World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

South Carolina gubernatorial election, 1878

The 1878 South Carolina gubernatorial election was held on November 5, 1878 to select the governor of the state of South Carolina. Wade Hampton III was renominated by the Democrats and ran against no organized opposition in the general election to win reelection for a second two-year term.


Upon becoming Governor after a prolonged struggle against Daniel Henry Chamberlain in the gubernatorial election of 1876, Wade Hampton adopted moderate racial policies and favored many Republican proposals. For instance, the state modified the agriculture lien law and passed a law giving counties the ability to mandate the fencing of livestock. Hampton also appointed many blacks to government positions and provided for more funds to be spent educating black children than white children.

Republican convention

The state Republican Party held their convention in Columbia on August 7 and August 8. The white Republican leaders opposed fielding a slate of candidates for statewide offices and even proposed a resolution to endorse Hampton. They felt that any opposition to Hampton would only encourage the Democrats to mount an aggressive and unified campaign.[1] Instead, they proposed for the party to concentrate its resources on contesting the local races in hopes that the Democrats would not vigorously contest those elections due to lack of competition at the state level.

However, many prominent black Republicans favored fielding a slate of statewide candidates and launch an all out campaign against the Democrats. The sentiment among the delegates favored this position, but party chairman, [2] Thus, the campaign of 1878 for the Republicans was left up to the county organizations.


An attitude of apathy and defeatism swept through the Republican camp and most were resigned to the inevitable destruction of the party. One leader commented that it was highly unlikely "that the Republicans could succeed without federal troops in 1878 where they had failed with them in 1876."[3] Several Republican county organizations passed resolutions supporting Hampton's reelection for governor and even endorsed Democratic candidates for county offices. For example, in Marion County the Republicans placed five out of nine Democratic candidates on their ticket in a policy of fusion.[4]

Democratic division

Throughout Hampton's first term in office, he appealed for political harmony between the races. Hampton carried out his pledge to ensure equal rights between the races and he appointed more black men to office than Chamberlain had during his term as governor.[5] The more militant faction of the Democratic Party, led by Martin Gary, was entirely against any cooperation with blacks and instead sought to remove blacks completely from political life. The Edgefield County Democrats would not acknowledge any black Democratic clubs and they prevented blacks from participating in the primary elections. Hampton publicly refuted this policy and no other county followed suit.[4] Nevertheless, new laws were enacted by the General Assembly in 1877 to make it harder for blacks to participate and vote in the electoral process.

General election

The general election was held on November 5, 1878 and Wade Hampton was reelected as electoral fraud and violence than the election in 1876. For instance, on Edisto Island where 1,000 Republicans and 50 Democrats resided, the polls never opened. The Red Shirts in Fairfield County physically beat anyone who dared vote for a Republican. Combined with the lack of a Republican candidate and new prohibitive voting laws, turnout was not surprisingly much less than the 1876 election.

South Carolina Gubernatorial Election, 1878
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Wade Hampton III 119,550 99.8 +49.5
No party Write-Ins 213 0.2 +0.2
Majority 119,337 99.6 +99.0
Turnout 119,763
  Democratic hold
1878 South Carolina gubernatorial election map, by percentile by county.
  65+% won by Hampton

See also


  1. ^ Holt, p. 213
  2. ^ Holt, p. 214
  3. ^ Holt, p. 215
  4. ^ a b Jarrell, p. 141
  5. ^ Jarrell, p. 123


  • "Election Returns." Reports and Resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina at the Regular Session of 1878. Columbia, SC: Calvo and Patton, 1878, p. 436.

External links

  • SCIway Biography of Governor Wade Hampton III
Preceded by
South Carolina gubernatorial elections Succeeded by
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.