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“T” is for Taxpayers' Conventions

South Carolina from A to Z logo

  “T” is for Taxpayers' Conventions. In 1871 and 1874 white Democrats, frustrated with high taxes and the Republicans' domination of state government, held statewide conventions to register their protests. The 1871 convention met in response to protest that year's tax increase to the unheard of level of eleven mills on the dollar. In 1873 widespread reports of profligate spending and financial malfeasance by the Republican state government and another tax increase led to a second convention. This body petitioned the President and Congress, complaining of “taxation without representation” by which they meant that the class that paid the bulk of the taxes—white Democrats—was unable to win elective office. The Taxpayers' Conventions of 1871 and 1874 did succeed in shaming the Republicans into launching their own investigation, which led to fiscal reforms under Governor Daniel Chamberlain.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson 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.