South Carolina ETV

South Carolina from A to Z

Unionists



“U” is for Unionists. Unionists in South Carolina were anti-scessionists and supporters of the federal Union in the decades prior to the Civil War—especially during the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s and the secession crises of 1850 and 1860.  Unionist strongholds were in white majority districts such as Greenville, Horry, Pickens, and Spartanburg. Although unable to prevent the passage of the Ordinance of Nullification, they created a statewide network of militia units that were in contact with President Andrew Jackson. In part, because of determined Unionist opposition—and the threat of internal armed conflict—the nullifiers sought compromise rather than confrontation with the federal government. Among the leading Unionists were Joel R. Poinsett, James L. Petigru, and Benjamin F. Perry.

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