Special Reports

September 25, 2011

New Nullifiers

A century after John C. Calhoun, the threat of integration revives South Carolina’s long-standing opposition to an activist federal government. Today, South Carolinians – including leaders of a diverse GOP – again are among the leaders in a national debate questioning the legitimate role of the federal government.

Strom Thurmond reacts to cheers at the Dixiecrat's State's Rights Convention in Birmingham, Ala. , July 17, 1948 | AP

Old regional battles echo in modern S.C. politics

When Gov. Nikki Haley declared she would not be hamstrung by President Barack Obama’s new health care law or bullied by a federal labor agency over Boeing, she expressed in her firm Southern voice an age-old South Carolina distrust of Washington.

The same holds true for the four S.C. freshmen Republican congressmen who this month defied House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and opposed any attempt to raise the federal debt ceiling. The four — Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg, Jeff Duncan of Laurens, Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land and Tim Scott of North Charleston — all voted against a deal to ensure payment of the federal government’s debts.

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Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Jeff Duncan, Rep. Tim Scott, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Rep. Trey Gowdy

Viewpoint: Dan Fowler

19th century continues to shape S.C. politics, society

South Carolinians have a centuries-old animosity toward political and cultural forces that seek to change the ways we do things.

Viewpoint: Trey Gowdy

Don’t let Civil War muddle modern politics

South Carolina has a rich and provocative political history. From John C. Calhoun and the “Nullifiers” to Strom Thurmond and the “Dixiecrats,” race and politics were inextricably intertwined.

Previously in the Series

Resources on the Web

Dept.of Archives and History

National Parks Service

Lowcountry Civil War Commemoration

Library of Congress
Hamburg Massacre debate - U. S. House of Representatives, July 15th and 18th, 1876
President Grant letter to S.C. Governor Chamberlain about the Hamburg massacre.
Library of Congress photo collections

Upcoming in the Series

Upcoming installments in The State's once-a-month series on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War


The Civil War undeniably changed South Carolina. Pre-war coastal rice plantations are today part of a new tourism-and-retirement "plantation" society. But some legacies remain unresolved, including sometimes troubled race relations, lingering poverty, intrastate regional

rivalries, and debate about the proper roles of education and government.

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