"C" is for Cooper, Robert Archer (1874-1953)

Mar 5, 2019

Credit SC Public Radio

"C" is for Cooper, Robert Archer (1874-1953). Governor. A native of Laurens, Cooper received a law degree from a school in Puerto Rico. In 1898 he opened a law practice in Laurens. Two years later he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. He served two terms and then was elected solicitor of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. In 1918 he won the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor and was elected. Cooper proposed an ambitious reform program—which with support from his legislative allies—was accomplished: a guaranteed seven-month public school term; higher teacher salaries; expansion of public health services; funds to pave roadways; and a ten hour day and fifty-five hour per week limitation for textile workers. Re-elected, Robert Archer Cooper’s progressive agenda was curtailed by an agricultural depression and post-war economic recession.