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“L” is for Loyalists

“L” is for Loyalists. Historians have correctly labeled the American Revolution in South Carolina as a civil war. At least five thousand Carolinians took up arms for the King. Thousands more Loyalist-leaning Carolinians helped to cripple the American cause in the state by spying for the British, supplying them with provisions, and other acts of resistance. Perhaps twenty-five percent of the white population opposed the movement for independence or supported British authority during the war. But a far greater number resisted in more subtle ways—by not paying taxes or avoiding conscription. One common element among Loyalists in South Carolina is that nearly all immigrated to the province after 1765; only about one in six was native born. Approximately 4,200 white Loyalists emigrated from South Carolina at the end of the Revolutionary War.

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.