The Port Royal ExperimentA Case Study in Development

The Port Royal ExperimentA Case Study in Development

Kevin Dougherty

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9781628461534

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


The victory at Port Royal, South Carolina in November 1861 left the Federal government with the responsibility for some ten thousand now-masterless slaves. Lacking a sufficient policy or plan for this new reality, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase dispatched Edward Pierce to Port Royal to assess the situation. As a result, an eclectic flood of Northern reformers, missionaries, abolitionists, and educators, collectively known as the “Gideonites,” descended upon the Sea Islands, unleashing what became known as the “Port Royal Experiment.” The Port Royal Experiment: A Case Study in Development analyzes this chapter of the Civil War and Reconstruction era in the context of nation-building and development. Each of its ten chapters treats uniquely a particular aspect of the experience such as planning, economic development, and resistance, presents the case study in the context of more recent nation-building efforts in places like Bosnia, Somalia, and Afghanistan, and incorporates recent scholarship in the field. The Port Royal Experiment: A Case Study in Development is designed to appeal to a wide audience with such varied interests as the Civil War, the military, non-governmental organizations, governmental bureaucracies, African-Americans, South Carolina, and nation-building. In addition to these general themes, each case study is written to also be able to be used individually as part of an in-depth examination of a particular aspect of development. Modern readers will no doubt see that the challenges that faced the Port Royal Experiment remain relevant and their solutions remain elusive.