Rawlins Lowndes

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Rawlins Lowndes
File:Rawlins Lowndes.jpg
32nd Governor of South Carolina
In office
March 6, 1778 – January 9, 1779
(as President of South Carolina)
Lieutenant James Parsons
Preceded by John Rutledge
Succeeded by John Rutledge (as Governor)
4th Intendant of Charleston, South Carolina
In office
September 1788 – September 1789
Preceded by John Faucheraud Grimké
Succeeded by Thomas Jones
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from St. Phillip and St. Michael Parishes
In office
Personal details
Born January 6, 1721
St. Kitts, British West Indies
Died August 24, 1800(1800-08-24) (aged 79)
Charleston, South Carolina

Rawlins Lowndes (January 6, 1721 – August 24, 1800) was an American lawyer and politician, and president/governor of South Carolina. His sons, Thomas and William Lowndes, both served in the U.S. Congress.

Lowndes was born on the island of St. Kitts in the British West Indies in January 1721.

At the young age of 21, Lowndes was appointed as the Provost-Marshal of South Carolina. He served in this role for ten years, from 1742 to 1752. Lowndes was first elected to the Royal Assembly, the colonial legislature, in 1749. During his years as a South Carolina political leader, Lowndes was a guiding force in South Carolina’s revolutionary government. He was a member of the First and Second Provincial Congresses, the First and Second General Assemblies, and the First and Second Councils of Safety. In 1776, Lowndes was one of eleven committee members charged with the responsibility of writing a draft constitution for South Carolina.

Despite his involvement in challenging increasingly harsh British measures leading up to the American Revolution, Lowndes opposed armed rebellion and independence from Britain.

On March 7, 1778 South Carolina General Assembly elected Lowndes President of South Carolina after John Rutledge. Lowndes approved major changes to the state constitution on March 19, 1778. The first changed the title of South Carolina’s chief executive office from president to governor. The three major changes removed the governor’s power to veto legislation,[1] created a Senate elected via popular election, and disestablished the Church of England in South Carolina.

After serving as President of South Carolina, Lowndes was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1787 and represented the parishes of St. Philip and St. Michael until 1790. As assemblyman he strenuously opposed the motion to accept the federal Constitution, to the clause giving power to congress to regulate commerce; and to the centralization of power which would accrue to the federal government.[2]

During the same period, he was intendant (mayor) of Charleston, from September 1788 to September 1789.

Lowndes died in Charleston, South Carolina, on August 24, 1800.

Image shown at right portrays William Lowndes. [3] Frontispiece, Life and times of William Lowndes of South Carolina, 1782-1822 by Mrs. St. Julien Ravenel (1901) New York and Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company. William Lowndes was the youngest child of Rawlins Lowndes and his third wife, Sarah. William Lowndes as described above, went on to a career in government himself, serving in the U. S. Congress.


  1. Johnson, Joseph (1851). Traditions and Reminiscences, Chiefly of the American Revolution in the South, p. 157. Charleston, S.C.: Walker & James.
  2. http://chestofbooks.com/reference/American-Cyclopaedia-10/Rawlins-Lowndes.html

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John Rutledge
President of South Carolina
Succeeded by
John Rutledge
Preceded by
John Faucheraud Grimke
Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina
Succeeded by
Thomas Jones