The Prostrate State: South Carolina Under Negro Government


By James Shepherd Pike, Published in 1874



In 1873, James Shepherd Pike, a veteran anti-slavery journalist from Maine, was dispatched to South Carolina by the New York Tribune to report on the status of that State’s Reconstruction government. The articles Pike sent back to New York were published in book form the following year as The Prostrate State. Pike represented South Carolina’s government as being politically corrupt and extravagant with public funds. The State, said Pike, was under the control of “a mass of black barbarism… the most ignorant democracy that mankind ever saw.” Pike’s observations served to increase the growing Northern sympathy for the downtrodden White population of the former Confederate States and helped pave the way for the return of home rule to the South.


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