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"S" is for Smith, William (ca. 1762-1840)

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"S" is for Smith, William (ca. 1762-1840). U.S. Senator. After attending Mount Zion College in Winnsboro, Smith opened a law practice in York District. He was also a successful planter acquiring land holdings across the state and in Alabama and Louisiana. He was a Jeffersonian of the purist stripe, espousing strict-constructionist and states’ rights principles. He represented York in the South Carolina House and Senate. In 1816 he was elected to the U.S. Senate. During a Senate speech over Missouri’s admission to the Union, Smith became one of the first to defend slavery as a positive good. He and Calhoun fought for control of South Carolina’s states’ rights movement. After being defeated for re-election, he tired of state politics. In 1831, William Smith left South Carolina and moved to his lands in Madison County, Alabama.

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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.