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James Henry Hammond

Hammond, James Henry, 1807–64, American statesman, b. Newberry co., S.C. A lawyer and the owner of large plantations on the Savannah River, Hammond was an early believer in secession. He voiced this belief in the U.S. House of Representatives (1835–36) and as governor of South Carolina (1842–44) during the turmoil of the tariff of 1842. In 1857, Hammond was elected to the U.S. Senate and there, in reply to William Seward, made his famous "Cotton is King" speech. As the crisis approached, however, he began to doubt the wisdom of secession, thinking the South could attain its desired ends within the Union. He later supported the Confederacy, however, although he criticized the government of Jefferson Davis.

See biography by E. Merritt (1923); study by R. C. Cinnamond (1959).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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