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“O” is for Orr, James Lawrence (1822-1873)

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“O” is for Orr, James Lawrence (1822-1873). Congressman, governor. A native of Pendleton District, Orr was admitted to the bar in 1843. He served in the General Assembly (1844-1847) where he championed upcountry interests. Elected to the U.S. Congress as a States’ Rights Democrat, he served five terms (1849-1859). By sentiment a Unionist, Orr nevertheless was an adherent of states’ rights and the right of secession. In 1852 he became the leader of National Democrats in South Carolina. Orr was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives (thirty-fifth Congress). When Lincoln was elected, he supported secession. In 1861 he was elected to the Confederate Senate where he was a bitter critic of Jefferson Davis. in 1865, he became South Carolina’s first popularly elected governor. James Lawrence Orr was removed from the governorship by military order in 1868.

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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.