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“H” is for Hammond, James Henry (1807-1864)

South Carolina From A to Z
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“H” is for Hammond, James Henry (1807-1864). Congressman, governor, U.S. senator. After graduating from the South Carolina College, Hammond taught school briefly. He then studied law and was admitted to the bar. In 1830 he assumed the helm of the Columbia Southern Times, where his virulent pro-nullification editorials brought him to the attention of the state’s political elite. Hammond was elected to Congress in 1834. In 1840 he lost the election for governor but won in 1842. Political failure and personal indiscretions led to his withdrawal from public life. In 1857 he won election to the U.S. Senate where his “Cotton is King” speech—in which he argued that all societies needed a “mud sill” class to perform the drudgery of labor—received considerable notoriety. With Lincoln’s election, James Henry Hammond resigned from the senate.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.