Firing on the Star of the West. About 20 faculty and staff from The Citadel will re-enact the 150th anniversary of what many consider the first hostile shots of the Civil War, when Citadel cadets on Morris Island fired on the steamship Star of the West, seeking to resupply Union troops at Fort Sumter.


A timeline: Events that led to secession.

Facts: Some of the people and issues that played a role in secession. + Daily facts

Viewpoints: Two South Carolinians, Clemson professor Abel Bartley and Pelham Lyle , descendant of a secession signer, offer their opinions on the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Changing South Carolina: A month-by-month look at the war’s legacies.

Photos: View a gallery of descendants of signers of the ordinance.

Video: Charles Lesser, retired S.C. Department of Archives and History archivist, explains the history of the Ordinance of Secession and assesses its significance in U.S. history. First Baptist Church curator Harvey Teal details the story of the Secession Convention in Columbia and how the views of modern-day Southern Baptists differ from their 19th-century counterparts.

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