First published in 1968, The Conservative Regime was the inaugural work from the prolific Cooper. An investigation of the way in which South Carolinians redefined their state in the wake of the Civil War and Reconstruction, the volume addresses two divergent political eras and the powerful figures who shaped them. The 1876 election of General Wade Hampton as governor marked the end of Reconstruction and the withdrawal of federal troops from South Carolina and returned the state to one-party Democratic rule under Hampton's ""Redeemers"" or ""Bourbons."" Bourbon rule brought limited cooperation with African American leadership, but little in the way of economic growth and what profits of industry were to be had remained securely in the hands of the Old Guard. Reaction to the do-nothing policies of Hampton and the Bourbons brought the rise of Ben Tillman to the state's highest office and the evocation of more progressive thinking in the late 1880s.
(Baton Rouge, LA) W.K. Boyd Professor of History. Books include Liberty and Slavery: Southern Politics to 1860; The American South: A History; The South and the Politics of Slavery, 1828-1856; Jefferson Davis, American; and An Honorable Defeat: The Last Days of the Confederate Government.