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Second Story – Winter 2017
 
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Trailblazers of the Reconstruction Era
VOLUME 30, NUMBER 1, WINTER 2017             

By Joey Holleman                                                                       back to main story

South Carolina’s Seven Constitutions

South Carolina has had seven constitutions, including four in the second half of the 19th century that marked tremendous changes of course and set the tone for the Reconstruction era in South Carolina.

Constitution of 1776: Adopted before the Declaration of Independence. Set up a new system of government, including a General Assembly, with state president and vice president selected by legislators.

Constitution of 1778: Created state Senate. Governor and lieutenant governor replaced president and vice president.

Constitution of 1790: First document created by an elected convention, with minor changes in government structure.

Constitution of 1861: With the Ordinance of Secession passed late in 1860, state leaders tweaked the 1790 document to allow for withdrawal from the Union.

Constitution of 1865: Forced to come up with a new constitution to re-enter the United States. Abolished requirement to own property to be eligible for public office. Didn’t include voting rights for blacks.

Constitution of 1868: Forced again by the federal government to rewrite the document. Created by a convention of delegates from throughout the state, including many blacks. Gave all men the right to vote. Called for public education for all.

Constitution of 1895: Product of a constitutional convention called for by Democratic Party leaders. Voting eligibility regulations disenfranchised many blacks. Legislative changes in 1950 and 1969 loosened those restrictions.


Source: S.C. Archives and History Foundation

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Last updated: 3/31/2017 11:50:17 AM
Second Story – Winter 2017

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