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James Lawrence ORR

congressman , diplomat , lawyer , politician

James Lawrence ORR, Congressman, lawyer, politician, diplomat.


ORR, James Lawrence was born on May 12, 1822 in Craytonville, Pendleton District, South Carolina, United States, United States. Son of Christopher and Martha (McCann) Orr and brother of Jehu A. Orr.


Private school, southern university.


He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1842 and was admitted to the bar in Anderson, South Carolina, the following year. In the fall of 1844, he married Mary Jane Marshall, by whom he had five children. Orr was a Presbyterian and a Democrat.

From 1844 to 1846, he edited the Anderson Gazette. In 1846, he gave up the newspaper, resumed the practice of law, and became active in politics. He was elected to the state House and served from 1844 to 1848.

From 1849 to 1859, he served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was speaker from 1857 to 1859. He was a delegate to the Southern Rights convention in 1851 and to the Democratic national convention in 1860. A staunch Douglas Democrat, he had long favored the cooperative effort of the Southern states.

He was also a delegate to the South Carolina secession convention and was sent to Washington to negotiate the surrender of the forts in Charleston harbor. Throughout the war he served in the Confederate Senate. A member of the Beauregard bloc.

On was a critic of Bragg and, along with Wigfall, deserted the administration in 1862. He quarrelled with Davis in 1864, when Orr wanted to negotiate for peace. Even so, he served ably on the Foreign Affairs, Rules, Finance, Printing, Commerce, and many special and joint committees.

He also worked to aid South Carolina soldiers in Richmond. When the war ended, he returned to his law practice in Anderson. Orr supported President Johnson’s program of Reconstruction and so, in 1865, was sent as a special commissioner to the president to negotiate for a provisional government in South Carolina.

He was a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1865 and was elected governor of South Carolina in 1866. In 1868, he lost the confidence of the Democrats of his state by becoming a Republican, and for the next two years he served as the elected judge of the Eighth Circuit Court. In 1872, he supported Grant’s policy of declaring the Ku Klux Klan an outlaw organization and became Grant’s minister to Russia.


"Peculiar institution" of slavery was not only expedient but also ordained by God and upheld in Holy Scripture.


Stands for preserving slavery, states' rights, and political liberty for whites. Every individual state is sovereign, even to the point of secession.


Member South Carolina. House of Representatives, 1844-1848. Member United States House of Representatives from South Carolina., 31st-35th congresses, 1849-1859, speaker, 1858-1859.

Member Southern Rights Convention, Charleston, South Carolina., 1851. Member Democratic Navigation Convention, 1860. Member Secession Convention, 1860.

Member Confederate Congress, 1861. Member South Carolina. Constitutional Convention, 1865.

Member South Carolina. Republican Convention, 1872, delegate Republican National Convention, Philadelphia, 1872.


Spouse Mary Jane Marshall.

Martha (McCann) Orr