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"C" is for Commons House of Assembly (1670-1776)

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Commons House of Assembly (1670-1776). The Commons House of Assembly (changed simply to the Assembly in 1744) was the dominant political institution in colonial South Carolina. It served as the lower house of the provincial legislature and was the only popularly elected branch of government in the colony. By the middle of the eighteenth century the Assembly had assumed control over all aspects of government—including initiating laws, appointing revenue officers, establishing courts, supervising the Indian trade, selecting the colonial agent in London, overseeing elections, and administering all governmental expenditures. However, it was not just concerned with dominating provincial affairs. It intentionally retarded the development of local government by refusing to delegate broad tax powers to local government institutions. In short, the Commons House of Assembly reigned supreme in colonial South Carolina.

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.