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date: 10 December 2022

Regulator Movements in the Carolina Colonieslocked

Regulator Movements in the Carolina Colonieslocked

  • Abby ChandlerAbby ChandlerHistory Department, University of Massachusetts Lowell


While protest movements take many forms, the concept of the regulator movement is a recurring one in American history. Such movements are primarily characterized by their proponents’ explicit efforts to regulate, or reform, their local governments and by the belief that such actions are legally permissible as long as they remain within certain boundaries. Other common elements include tensions between urban and rural residents of the same political entity, economic inequalities, and/or religious frictions. North Carolina’s Regulator Rebellion (1766–1771) and the South Carolina Regulation (1767–1769) are the primary movements linked with the regulator tradition in the United States. They were, however, predated by the Culpepper Rebellion (1677) and Cary’s Rebellion (1711), in Carolina Colony, and the Enfield Riots (1759) and the Sugar Creek War (1765), in North Carolina. Regulator desire for political reform was never short of fuel in a region where every passing decade brought new political, economic, and religious challenges in its wake. In order to understand the regulator movement tradition in the United States, it is first necessary to examine its roots in the Carolina colonies.


  • Colonial History
  • Early National History

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