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07.01.27 The Life and Times of Charles Pinckney by Marty D. Matthews, published in 2004 by U. of South Carolina Press.

Notes Concerning the Author

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Charles Pinckney (1757–1824) was born into one of South Carolina’s most prominent families and quickly became one of the state’s most influential figures.  Born in Charleston, Pinckney grew up there and on his father’s large farms in the Carolina lowcountry. He served in the state militia during the American Revolution and was captured at the surrender of Charleston in 1780.  Later he attended the Confederation Congress in 1784.  But he is best known for his representation of South Carolina at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, where he presented one of the few complete drafts of government for the new nation. The “Pinckney Draft” of the Constitution would play an integral part in the controversy that swirled around him, giving Pinckney’s political enemies ammunition for their charges of arrogance and vanity — and perplexing historians for nearly a century.Within thirteen years of the convention, Pinckney forsook his heritage and broke with his family—most of whom were staunch Federalists—to support the Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson in the pivotal election of 1800. Pinckney’s efforts on Jefferson’s behalf helped propel the Virginian into the presidency and changed the course of American political history. As a reward, Pinckney was named minister to Spain, where he served until 1806 before returning home and to state and to national politics.  Soon after suffering financial ruin in his personal life, Pinckney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served during the Missouri Controversy of 1820.  Pinckney’s impassioned speeches in Congress helped lay the groundwork for the states rights ideology that eventually would dominate the prevailing political philosophy of the Southern people.Pinckney’s importance has been long overshadowed by that of luminaries such as James Madison and even by other members of the Pinckney family.  In Forgotten Founder, a book of 224 pages, Marty D. Matthews addresses the reasons for such oversights and examines Pinckney’s many important contributions to the founding of the American republic.

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