Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XXIII

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Chapter XXIII

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840

Introduction

            Believing it “necessary to the public man, as to the pupil,” Simms undertook The History of South Carolina explicitly for the education of the state’s young people, so as to tell them the vibrant history of the state and the distinguished accomplishments of her leaders.[1]  There is evidence to suggest that Simms was particularly motivated to write such a history in order to provide an historical account of South Carolina and notable South Carolinians, to his eldest child Augusta, who was attending boarding school in Massachusetts in the late 1830s.[2]  Simms seemingly found no existing history suitable for such a purpose, and undertook to correct this by writing The History of South Carolina.  Across the various editions, Simms’s book presents two main lessons to its readers:  first, that South Carolinians should depend on native leadership in times of crisis, and second, that a united front against external threats is necessary at all times.  While The History paints a broad picture of the European settlement of South Carolina, the Revolution figures as the most prominent, and most lengthy, section in all three editions.[3]  In Simms’s presentation, the American Revolution is the central and transformative moment of South Carolina’s history. 

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