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“R” is for Regulators

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“R” is for Regulators. The Regulators were backcountry settlers who banded together in 1767 in response to a crime wave that swept their region in the aftermath of the disruptive war with the Cherokee Indians (1759-1761). Lacking local sheriffs, courts, or jails and frustrated by the distance and leniency of the colony’s judicial system, Regulators took the law into their own hands. Protection of lives and property was the primary impetus for Regulator activities, but the movement grew out of tensions between frontier settlers and the colonial administration in Charleston. In response to the Regulators, an armed group called the Moderators organized to stop the vigilantism—and bloodshed seemed likely. A truce in March 1769 signified the end of the Regulator movement. The Regulator uprising signaled regional tensions that would divide South Carolina for decades.

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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.