Unification of a Slave State
The Rise of the Planter Class in the South Carolina Backcountry, 1760-1808
Rachel N. Klein
The spread of cotton into the backcountry, often invoked as the reason for South Carolina's political unification, actually concluded a complex struggle for power and legitimacy. Beginning with the Regulator Uprising of the 1760s, Klein demonstrates how backcountry leaders both gained authority among yeoman constituents and assumed a powerful role within state government. By defining slavery as the natural extension of familial inequality, backcountry ministers strengthened the planter class. At the same time, evangelical religion, like the backcountry's dominant political language, expressed yet contained the persisting tensions between planters and yeomen.
Klein weaves social, political, and religious history into a formidable account of planter class formation and southern frontier development.