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“D” is for Drayton, William Henry [1742-1779]

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“D” is for Drayton, William Henry [1742-1779]. Revolutionary Leader. Planter. In 1769, Drayton’s essay in the South Carolina Gazette, opposing the non-importation association, created a political firestorm that resulted in his being ostracized politically, socially, and economically. He went to England where he hoped his views would be more appreciated. In England, he published The Letters of Freeman, a compilation of his essays in favor of British imperial policy—which won for him a seat on South Carolina’s Royal Council. Back home, increasingly concerned about imperial policies, he became an outspoken champion of colonial rights. In 1774 he was elected a member of the Provincial Congress, sat on all the important revolutionary committees, and served as President of the Congress. In 1776, William Henry Drayton became the first prominent South Carolinian to openly call for separation from Great Britain.

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.