James Henry Hammond

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James Henry Hammond

James Henry Hammond (born November 15, 1807 in Columbia , South Carolina , † November 13, 1864 in Beech Island , South Carolina) was an American politician and Governor of South Carolina from 1842 to 1844 . He also represented this state in both chambers of Congress .

Early years

James Hammond attended South Carolina College , later the University of South Carolina , until 1825 . He then studied law. He also worked as a teacher and newspaper editor. His newspaper Southern Times supported the interests of South Carolina against the federal government during the nullification crisis . After his admission to the bar in 1828, he opened a law firm in Columbia. In 1831 he moved to a cotton plantation on the Savannah River . Hammond was also a member of the South Carolina National Guard, where he made it general by 1841. He was a slave to slavery all his life. He often showed himself from the negative side towards his slaves and did not stop at mistreatment. He was just as persistent in advocating the rights of the individual states vis-à-vis the federal government.

Political career

Hammond's political rise began between 1832 and 1834, when he was a confidante of Governor Robert Young Hayne . Between 1835 and 1836 he was a member of the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC After he resigned from this mandate for health reasons, he spent two years in Europe. After his return he went back to his plantation. In 1840 he unsuccessfully ran for governor of South Carolina.

In 1842 he was elected governor by the members of parliament. During his two-year term in office, he promoted education policy. His most important concern, however, was the relationship with the federal government. Immediately after taking office, the new military academy The Citadel opened in Charleston . A similar institution also emerged in Columbia. The aim was on the one hand to create competition with the military academy in West Point and at the same time to train more southerners to become officers and soldiers. The governor attached great importance to these academies because, following a renewed protective tariff by the federal government in 1842, he considered South Carolina's exit from the Union to be inevitable. In contrast to 1832 and 1860, however, he could not find much support for this in South Carolina in 1842.

After his term in office on December 1, 1844, he remained politically active. In 1853 he published The Pro-Slavery Argument , in which he defended slavery. As early as 1850 he had attended a congress of the southern states in Nashville ( Tennessee ), at which the future of the south was discussed. Between 1857 and 1860 he was a member of the US Senate . After Abraham Lincoln was elected president , he resigned from that mandate. In December 1860, his long-cherished wish for the state to be separated from the Union was fulfilled in South Carolina. He saw the outbreak of the civil war and died in November 1864 on his “Redcliffe” plantation in Aiken County . With him one of the hardliners of the old south died.

Individual evidence

  1. Bleser, Carol: Secret and Sacred, The Diaries of James Henry Hammond, a Southern Slaveholder, (see literature section)


  • Robert Sobel and John Raimo (Eds.): Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978. Volume 4. Meckler Books, Westport, CT, 1978. 4 volumes.
  • Drew Gilpin Faust: James Henry Hammond and the Old South. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge 1985, ISBN 978-0-8071-5248-5 .
  • Carol Bleser (Ed.): Secret and Sacred, The Diaries of James Henry Hammond, a Southern Slaveholder. Oxford University Press, New York, 1988, ISBN 0-19-505308-7 .

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