1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/South Carolina

SOUTH CAROLINA (see 25.499[1]). The pop. of the state in 1920 was 1,683,724, an increase of 11.1% over the previous decade, as compared with 13.1% and 16.4% during the two preceding decades. During the decade 1910-20 negroes increased from 679,161 to 818,538, or from 44.8% of the total pop. to 48.6%. The density was 55.2 per sq. mile. The urban pop. was 17.5% of the whole, as compared with 14.8% in 1910. The pop. of Charleston was 67,957 an d the decennial increase 15.5%, the white increase being 28.3% and the negro 4%. The white pop., increased by war industries, was 52.4% of the whole, constituting a majority for the first time in about 200 years. The pop. and decennial increase for the other leading cities were as follows:—

1920 1910  Increase 
per cent

 Columbia  37,524   26,319  42.6 
 Greenville 23,127  15,741  46.9 
 Spartanburg  22,638  17,517  29.2 
 Florence 10,968  7,057  55.7 
 Anderson 10,579  9,654  9.5 
 Sumter 9,508  8,109  17.3 

Manufactures.—Textile mills paid very large dividends during 1917-20, and in addition doubled or trebled their capital. Wages rose greatly, but were cut 30 to 50% in the depression of 1920-1. The number of spindles in 1918 was 4,914,524; of operatives in 1919, 5,898, a decrease of about 4,000 since 1916; the bales of cotton consumed diminished from 972,000 in 1916 to 779,000 in 1918-9; capitalization that year was $201,237,320. Almost half the motive power in 1920 was hydro-electric. Unionization has not proceeded far among textile workers, though skilled trades in larger places are generally organized. The State Board of Conciliation, created in 1916, arbitrates labour disputes on invitation or investigates them on its own motion or the order of the governor. Women are forbidden to work in stores after 10 P.M. or over 12 hours in one day.

Agriculture.—The coincidence of the World War and a large cotton crop in 1914 demoralized farming. A law was passed forbidding the planting of more than a third of a farm's acreage in cotton, but was repealed before the next planting season. An enormous inflation of values soon followed and in turn was succeeded by a decline of prices from about $0.40 to $0.10 or $0.11 in six months (1920-1), entailing great hardship. Legislation (1912) sought to stabilize agricultural prices by a system of state warehouses for holding products for a favourable market. Private capital has been extensively invested to the same end. The boll weevil became a serious menace in 1920 in the south-western counties. A packing plant with a daily capacity of 400 hogs was established in Orangeburg. Butter-making in coöperative creameries has made some progress. Under the law of 1920 extensive drainage projects were undertaken. Agricultural methods have improved; farm-houses are better; banks, which have increased in number and capital, finance the farmer directly at greatly lower cost than formerly charged by “lien merchants.” South Carolina led all the states in 1917 in crop value per acre with an average of $63. The value in 1918 was $75. According to state Government estimate cotton covered in 1920 45% of the cultivated acreage and represented 50% of the value of the 13 leading crops. One million five hundred and thirty thousand bales were raised, the state's acreage being fourth and its production second in the Union. Corn, second in value, amounted to 42,370,000 bushels. Other crops were: tobacco 66,950,000 lb.; rice 120,000 bus.; sorghum 1,500,000 gal.; peanuts 1,620,000 bushels. The average value of ploughed lands was $61 per acre as against $91 for the United States. Average monthly wages for adult male farm labour without board were $41.80, next to the lowest for any state. During 1910-20 the number of farms increased from 176,434 to 192,693; improved land from 6,097,999 ac. to 6,184,159 ac.; average value per farm from $2,223 to $4,946; average value per acre from $29.02 to $76.70.

Education.—School legislation since 1910 included an Act for compulsory school attendance in 1919 throughout the state, increased state additions to local funds, calculated to ensure after 1920 a seven-months' term in the poorest districts; night schools for adults; consolidation and grading of rural schools, with transportation for children; an increased number of high schools; special teachers and inspectors in rural and textile districts; greatly improved school buildings; enlarged facilities for agricultural, vocational and home economics training; state standard certification of teachers and enforcement of payment for tuition at state colleges by those able to pay. The most significant principle underlying the forward movement in education has been the recognition of the necessity of greater assistance from state funds and greater power in the state authorities as distinguished from the local divisions. Difficulties have been the lack of competent teachers to carry out the enlarged programme and maintain the higher standards, the shortness of the rural school term, and excessive local authority to do or neglect to do what it pleases. The expenditure on common schools in 1918-9 exceeded $8,000,000. Attendance in common schools in 1919-20 for whites was 226,065; for negroes, 251,980; total 478,045. There were in that year enrolled in the 36 colleges in the state 12,000 students, of whom a third were negroes.

The three most numerous religious denominations, the Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian, have added materially during 1910-20 to their extensive work in higher education. All but 11 of the 36 institutions for higher education in the state were in 1920 under church control, and these institutions contained a thousand more students than all state and other non-sectarian institutions combined.

Social Legislation.—Every attempt of forces of reaction to abandon a step in the large number of forward moves in social legislation since 1910 has been defeated, usually overwhelmingly.

In 1912 race gambling was forbidden. In 1913 the penitentiary hosiery mill was abolished as harmful to the health of the prisoners. The State Board of Charities and Corrections, created in 1915, was reorganized in 1920 as the State Board of Public Welfare. The state hospital for the insane was entirely remade, materially and administratively, during 1915-9. A school for the feeble-minded was established in 1918. The placing of orphans and homeless children was taken over by the state in 1920. In 1918 the Industrial School for Girls, a reformatory institution for white girls, was established and the reformatory for negro boys was reorganized. The probate judge in each county is constituted a juvenile court, and several cities have undertaken remedial work for juvenile delinquents and dependents. Penal and charitable institutions (including church and private charitable institutions) have been since 1915 under state inspection. Since 1918 diseased women prisoners of all classes are held until cured. The age of consent was raised in 1921 to 16 years. No city has acted upon the permission in 1915 to segregate whites and negroes by city blocks. Marriage licences were required by law in 1911 and registration of births and deaths in 1914. Medical inspection of school children was made state-wide in 1920.

Finance.—The budget system, concentrating responsibility on the governor and the chairmen of the two legislative finance committees, adopted in 1919, has tended to economy and system, though the Legislature may disregard without any limitation the recommendations. The State Tax Commission, created in 1915, has improved the administration of the tax laws. The assessed taxable value of all property in 1920 was $448,222,786, being from a fourth to a third of the market value. For the state government there was raised a revenue of approximately $6,000,000; for county governments $12,000,000; for common schools (local tax) $8,000,000; and for municipal government between $5,000,000 and $6,000,000.

Political History.—The class feeling that has always been strong in South Carolina politics found violent manifestation during the governorship of Coleman L. Blease, who served two terms from 1911 to 1915. Blease's political tactics were calculated to appeal to the lower and less literate elements of the state; he quarrelled with the state Supreme Court, with the General Assembly, with other state officers and with the U.S. authorities. The Legislature was at all times controlled by his opponents, and probably more measures were passed over his veto than had been so passed in the case of all former governors combined. He startled a congress of governors at Richmond, Va., in 1912 by an open advocacy of lynching, and while governor he pardoned or paroled more than 1,500 criminals. At the time of his resignation (a few days before his term expired in 1915) he had freed all but 150 convicts, the number then said to be remaining in the institutions of the state. Almost his last official act was an order disbanding the state militia; this was promptly countermanded by his successor. Resigning without giving any explanation, he was succeeded for five days by Lt.-Gov. C. A. Smith. In 1918 Mr. Blease made a campaign for election to the U.S. Senate, taking extreme ground against the country's entering the war. He was overwhelmingly defeated. A progressive period began with the election of Gov. Richard I. Manning in 1914. A significant feature of the campaign was the support given to Prof. John G. Clinkscales in his advocacy of compulsory education. Gov. Manning's two administrations were marked by constructive legislation and effective coöperation with the national Government. Gov. Robert A. Cooper was elected in 1918 on a platform that made education its chief plank and frankly announced that as the result of progressive legislation taxes would be higher. He was reëlected without opposition in 1920. His chief measures were the strengthening of the public schools, the creation of a budget system and the consolidation of management of charitable and correctional institutions. The Australian ballot was put in force (1921) in primaries, though not in the general election, the latter being merely a formal ratification of the former as the Democratic nomination is equivalent to election.

The World War.—Of the total of 78 Congressional Medals of Honour awarded, South Carolina received six. The total number of men sent by South Carolina into the war was 54,254, not including those who had enlisted before the Unites States declared war. The amount of Liberty and Victory loans and other Government securities bought was $94,211,244, and $3,027,740 was contributed to Red Cross and similar appeals.

Bibliography.—Snowden (editor), History of South Carolina (5 vols. 1920); Reports of S.C. Superintendent of Education,

Treasurer, Comptroller-General and Commissioner of Agriculture, Commerce and Industries; S.C. Statutes at large.

(D. D. W.)

  1. These figures indicate the volume and page number of the previous article.