Edward Rutledge on Revolutionary War in southern colonies, Philadelphia, 1781

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


As a lawyer in South Carolina, Edward Rutledge defended a printer who wrote an article in the 1770s critical of the Loyalist party and the Crown. A skilled orator and a respected lawyer, Rutledge served South Carolina at the Second Continental Congress. He supported the Patriot cause, but initially opposed separation. He believed Congress needed more patience and debate before going to the extreme of independence.

In a trial vote on July 1, 1776, South Carolina voted against independence. Jefferson recorded South Carolina, Georgia and an unidentified Northern colony took opposition to an anti-slavery clause in the original Declaration draft, but little else is known about the issue. Before the final vote on July 2, 1776, Rutledge put aside whatever differences he may have had and helped convince his fellow delegates to vote in favor of independence. Ultimately, he believed the colonies needed to appear united to be successful in their opposition to Britain.

This letter details the state of the war in the southern colonies. Rutledge wrote that a strong show of force was the only way to reason with the British; appealing to their humanity would prove fruitless.

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About This Item

  • Title: Edward Rutledge on Revolutionary War in southern colonies, Philadelphia, 1781
  • Creator: Rutledge, Edward
  • Creation Date: 1781-08-14
  • Subject Date: 1781-08-14
  • Town: Philadelphia
  • County: Philadelphia
  • State: PA
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 32.38 cm x 20.32 cm
  • Local Code: Coll. 420, Box 59/19
  • Collection: John S. H. Fogg autograph collection
  • Object Type: Text

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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