‘Southern Charm’: Kathryn Dennis Has One Very Racist Ancestor

Southern Charm is all about old money and new drama, and few of its stars embody that better than Kathryn Dennis. And with all of the courtroom custody battles and accusations flying left and right, it seems as if Kathryn Dennis and her ex, Thomas Ravenel, have the drama accounted for. As for old money, Dennis has that under control as well. Kathryn comes from a lush political background. And while it was almost two centuries ago, one of her ancestors was an important figure in America’s political history — and not a very racially tolerant one.

Kathryn Calhoun Dennis and her family history

Denni’s full name, Kathryn Calhoun Dennis, gives an immediate hint to her checkered family history. Working backwards, Dennis is the granddaughter of South Carolina Senator Rembert C. Dennis.

Rembert C. Dennis served in the South Carolina Senate from 1943 to 1988 as a registered Democrat. Dennis once famously opened a session of Congress with what was allegedly an impressive turkey mating call.

However, Dennis’ real claim to historical fame is her direct relationship with John C. Calhoun. Calhoun was the 7th Vice President of the U.S., serving directly under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. They were called the “Great Triumvirate” and essentially dominated U.S. politics in the first half of the 19th century.

Calhoun’s dangerous policy

To say that John C. Calhoun supported slavery was an understatement. Widely recognized as the political voice of the antebellum South, it’s Calhoun who once said that slavery is a “positive good” for all parties involved.

Calhoun once gave an infamous speech in which he said, “I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good–a positive good.”

Calhoun also once said, “Never before has the black race…from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically, but morally and intellectually.”

Some historians also see Calhoun as the man who helped spur on the Civil War. Though Calhoun never wanted the South to become separatist, it was his belief that the South needed special privileges and protections as a minority area in the United States.  

Kathryn Dennis’ politics

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mood. #emerald @cushnie

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Kathryn Dennis seems to have had political aspirations of her own, perhaps in an effort to carry on the family’s political history. Dennis went to University of South Carolina, where she studies both women’s studies and political science. According to Bustle, Dennis was active in her university’s Republican group, as well as their Delta Delta Delta sorority.

In 2010, Dennis serves as an intern for the South Carolina Lieutenant Governor’s office. She also served as a page in 2010 to Senator John Land. However, it has been some time since Dennis was once politically active, and it leaves fans wondering if she’ll ever pick up the mantle and go for it again. There’s the possibility that the recent drama on Southern Charm might harm her prospects, however.