Biographical Sidebar: Wade Hampton

The governor who "redeemed" South Carolina from Republican rule, Wade Hampton (1818-1902) was born in Charleston, the son of a prominent member of the planter aristocracy. In the 1840s, his family began acquiring land in the Mississippi Delta, and in 1860 Hampton owned 900 slaves there.

During the Civil War, Hampton won fame as a Confederate cavalry commander. He emerged from the war as one of the state's most popular figures, and although he refused to be a candidate for governor in 1865, a write-in campaign on his behalf was only narrowly defeated.

Saddled with enormous debts, Hampton played little part in politics for most of Reconstruction. He did try to "direct the negro vote" in 1867, and when unsuccessful, denounced Reconstruction as unconstitutional and advocated removing the freedpeople from the state.

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