Most of the eight original proprietors had remained staunch supporters of the Stuart monarchy after the execution of King Charles I in 1649, and others changed sides to become key figures in the restoration of his son in 1660.
The granting of large estates to titled aristocrats was important in setting a tone for the colony, but the granting of lands by “headrights” to the commoners was much more important.
The Fundamental Constitutions established a Carolina aristocracy, with the Lords Proprietors at the apex of society, provincial nobles called landgraves and cassiques (or caciques), and freemen. Landless tenants, called leetmen, were the base of the social pyramid described in the constitution. Slavery was authorized and protected.
As a friend of the government, Johnson’s career became embroiled in the hothouse politics of late-seventeenth-century England and his actions rarely escaped suspicions of ulterior motives.
Like many proprietary governors, Robert Johnson struggled to balance proprietary demands with political realities in South Carolina.
Manigault rose from modest origins to become the leading merchant and private banker of colonial South Carolina.