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"C" is for Colonial Agents

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Colonial Agents. South Carolina, like Britain’s other American colonies, had no elected representatives in Parliament to argue for its interests. The problem for the colony then was how to get Parliament to pay attention to its particular concerns. Parliament, too, desired an informed source on its distant settlement. The answer--beginning in 1712--was a permanent colonial agent, paid for by the colony’s Commons House of Assembly. He reported regularly to the Commons House on matters of interest to the colony. He liaised with the Board of Trade, the agency responsible for overseas trade. In time the agent came to represent all the colony’s interests, but the leading interest was trade. After 1770, when colonial arguments and concerns became more rights based, South Carolina’s colonial agent—and most other colonial agents sheared away.

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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.