Expansion and Reform

College of Charleston building with 6 ionic columns and green shutters on the windows.

College of Charleston, South Carolina's first college. 23 November 2008. Wikimedia Commons.

Learn more about the plantation system, politics, and culture of antebellum South Carolina.


  • William Gregg
    William Gregg was the founder of the Graniteville Company, an early cotton mill in Aiken County.
  • Robert Wilson Gibbes
    Robert Gibbs was a physician and naturalist that wrote paleontology articles on marine fossils found in South Carolina.
  • William Johnson, Jr.
    William Johnson was a U.S. Supreme Court Justice from Charleston who served from 1804 to 1834.

Wars & Politics


Culture & Agriculture

See also the section on Slavery for more information about slavery and the plantation system.

Higher Education

Advertisement for the Greenville Female College, Charleston Mercury, 1864.

For much of the early 1800s, the General Assembly refused to grant charters to schools competing with the South Carolina College in Columbia, SC. Several denominational schools such as Erskine, Furman, and Wofford were founded throughout the state during 1830-1860. Women could attend “finishing schools” until the first women’s colleges opened in the 1850s.

Colleges established in South Carolina before the Civil War

College of Charleston Charleston 1770
University of South Carolina Columbia 1801
Medical University of South Carolina Charleston 1824
Furman University Greenville 1826
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary Columbia 1830
Erskine Theological Seminary Due West 1837
Erskine College Due West 1839
The Citadel Charleston 1842
Limestone College Gaffney 1845
Columbia College Columbia 1854
Wofford College Spartanburg<