James Henry Hammond was born on December 8, 1807, in South Carolina. In 1825, Hammond graduated from South Carolina College, with the intention of teaching, writing for a newspaper and studying law. In 1828, he was admitted to the bar and began a newspaper in support of nullification. Hammond was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a member of the Nullifier Party in 1835 and served for one year. He served as Governor of South Carolina from 1842 until 1844 and as a United States Senator from 1857 until 1860.
As a plantation owner, Hammond was a defender of slavery and states rights. He was also the first to use the phrase “Cotton is King.” Hammond was known for his mistreatment of slaves and for detailing the mistreatment in his Secret and Sacred Diaries. James Henry Hammond died on November 13, 1864.