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After SlaveryRace, Labor, and Citizenship in the Reconstruction South$
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Bruce E. Baker and Brian Kelly

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044774

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044774.001.0001

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Drovers, Distillers, and Democrats

Drovers, Distillers, and Democrats

Economic and Political Change in Northern Greenville County, 1865–1878

(p.159) 8 Drovers, Distillers, and Democrats
After Slavery

Bruce E. Baker

University Press of Florida

At the end of the Civil War, the mountainous northern part of Greenville County, South Carolina held many white Unionists who were initially favorable to the Republican party. Over the next fifteen years, though, Republican actions alienated this group and drove them to support the Democrats. An important part of the local economy had been supplying drovers who brought livestock through the mountains until the coming of the Air Line Railroad made cheaper meat available. Mountain residents also resented the higher taxes required to support the railroad. Excess corn could be turned into whiskey, but the federal government sent revenue agents, assisted by ad hoc agents recruited from the Republicans of Greenville town, to stop illicit distilling. These factors combined to persuade mountain residents of Greenville County that the Republican party did not represent their interests.

Keywords:   South Carolina, Greenville County, S.C., Appalachia, upcountry, droving, Republican party, railroads, moonshining, poor whites

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