Learn more about the plantation system, politics, and culture of antebellum South Carolina.
- Sarah Grimke
Sarah and her sister became active abolitionists who spoke out against slavery.
- Andrew Jackson
Born in Lancaster County, Andrew Jackson became our 7th president.
- John C. Calhoun
Find out more about John C. Calhoun, a politician and vice-president from present-day McCormick County.
- The Brooks-Sumner Affair
What led a House of Representatives member from South Carolina to brutally beat a Senator with his cane?
See also the section on Slavery for more information about slavery and the plantation system.
- The Pre-Civil War South
Read about the South’s economy and politics in the years leading up to the Civil War.
- The Cultural Landscape of the Plantation
Read the words of former slaves as they tell about slave life on plantations.
- Catalogue of the trustees, faculty, and students of the South Carolina College, January, 1834
In 1834, there were only 50 students and 8 teachers at the school now known as the University of South Carolina.
- Midwives and Herbal Medicine
Before the pharmacy and aspirin, find out what herbs and plants people used to treat illnesses.
- Whitney Cotton Gin
Patented in 1794, the cotton gin made it possible for separating seeds from cotton bolls much easier.
- Plantation Day Book, 1857
This journal page records how much cotton each slaved picked in a given day on a plantation in the Pee Dee region.
- Cotton and South Carolina
After the Revolutionary War, the Southern states became dependent on growing cotton.
- South Carolina Plantations
Learn more about the plantation homes in your community.
- South Carolina Governor’s Mansion
Many artifacts and furniture in the Governor’s Mansion are from antebellum South Carolina.
- The Mann-Simons Cottage
The Mann-Simons Cottage in Columbia was originally built in 1825-30 and was one of a few houses in South Carolina owned by free blacks.
Excerpt of 1833 South Carolina transportation map showing 136 mile route of rail road from Charleston to Hamburg, built and operated by the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
- Antebellum Maps
Maps from around the state show where people lived and gathered.
- Removal of Southern Indians, 1830-1834
See where Indian tribes from Southern states were relocated.
- War of 1812
South Carolina provided at least 5,000 soldiers to the war effort, along with thousands of dollars for self-defense and coastal defenses.
- War of 1812 and and the Battle of New Orleans
Major General Andrew Jackson led the American forces, who defeated the British in the final major battle of the War of 1812.
- The Mexican War
The Mexican War was fought from 1846-48 and many of the soldiers became leaders and generals in the Civil War.
- South Carolina in the Mexican War
Learn more about the Palmetto Regiment that fought in Mexico. The first flag to fly over Mexico City was the regimental flag of the Palmetto Regiment.
- The Best Friend of Charleston
Running for less than a year in 1830-1, The Best Friend of Charleston was the first steam locomotive in the US used for regularly scheduled passenger service.
- South Carolina Railroutes, 1833
By 1833, there were established railroad routes throughout South Carolina.
- South Carolina & Georgia Railroad
Take a look at the timetable and maps for this railroad, which opened in 1833.
- The South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company
The South Carolina Railroad was the first large-scale steam railroad in the world. It carried cotton and passengers from Charleston to Hamburg.