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"T" is for Taxpayers’ Conventions (1871, 1874)

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"T" is for Taxpayers’ Conventions (1871, 1874). In 1871 and 1874 white Democrats in South Carolina, frustrated with high taxes and the Republicans’ domination of state government, held statewide conventions to register their protests. The 1871 convention met in Columbia to protest that year’s tax increase to the unheard-of level of eleven mills to the dollar. Reports of profligate spending and financial malfeasance by the Republican state government surfaced, accompanied by higher taxes led to more protest. The 1874 convention petitioned President Grant and Congress, claiming “taxation without representation”—meaning that white Democrats—who paid the bulk of the taxes were unable to win elective office. The Taxpayers’ conventions achieved their most important results indirectly by shining a light on the financial situation of the state and shaming the Republican government into conducting its investigation.

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.