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"O" is for Orr, James Lawrence [1822-1873]

South Carolina A to Z

"O" is for Orr, James Lawrence [1822-1873]. Congressman. Governor. Orr’s public career began in the General Assembly. In 1849 he was elected to the U.S. Congress and served five terms. By sentiment a Unionist, he believed that a strong national Democratic Party would best protect the state’s interests. In 1857 he was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. With Lincoln’s election, he supported secession and was a delegate to the Secession Convention. He served in the Confederate Senate from 1861 until 1865. Under South Carolina’s 1865 constitution, he became the state's first popularly elected governor. In 1868 he was removed from office by federal authorities. He later joined the Republican Party and, in 1872--as a gesture of sectional reconciliation--James Lawrence Orr was appointed United States Minister to Russia.

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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.