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“D” is for Dial, Nathaniel Barksdale (1862-1940)

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“D” is for Dial, Nathaniel Barksdale (1862-1940) U.S. senator. A native of Laurens, Dial attended several colleges before he established a law practice in Laurens. Influenced by the New South movement, he became an advocate for improving the region’s economy by building financial institutions, developing energy resources, and industrialization. In 1912, Dial unsuccessfully challenged incumbent U.S. Senator Benjamin Tillman, but in 1918 won the Democratic primary and was elected to the U.S. Senate. His conservatism prevented him from supporting measures popular in the state: the bonus bill for World War I veterans and the federal minimum wage. Dial was defeated in his campaign for reelection in 1924. In 1926, he tried to unseat the state’s popular senior senator, and lost. After his defeat in 1926, Nathaniel Barksdale Dial remained in Washington and practiced law.

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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.