About the New Nation

In 1783, South Carolina and the other colonies won their independence from Britain, and established the United States under the Articles of Confederation. In 1785, South Carolina’s legislature created counties and courthouses throughout the state. The 1785 state law established Lexington county, which included the old Saxe Gotha township. Celebrating victory over Britain, legislators named Lexington County for the Americans’ victory at the Battle of Lexington and Concord (South Carolina Reference Room—Lexington County 2003). Tensions between low country planters and backcountry farmers, however, did not end during the Articles of Confederation years. Following ratification of the new United States Constitution, apportionment of delegates to the state’s House of Representatives caused heated debate. Would delegates be elected according to population in districts, or would delegates be elected according to wealth? South Carolina’s 1790 state constitution greatly favored the interests of low country planters. Yet, while low country leaders felt the 1790 constitution provided for orderly government, “members of the backcountry leadership, many of whom were now substantial planters, were not willing to accept second-class citizenship.”(Edgar 1998, 248, 257).

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