Huguenots, immigrant identity, colonial South Carolina, trans-Atlantic immigration, French Calvinists
This thesis examines the changes that occurred in the French identity of Huguenot immigrants to colonial Carolina. In their pursuit of prosperity and religious toleration, the Huguenots' identity evolved from one of French religious refugees to that of white South Carolinians. How and why this evolution occurred is the focus of this study. Upon arriving in the colony in the 1680s and 1690s, the Huguenots' identity was based on several common factors: their French language, their Calvinist religion, and their French heritage. As the immigrant group began to build their new lives in Carolina, these identifying factors began to disappear. The first generation's identity evolved from French immigrants to British subjects when they were challenged on the issues of their political and religious rights and, in response to these challenges, requested to become naturalized subjects. The second generation faced economic challenges that pitted planters against the wealthier merchants in a colony-wide debate over the printing of paper currency. This conflict created divisions within the Huguenot group as well and furthered their identity from British subjects to planters or merchants. Another shift in the Huguenots' identity took place within the third generation when they were faced with a slave uprising in 1739. The Huguenots' involvement in finding a legislative solution to the revolt completes this evolutionary process as the grandchildren of the immigrant generation become white South Carolinians. This thesis expands the historical data available on immigrant groups and their behaviors within colonial settlements.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Maurer, Nancy, "The Evolution Of French Identity: A Study Of The Huguenots In Colonial South Carolina, 1680-1740" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 847.