The exact date of birth of Joseph Alston is unknown. The sources go but from 1779 as a year of his birth. Until 1796 he attended the College of New Jersey, later Princeton University, but where he made no statements. Thereafter, he studied with Edward Rutledge law and in 1799 admitted to the bar. His main focus was in addition to the policy on the management of his plantation.
His political career began in 1802 with his election to the House of Representatives of South Carolina. This mandate he kept initially until 1803. Between 1805 and 1812 he was continuously a member of this committee, most recently as Speaker of the House. Alston was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson. This party nominated him in 1812 for the office of governor and the majority of his party -dominated House of Representatives then elected him to this office.
Governor of South Carolina
His term lasted exactly two years and began on 1 December 1812. Right at the beginning of his term of office was established on 19 December 1812, the Bank of South Carolina. His government was overshadowed by the war against England. This resulted in a conflict between the National Guard ( militia ), and the Governor. Some members of the force refused to place themselves under the orders of the governor and the regular army. When no solution to the crisis loomed, Alston broke the Force completely. But now the concern rose in South Carolina, that one is delivered now defenseless any British attacks. Therefore, it was after the governor. He was given the command of the re- launched force. The whole affair, however, had earned him a tremendous loss of prestige.
Even before the end of his term of office on December 1, 1814 suffered some setbacks Alston. On June 30, 1812 his son had died and his wife Theodosia disappeared at the turn of 1812/13 in mysterious circumstances along with the ship " Patriot", which probably went down. Of these two blows of fate he had not recovered. He died in September 1816th It is worth mentioning that his wife Theodosia, the daughter of Aaron Burr, who had been from 1801 to 1805 under Jefferson Vice President of the United States.