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Opening Statement

This essay attacks the basis of much of our folk culture and American myths. We want to focus on the Pilgrims and the early settlers fleeing to America for religious and economic freedom, the shining city on the hill: Today we want to present these settlers as setting the tone for modern America.  However, through this myth we have wiped clean from our collective memories the reality that most of these colonies over the first seventy-five years of settlements were economic disasters.  Only when a different model, one not coming from Europe, a model not based on freedom and opportunity, but based on mass slavery, was introduced to North America from the Caribbean, did the economics of the new colonies change rapidly (for the better).  This model first came into South Carolina, and spread throughout much of the country from there.  This essay argues that while we see our history mainly as the development of the North, in reality, until so recently, the real history and political development of America was dominated by South Carolina and those who followed her model.

Part I

How to measure the importance of one state over another is difficult for so many reasons.  However, there is a strong case to argue that much of the history of the lands that became the United States, and subsequently the history of the United States altogether, have been influenced by South Carolina perhaps more than by any other state.  Since this relatively small and relatively less developed state is not currently an economic or, apparently, social driving force, few people readers of history would point to this state as such an important catalyst in the past and current economic and social makeup of the nation.