JOHN PETER RICHARDSON II was born in Hickory Hill, Clarendon County, South Carolina. After attending South Carolina College, he studied law and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar. In addition to practicing law, he was a trustee of South Carolina College for several years and was considered father of the Military College of South Carolina. He was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1825 to 1834; a member of the Nullification Conventions of 1832 and 1833 that considered the question of whether states had the power to nullify federal law; a member of the south Carolina Senate from 1834 to 1836; and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1836 to 1839. Richardson was the first unionist (i.e., opponent of nullification) to be elected governor following the nullification controversy. In addition, the question of how much autonomy the banking industry possessed was a focus of politics during Richardson’s gubernatorial term. Specifically, during the economic slump that followed the Panic of 1837, the state legislature had enacted legislation designed to more carefully regulate banks. However, the Bank of South Carolina refused to conform to the regulations, raising the question of what autonomy banks should have. The banks won their case in a lower court decision but lost on appeal, and the issue remained important in the state. After leaving office, Richardson was a delegate to the Southern Convention of 1850, a member of the Southern Rights Convention of 1852, a member of the South Carolina Secession Convention of 1860, a signer of the Ordinance of Secession, and a member of the South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1865.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.
Son of South Carolina Governor John Peter Richardson
Cousin of South Carolina Governor Richard Irvine Manning
Uncle of South Carolina Governor James Burchill Richardson
Second cousin of South Carolina Governor John Laurence Manning