South Carolina / American Revolution Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

The colonists did not necessarily want independence from their mother country, but they wished for the British to return to the position they had before the 1763 war. Unintentionally, on the 10th of May 1775, the colonies had opened the road towards the war of independence instead of planning a simple rebellion.

As the war started, the British had been certain of obtaining victory in a short time. Clearly, all signs led people into thinking that it would not be long before the colonies would be defeated. However, after several clashes between the British small, yet professional, army and the untrained colonist group, fate appeared to have favored the Americans.

Next to the colonies which were desperate to escape from under the British government's command, there had also been colonies which truly enjoyed being part of the British Empire.

One of the colonies to benefit from her connection to Britain had been South Carolina. During the time of the beginning of the revolution, South Carolina had been regarded as being less likely to join the cause of the other colonies. This had been mostly due to people considering that the colony would only have to lose in a potential revolution. Nevertheless, as most colonies, South Carolina's people, among which had been nine of the richest top ten Americans at the time, had been unhappy with the way that the British wanted to rule over the colonies.

During the last two years, before the ending of the war, the number of people dying in South Carolina had exceeded one thousand by far. The colony had been witnessing more fighting than any other state in America at the time.

After having led numerous battles in the North, the British army had now wanted to bring their military campaigns in the south. The British had initially planned to conquer both South Carolina and Georgia. Being a port, and an influential colony in America, South Carolina had been regarding as being a crucial target for the British. Being determined to capture the port and the city of Charleston, the British had concentrated some of their forces in the area. After successfully conducting warfare in the south, the British had appointed Sir Henry Clinton to lead the South Carolinian assault. During 1780, the South Carolinians under General Benjamin Lincoln had lost their port and the city of Charleston after intense fighting between the two parties.

The Americans had received a significant strike with the lost of one of the major points in the south and the South Carolinians were now more vulnerable to an interior attack. Shortly after, the British under Lord Cornwallis had moved inland at Camden and defeated another American army under Horatio Gates.

The British had not been the only force to oppose the revolutionary South Carolinians, as the loyalist South Carolinians had taken the opportunity to attack their community. The war in South Carolina had turned into a true civil war between the revolutionaries and the loyalists and the fighting took place everywhere across the state. As the British army had attempted to further chase the small guerrilla armies, they encountered great resistance to a point that Cornwallis's army had stopped to a halt. The guerilla army formed in South Carolina from militia men had initially been developed in Britain as a mean for any community to provide defense against invaders.

The guerilla war did not take long. The Americans sent an army under Major General Nathanael Greene to assist the revolutionary South Carolinians in their campaign. As the reinforcements arrived, the war had turned the balance in favor of the Americans with Greene's army proving an excellent capacity of conducting warfare. Cleverly, Greene had planned to compensate the fact that Cornwallis's army had been more numerous by joining the revolutionary South Carolinian guerilla. By doing so, Greene hoped to strike several rapid assaults which would confuse Cornwallis. Proving his amazing military leader abilities, Greene had exhausted Cornwallis and made him take refuge in the colony of Virginia. After doing so, Greene set on chasing all of the British soldiers present in inland South California thus freeing the colony. (Cheaney)

The war in South Carolina had ended in 1782 with the British leaving by ship after several clashes with the Americans in the city of Charleston. During the American War of Independence, the colony of South Carolina had been witness to unimaginable atrocities as people had been fighting on the very streets of the city. Even more indescribable had been the image of former neighbors under the masks of loyalists now wanting to kill their fellow Americans under the masks of revolutionaries.

Despite the fact of being far from the North and particularly defenseless against both the British and the loyalists, the revolutionaries from South Carolina had managed very well in surviving and even in fighting back their tyrants.

The colony of South Carolina had ultimately played a vital part in the war, as the colonists had managed to keep Cornwallis's entire army until the arrival of Greene. Consequently, Cornwallis had to leave and South Carolina had obtained America's final victory in the American War of Independence.

South Carolina had been a theatre of war where the courageous revolutionaries had crushed all British hope to ever achieve victory in the American colonies. Despite the fact that Washington did not come to the colony during the war, he, as the British, had been certain that South Carolina would be a vital factor in winning the war. The reason for which South Carolina provided a superior strategic place had been that it could be host to the armies of all the neighboring states.

Washington had granted Greene the honor of defending the South from the British. Cunningly, Washington's strategies had all been based on the defensive rather than on the offensive. The reason for why he chose to do so is that while the British had to constantly support a military campaign on enemy territory, the Americans had been on their own soil. Next to keeping defensive positions, the Americans would sometimes lead short timed offensives that would both puzzle and harm the enemy.

Even considering the fact that the Americans had never had to conducted warfare until that moment, nor did they have experienced army men, they managed to perform extraordinarily on the battle field. The British had been more experienced at fighting at the time, but a truly unique characteristic which distinguished the Americans from the British had been that the two camps had been fighting for different motives. While the British had not had a desperate cause for which to die, the Americans had been firm on keeping their country and their principles as free people. The war had practically been a war between those wanting to oppress and those being oppressed.

From the beginning the British had led an offensive approach with minor exceptions. During the war, the British had mainly counted on their superiority when considering the war experience. However, they did numerous unjustified moves by choosing the wrong strategic places from which to launch offensives or from which to control the Americans.

From the start of the war, the situation in South Carolina had been made clear, as the revolutionaries had frightened all efforts of their neighbors to remain faithful to Britain. The British had hoped to annihilate any resistance in the South since the beginning of the war. In spite of the British plans, one of the major British armies had been defeated at Sullivan's Island by the committed Americans. After unsuccessfully waging war in the North, the British had once again fixed on conquering the south. In the beginning, the British encountered little resistance and advanced with great speed inland conquering both Georgia and South Carolina. However, with the rising of guerilla groups the British began to feel distressed as their advances had been brought to a halt.

The reasons for why the Americans managed to emerge victorious from the war had been numerous. One of the main reasons for the outcome had been that the British had been leading a war on foreign soil while the Americans were at home.

The militia men which were assembled on the ground during the battle had been mostly composed out of slave-holding planters. The respective people generally had been inclined to fighting for their country regardless of the ethnicity of their enemies.

South Carolina provided America with an image of passionate and brave men that can go against ruthless armies of well armed and trained professionals without letting themselves be frightened. Also, the colony the is symbol of America during the War of Independence.

The Roads to Revolution," History Today, May 1998. 48.

Joseph Morton, the American Revolution, (Greenwood Press, 2003).


John W. Gordon, South Carolina and the American Revolution, (Univ of South Carolina Press, 2003).


John Richard Maas, "The Day it Rained…

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