From an historical perspective, it is interesting to note that the events culminating with the election of Wade Hampton, III Governor of South Carolina, came exactly 100 years after the American Revolution, and has been termed by some historians, the Second American Revolution. impacting the whole of the republic and reshaping the two-party political system for decades to come.

The Upstate and Greenville County, especially Upper Greenville County had an impressive role in kicking off the campaign with the most impressive rally of the entire campaign when their hero and hope for the future arrived at the railroad station and held a rally on the campus of Furman University.

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General Wade Hampton and his family, as did other South Carolinians following the war, found themselves economically worse off than the pre-war slaves.

“The people, both black and white, were left to starve,” wrote William Gilmore Simms, the well-known author who experienced the horror following the surrender of General Lee to Gen. Grant.

“The only means of subsistence to thousands but lately in affluence was the garbage left by the abandoned camps of the Federal Army and stray corn scraped up from the spots where army horses and mules had been fed.”

Simms concludes: “But no language can describe the suffering which prevailed… when pride compels them to starve in silence.”

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Wade Hampton

In 1876, South Carolina entered its eleventh year of military subjection after the WBTS and its ninth year Radical Republican Reconstruction rule.  During this time, South Carolina had undergone such great humiliation, degradation, and corrupt misrule that it had come to be referred to in the national and international media as “The Prostrate State,” a name which, in reality, was an understatement.

Financially, the State was ruined.  Property values had plummeted, some claiming that the property destruction during the Reconstruction period was more than that of the Civil War itself.  Taxes soared dramatically and much land was confiscated.  State debt increased to the point of being virtually worthless.

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General Wade Hampton and his Legion fought valiantly and Hampton, although suffering multiple wounds, survived the protracted war. The homeland, however had been subjected to the scorched-earth policy of President Lincoln carried out by General Sherman and his army of “foragers,” who took with them or destroyed everything they could find that was meaningful to the Hampton family and their neighbors. Although all of the eyewitnesses are now dead, they left a recorded history of the terror they experienced during the period from 1864 – 1876. In fact, some of the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of those eyewitnesses are alive today and recall the harrowing stories passed on to them by their ancestors.

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