South Carolina: Why is the Palmetto State so different?
Historian W. Scott Poole discusses South Carolina – its unique history, interesting governors, and suspicion of the outside world.
Here is a word you don't see every day: "hotbed."Skip to next paragraph
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But it's gotten quite a workout this week in news coverage of the GOP presidential primary in South Carolina.
South Carolina is said to be – or said to be assumed to be – a "hotbed" of the Tea Party, "assorted bigots," secessionists, evangelical conservatism, "religious observance and conscientious voting," and much more.
With all that hotbedness, South Carolina is fortunate it hasn't burned into a cinder.
Every state, of course, is special. (Except for one. My speeding ticket and I know who you are).
But South Carolina is especially special, a place that takes "stateness" to an extreme. It was the first state to leave the union and the place where the Civil War began. Its state flag is one of the niftiest of all. And it even has a major newspaper called The State.
How did a place that's home to fewer than 2 percent of the nation's residents become so unique? I turned to historian W. Scott Poole, an associate professor at the College of Charleston, for some answers.
He's the author of several books, including "South Carolina's Civil War," "The Palmetto State: The Making of Modern South Carolina," and most recently, "Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting."