Learn more about the plantation system, politics, and culture of antebellum South Carolina.
- William Gregg
William Gregg was the founder of the Graniteville Company, an early cotton mill in Aiken County.
- Robert Wilson Gibbes
Robert Gibbs was a physician and naturalist that wrote paleontology articles on marine fossils found in South Carolina.
- William Johnson, Jr.
William Johnson was a U.S. Supreme Court Justice from Charleston who served from 1804 to 1834.
Wars & Politics
- "Blood-Stained" Mexican War Scarf
Watch this video to see a “blood-stained” silk scarf that belonged to Private Thomas Tillman, who was killed in 1847 during the Mexican War.
- The Jacksonian Era: 1820 - 1850
This useful timeline highlights significant events of the Jacksonian Era.
- John C. Calhoun
Find out more about John C. Calhoun, a politician and vice-president from present-day McCormick County.
- A new map of South Carolina with its canals, roads & distances…
This 1833 map is the first to show the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company’s line.
- Antebellum Maps
Maps from around the state show where people lived and gathered.
Culture & Agriculture
See also the section on Slavery for more information about slavery and the plantation system.
Click on the links under the Hamburg title to learn more about this extinct city near Augusta, Georgia.
- Forgotten Fields: Inland Rice Plantations in the South Carolina Lowcounty
Learn more about the development of the inland rice plantations in the Lowcountry.
- The Pre-Civil War South
Read about the South’s economy and politics in the years leading up to the Civil War.
- Mills in the Upcountry
Learn more about grist and saw mills in Spartanburg and other upcountry counties before and after the Civil War.
- Show and Splendor: Celebrating a Wedding in 1809
Read a description of a wedding between two prominent Charleston families in 1809.
- Architecture of Charleston
Architectural styles in Charleston changed several times in the antebellum city.
Advertisement for the Greenville Female College, Charleston Mercury, 1864.
For much of the early 1800s, the General Assembly refused to grant charters to schools competing with the South Carolina College in Columbia, SC. Several denominational schools such as Erskine, Furman, and Wofford were founded throughout the state during 1830-1860. Women could attend “finishing schools” until the first women’s colleges opened in the 1850s.
- Prospectus of the University of South Carolina
- Catalogue of the trustees, faculty, and students of the South Carolina College, January, 1834
Colleges established in South Carolina before the Civil War
|College of Charleston||Charleston||1770|
|University of South Carolina||Columbia||1801|
|Medical University of South Carolina||Charleston||1824|
|Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary||Columbia||1830|
|Erskine Theological Seminary||Due West||1837|
|Erskine College||Due West||1839|
Explore with Discus*
* Requires access to the Discus databases. Learn more here.
- Antebellum Charleston
Explore the religion, art, education, and other cultural themes of antebellum Charleston.
- The Plantation
The plantation system influenced almost every aspect of southern life.
- Andrew Jackson and the Jacksonian Democracy
Jacksonian democracy promoted the strength of the presidency and sought to broaden the public’s participation in government.