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

Jun 19, 2019

Credit SC Public Radio

"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.