Great Hurricane of 1752: A Window into the Political Culture of Colonial South Carolina
Neal David, Polhemus
Preston, David L.
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The constitutional crisis between Governor James Glen and the South Carolina Commons House of Assembly following the September 1752 hurricane provides an example of the discord that characterized the colony. On several occasions during his administration Glen attempted to manipulate the colony's constitution by diminishing the powers granted the Commons House. The governor attempted to check the authority of the commissioners of the fortifications who were authorized to make contracts, purchase private property from citizens, and draw funds from the treasury. The conflict between Glen and the Commons House is an example of how elites retained the authority that they had gained over the past three decades at the expense of the royal prerogative in the colony. The strong rhetoric used by both sides during the conflict reflects the tensions between colonial and imperial elites in South Carolina during the 1750s. Many of the larger issues contained in these disputes contributed to South Carolinians' eventual decision to seek their independence from Great Britain. Thus, the hurricane of 1752 enables us to better understand the political culture of South Carolina and its colonial constitution in the era prior to the American Revolution.
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