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“B” is for the Bluffton Movement

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  “B” is for the Bluffton Movement [1844]. Aggrieved by the Tariff of 1842 and the refusal of Congress to annex Texas, a group of planters from St. Luke’s Parish decided to organize the first political movement with the express goal of South Carolina’s independent secession from the Union. They met in in July 1844, under a large oak in Bluffton, South Carolina. The “Bluffton Movement,” as it became known was a call to secession if the South was not guaranteed its rights to slavery, a lower tariff, and states’ rights. The movement’s political ideology began the radical separatist policy that would eventually bring Robert Barnwell Rhett into national prominence as the chief spokesman for southern secession. Primarily because of John C. Calhoun’s opposition to the movement and its goals, the Bluffton Movement attracted few followers outside the Beaufort region.

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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.