South Carolina Ratification
  • Colony Founded: October 30, 1629 (as Carolina colony), 1712 (as South Carolina colony)
  • Ratified Constitution: May 23, 1788
  • Total Population: 247,272 (1790 est.)
    • Free: 140,178
    • Slave: 107,094
  • Major Economic Institutions: Plantations, Rice, Indigo, Agriculture, Slavery
  • State Government: South Carolina had a government that favored giving power to the people, yet also disenfranchised a large portion of its citizens. The legislature was divided into a House and a Senate, which together chose the governor. However, most governing authority rested with the legislature, as the governor had many checks on his power. While citizens could vote for candidates for both houses, suffrage was extremely limited, as it was only offered to white Protestant males with at least fifty acres of land, essentially limiting voting to plantation owners.
  • Ratification Debate: Despite having a significant portion of the state population oppose the Constitution, the Anti-Federalists had trouble resisting the strong majority of Federalists in the state legislature and later the ratification convention. The state's back-country, where opposition was strongest, was underrepresented in the state government, as opposed to the more populous (and pro-Constitution) coastline, which led to a Federalist majority at the ratification convention. There, the disorganized opposition was repeatedly outdone by the Federalists, who defeated an adjournment vote and ultimately voted to ratify the Constitution 149-73. Nevertheless, after hearing about the amendments Massachusetts added with its ratification vote, South Carolina's convention decided to draft four of their own to recommend as well. While the Federalists definitively won the ratification fight, they realized the under-representation of Anti-Federalists at the convention, and so they agreed to the amendments to appease the state's reluctant population.1
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