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South Carolina’s Reconstruction Governor’s Copy of Reconstruction Acts, Including Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment
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Therefore, resolved, That the said proposed amendment to the Constitution be, and the same is hereby, ratified by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina.” (July 9, 1868)

it shall be the duty of the State Superintendent of Education, to provide, through the School Commissioner of each County, for the enumeration of all the unmarried youth of the State, between the ages of five and eighteen years, classifying them as colored and white, male and female, and he shall report the same through the Governor of the State to the General Assembly at its next regular session.” (September 15, 1868)

[RECONSTRUCTION ERA]. Acts of the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina, Passed at the Special Session of 1868. Columbia, SC: John W. Denny, 1868. First Edition. Contemporary red morocco gilt, spine in 5 compartments with 4 raised bands, gilt lettering in 2, gilt decorations in others. “Gov. R. K. Scott” in gilt lettering on front board. 165 pp., 6 x 8⅞ in.

Inventory #27064.01       Price: $9,500

Historical Background
On March 2, 1867, Congress passed An Act to Provide for the More Efficient Government of the Rebel States, commonly referred to as the Reconstruction Act. It declared that “no legal state government” existed in any former Confederate state except Tennessee and divided the South into five military districts. Each state had to prepare new constitutions that incorporated universal male suffrage and had to be approved by Congress. The South Carolina General Assembly did not convene in 1867 due to federal occupation. In November 1867, voters in South Carolina elected 124 delegates to attend a new constitutional convention in Charleston in January 1868. The delegates included 76 African Americans and 48 whites, 15 of whom were not natives of the state. In addition to implementing universal manhood suffrage, the new Constitution abolished debtors’ prison, provided for public education open to all races, abolished property ownership as a qualification for office holding, granted some rights to women, and created counties in the state. It was submitted to the electorate for approval, but many whites refused to participate; Congress approved it on April 16, 1868.

A newly elected General Assembly convened in Columbia on July 6 for a special session that continued for twelve weeks until adjourning on September 26, 1868. Eighty-eight of the legislators were African American, and sixty-seven were white, the first state legislature in the United States to have a majority of black members. Among the legislature’s members were future African American members of Congress Joseph Hayne Rainey, Robert Carlos DeLarge, Robert Brown Elliott, Richard Harvey Cain, Alonzo Jacob Ransier, and Robert Smalls.

To raise revenue, the legislature taxed all property at its full value, rather than undervaluing land as earlier legislatures had done to shift the tax burden to merchants, bankers, and urban professionals. The special session passed a series of seventy-one acts and nine joint resolutions. The acts covered a wide range of topics, including education, courts, state police, homesteads, taxation, the treatment of prisoners, jurisdiction and duties of county commissioners, and a variety of incorporating acts. The most important joint resolution was that ratifying the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Robert Kingston Scott (1826-1900), was born in western Pennsylvania, studied medicine, and opened a practice in northwestern Ohio. He supported the abolitionist Liberty Party in politics. In October 1861, Scott became lieutenant colonel of the 68th Ohio Infantry and became its colonel in July 1862. After serving in Tennessee and Mississippi, he was taken prisoner near Atlanta. He returned to the Union Army after escaping or being exchanged and was commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers in January 1865. After the war, he served as the assistant commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau in South Carolina from 1865 to 1868. In the spring of 1868, he was elected as a Republican to be the 74th Governor of South Carolina, a position he held until 1872 as the state’s first Reconstruction governor. With the support of African American voters, he was reelected in 1870, becoming the first South Carolina governor to serve two consecutive terms, a practice prohibited by earlier state constitutions. He formed militias, largely composed of African Americans, to defend the Republican government of the state. Although he received the support of President Ulysses S. Grant, the military and other parts of the federal government failed to support him. After leaving office, he became an attorney in South Carolina. When Democrats returned to power in the state in 1877, Scott returned to Ohio, perhaps out of fear of assassination. After a bullet from his gun killed his son’s friend in 1880, Scott insisted that his gun had accidentally discharged. He was subsequently acquitted of murder, a result that led to public outrage.

Condition: Rubbing; tear to spine; scarce: OCLC locates no copies of these Acts published separately from the Constitution. Sabin 87675.

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