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"O" is for Orr, James Lawrence [1822-1873]

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"O" is for Orr, James Lawrence [1822-1873]. Congressman. Governor. After serving in the General Assembly, Orr was elected to the U.S. Congress as a States-Rights Democrat and served five terms [1849-1859]. By sentiment a Unionist, he believed that the state’s interests would best be protected by a strong national Democratic Party. In 1857 he was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. With Lincoln’s election, he supported secession and was a delegate to the Secession Convention. He served in the Confederate Senate from 1861 until 1865. Under South Carolina’s 1865 constitution, he was became the state’s first popularly-elected governor. In 1868 he was removed from office by federal authorities. He later joined the Republican party and, in 1872--as a gesture of sectional reconciliation--James Lawrence Orr was appointed United States Minister to Russia.

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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.