Executive Councils | South Carolina Public Radio

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“E” is for Executive Councils. After secession in December 1860, the state had to assume responsibilities previously carried out by the federal government. To do that, the Secession Convention established an Executive Council that met until April 1861. In January 1862, in response to the Union invasion of Port Royal, the reconvened Secession Convention created a new council to exercise executive authority. It consisted of the governor, the lieutenant governor, and three members elected by the Convention. This Council had a broad range of power to conduct affairs related to the war effort, including martial law, impressment, conscription, and war-materiel production. The Executive Council was effective, but engendered widespread opposition because of its extralegal nature and concentrated power. In December 1862, the General Assembly abolished the Executive Council and invalidated all its actions except fiscal contracts.