"S" is for Slave Codes

Jul 20, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

"S" is for Slave Codes. South Carolina’s earliest formal code of law regarding slaves, established in 1690,borrowed heavily from the statutes governing slavery in Barbados. It codified the institution of chattel slavery in South Carolina. Although disallowed by the Lords Proprietors, a similar code was enacted in 1696 and revised in 1712. The enforcement of the revised code was difficult and frequently haphazard. The Stono Rebellion in 1739 resulted in a more rigid slave code that would remain the basis for South Carolina slavery until its end in 1865—and, which influenced slave codes throughout the American South. The 1740 “Bill for the better ordering and governing of Negros and other Slaves in this Province” (more commonly called the Negro Act) laid out the legal basis for a mature colonial slave society based on enslaved labor.