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"W” is for Wigfall, Louis Trezevant (1816-1874)

“W” is for Wigfall, Louis Trezevant (1816-1874). U.S. senator. A native of Edgefield, Wigfall graduated from the South Carolina College. He studied law in Edgefield and was admitted to the bar. Financially irresponsible, he squandered his moderate inheritance on gambling, liquor, and prostitutes. A proponent of the expansion of slavery and opponent of tariffs, Wigfall viewed secession as a means of settling sectional differences. Plagued with financial difficulties, he moved his family to Texas. He served in the Texas legislature and in 1859 was elected to the U.S. Senate where he actively fought proposals to ease the political crisis. In 1862 he was elected to the Confederate Senate where he proposed the first conscription law in American History. Louis Trezevant Wigfall clashed with Jefferson Davis over military policy and was a leading opponent of the Davis administration.

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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.