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Richard Irvine Manning III was born in Sumter County, South Carolina, on August 15, 1859. His grandfather, Richard Irvine Manning, had served as governor of the state from 1824 to 1826. He attended the University of Virginia from 1877 to 1879.
Manning's political career started during the era of Ben Tillman, and Manning served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1892 to 1896 before moving up to the South Carolina Senate from 1898 to 1906. When he was elected to the governorship in 1914, Manning brought many Progressive Era reforms to a state that had spent four years under the demagogic leadership of Coleman Livingston Blease. During his first term in office, South Carolina prohibited alcohol, established the state's first compulsory education law, and raised the minimum age for employment to 14. South Carolinians expressed their approval of these measures by re-electing Manning to a second term in 1916.
He is interred in the churchyard at Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbia, South Carolina.
Robert Milton Burts (1974). Richard Irvine Manning and the Progressive Movement in South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-292-3
Charles Aurelius Smith
|Governor of South Carolina
1915 – 1919
Robert Archer Cooper
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