Early Republic and War of 1812 (1790-1815)

Bull, William, II

During the 1770s Bull’s political views grew increasingly out of step as South Carolina and other colonies moved toward radical opposition to the crown. Lord William Campbell, the last royal governor, arrived at Charleston on June 18, 1775, and took office, but his term lasted only three months. On September 15 he was forced to flee the city for refuge on a British warship in Charleston harbor. The revolution was under way, and Bull’s position was an impossible one. He resigned from the Royal Council and retired to his Ashley Hall plantation. In 1777 he refused to take the oath of allegiance to the revolutionary government and was banished from the state.

Burke, Aedanus

Burke was elected as an anti-Federalist to the First Congress of the United States, commencing service in New York on March 4, 1789. He served on thirty-three committees and was instrumental in crafting bills that led to the judiciary act and the creation of the Library of Congress, the postal system, and the patent system. His congressional service was marked by an incident with Alexander Hamilton, whom Burke felt had slighted southern soldiers when Hamilton eulogized General Nathanael Greene.

Burt, Armistead

In April 1865 Confederate First Lady Varina Howell Davis and her family stayed in the Burt home for twelve days after they fled Richmond. They left Abbeville two days before Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge, and the Confederacy’s senior military advisers arrived. On May 2, 1865, at Burt’s house, the leaders held their final council of war. On advice from his advisers, Davis agreed that further resistance was impossible and that the Confederate cause was lost.

Butler, Andrew Pickens

Butler is perhaps best remembered for his role in the attack on Charles Sumner—even though he was not present for one minute of it. On May 19 and 20, Sumner launched into a speech entitled “The Crime against Kansas.” His villain was Butler, who was absent. Butler was “the Don Quixote of slavery,” and his mistress in this morality play, “though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight . . . the harlot, Slavery.” Sumner then compounded the insult by mocking Butler’s habit of spitting when he spoke. On May 22, in an incident that some historians view as a critical turning point toward civil war, Butler’s cousin Preston S. Brooks avenged his kinsman by caning Sumner on the floor of the Senate.

Butler, Pierce

Although Butler served in the General Assembly from 1776 to 1789, his most significant political accomplishments came at the national level. In 1787 the legislature elected Butler to both the Confederation Congress and the constitutional convention scheduled to meet later that spring in Philadelphia. In the constitutional debates, Butler generally supported proposals for a strong central government, a single executive, and wealth rather than population as the basis of representation. He also championed South Carolina interests, especially slavery, and vigorously opposed the three-fifths compromise, arguing that slaves represented property wealth and should be counted fully for purposes of representation.

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