Mary Broun’s petition to the South Carolina General Assembly on behalf of her husband, Archibald, 1783

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Document Description:

This petition illustrates the shifting allegiances and complex relationships which colonists had with England and their colonial governments.  Mary and her husband, Archibald, were Charlestonians who initially supported the Patriot cause.  Archibald served as a lieutenant for the Charleston Light Infantry, but after the surrender of Charleston in 1780, he was one of 207 Charlestonians who signed an address to the conquering British commanders congratulating them on their success and the return to British rule.  He accepted a British commission as commander but later resigned.

At the end of the war, Mary petitioned the state Assembly to reinstate her husband’s property and remove him from banishment.  She acknowledged his service under the British but stressed that he felt that he had no other choice if he was to stay in America.  Her petition was successful, likely due to the Assembly’s ability to recognize the uncertainty that existed throughout the colonies during the Revolutionary period.

For more information see, Alexia Jones Helsley. South Carolinians in the War for American Independence.  Columbia: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 2000.


Mary Broun Petition. Records of the General Assembly, Petitions, 1783. #220. S165015. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Columbia, South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 4-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the conflict between the American colonies and England.

Indicator 4-3.1 Explain the political and economic factors leading to the American Revolution, including the French and Indian War; British colonial policies such as the Stamp Act, the Tea Act, and the so-called Intolerable Acts; and the American colonists' early resistance through boycotts, congresses, and petitions.

Indicator 4-3.2 Summarize the roles of principal American, British, and European leaders involved in the conflict, including King George III, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, and the Marquis de Lafayette.

Indicator 4-3.3 Explain the major ideas and philosphies of government reflected in the Declaration of Independence.

Indicator 4-3.4 Summarize the events and key battles of the Revolutionary War, including Lexington and Concord, Bunker (Breed's) Hill, Charleston, Sartoga, Cowpens, and Yorktown.

Standard 8-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the American Revolution—the beginnings of the new American nation and South Carolina’s part in the development of that nation.

Indicator 8-2.2 Compare the perspectives and roles of different South Carolinians during the American Revolution, including those of political leaders, soldiers, partisans, Patriots, Tories/Loyalists, women, African Americans, and Native Americans. (H, G, P, E)


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