‘Restoring Tranquility and Order in the Country:’ Authority and Allegiance in British-Occupied Charleston
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During its three-year occupation of Charleston, South Carolina, the British army attempted to gain control of the Lowcountry by implementing policies of imprisonment and parole, intending to subdue and coerce the population. In doing so, they violated the two cardinal principals of Charleston society: respecting the hierarchical system of paternalism and maintain white unity to control the region’s majority black population. This violation critically weakened British efforts to win local support and maintain control over the region. Conversely, the Patriot government of South Carolina understood and wielded these principles to their advantage, using confiscation and amercement to punish former Loyalists while allowing them to return by proving their dedication to the culture of paternalism, white unity, and the slave economy. This thesis therefore fills a crucial gap in the historiography of the Southern Theater of the American Revolution, particularly in the study of occupation and the agency of civilians in war.