The Province of North Carolina developed distinctly from South Carolina almost from the beginning. As early as 1689, the Carolina proprietors named a separate governor for the region of the colony that lay to the north and east of Cape Fear. By 1712, the term "North Carolina" was in common use. In 1728, the dividing line between North Carolina and Virginia was surveyed. By 1729, the Crown bought out seven of the eight original proprietors, making North Carolina a royal colony.
The proprietor who refused to sell was John Carteret, who in 1744 received rights to the vast Granville Tract, constituting the northern half of North Carolina. This happened just as the tide of immigration to North Carolina from Virginia and Pennsylvania started to swell. Many of the mid-eighteenth-century immigrants were farmers of Scots-Irish or German descent. On the eve of the American Revolution, North Carolina was the fastest-growing British colony in North America. The small family farms of the Piedmont contrasted sharply with the plantation economy of the coastal region, where wealthy planters grew tobacco and rice with slave labor. By 1760, enslaved Africans constituted one quarter of North Carolina's population and were concentrated along the coast.
In the late 1760s, tensions between Piedmont farmers and coastal planters welled up in the Regulator movement. With specie scarce, many inland farmers found themselves unable to pay their taxes and resented the consequent seizure of their property. Governor William Tryon's conspicuous consumption in the construction of a new governor's mansion at New Bern fuelled their resentment. As the western districts were underrepresented in the colonial legislature, it was difficult for the farmers to obtain redress by legislative means. Ultimately, the frustrated farmers took to arms and closed the court in Hillsborough. Tryon sent troops to the region and defeated the Regulators at the Battle of Alamance in May 1771.
North Carolina in the American RevolutionEdit
Although wealthy coastal settlers opposed the Regulators, they too were growing unhappy with royal government in the 1760s. In the spring of 1776, North Carolinians, meeting in the fourth of their Provincial Congresses, drafted the Halifax Resolves, a set of resolutions that empowered the state's delegates to the Second Continental Congress to concur in a declaration of independence from Great Britain. In November 1776, North Carolina representatives gathered in Halifax to write a new state constitution, which remained in effect until 1835.
Although North Carolina was spared violence in the early years of the Revolutionary War, it was a major focus of fighting in 1780-81. American general Nathanael Greene British forces under Charles Cornwallis at the Battle of Guilford Court House in March 1785.
The United States Constitution drafted in 1787 was controversial in North Carolina. Delegates meetings at Hillsboro in July 1788 initially voted to reject it. They were persuaded to change their minds partly by the strenuous efforts of James Iredell and William Davies and partly by the prospect of a Bill of Rights. Meanwhile, residents in the wealthy northeastern part of the state, who generally supported the proposed Constitution, threatened to secede if the rest of the state did not fall into line. A second ratifying convention was held in Fayetteville in November 1889, and on November 21, North Carolina became the twelfth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
North Carolina adopted a new state constitution in 1835. One of the major changes was the introduction of direct election of the governor, for a term of two years; prior to 1835, the legislature elected the governor for a term of one year. North Carolina's current capitol building was completed in 1840.
James K. Polk, who was president of the United States from 1845 until 1849, was born in North Carolina. Andrew Jackson, who was president of the United States from 1829 until 1837, was most likely born in South Carolina, but is sometimes also claimed as a native of North Carolina.
The Civil War and ReconstructionEdit
As a plantation state, North Carolina had a long history of slavery. In the fraught election of 1860, North Carolina's electoral votes went to Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, an adamant supporter of slavery who hoped to extend the "peculiar institution" to the United States' western territories, rather than to the Constitutional Union candidate, John Bell, who carried much of the upper South. Yet North Carolina (in marked contrast to most of the states that Breckinridge carried) was reluctant to secede from the Union when it became clear that Republican Abraham Lincoln had won the presidential election. In fact, North Carolina did not secede until May 20, 1861, after the fall of Fort Sumter and the secession of the Upper South's bellwether, Virginia. North Carolina was the last of the eleven Confederate states to leave the Union.
Many North Carolinians, especially yeoman farmers who owned few or no slaves, felt ambivalently about the Confederacy. Draft-dodging, desertion, and tax evasion were common during the Civil War years. The Union's naval blockade of Southern ports and the breakdown of the Confederate transportation system took a heavy toll on North Carolina residents, as did the runaway inflation of the war years. In the spring of 1863, there were food riots in North Carolina (as well as Georgia).
North Carolina was readmitted to the Union in 1868, after ratifying a new state constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Its government was "redeemed" by Southern Democrats in 1870. After the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 went into effect, the U.S. Attorney General, Amos T. Akerman, vigorously prosecuted Klan members in North Carolina. Anti-Klan efforts by Governor William W. Holden, combined with other controversies, led to his impeachment and removal from office in 1871.
Andrew Johnson, who became president of the United States following Lincoln's assassination in the spring of 1865 and remained in office until succeeded by Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, was born in North Carolina.
Post-war economic developmentEdit
During the late 19th century, North Carolina's Piedmont region developed a cotton textile industry, based in close-knit company towns. The introduction of manufacturing helped to diversify North Carolina's overwhelming agricultural economy.
On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers made the first successful airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
In the early 20th century, North Carolina launched both a major education initiative and a major road-building initiative to enhance the state's economy. The educational initiative was launched by Governor Charles Aycock in 1901; supposedly, North Carolina built one school per day while Aycock was in office. The state's road-building initiative began in the 1920s, after the automobile became a popular mode of transportation. During the early decades of the 20th century, North Carolina became the site of several major U.S. military installations, notably Fort Bragg.
North Carolina since the New DealEdit
In the period since the 1930s, North Carolina's reputation as an educational and manufacturing center has continued to grow. During World War II, North Carolina supplied the U.S. armed forces with diverse manufactured goods, including more textiles than any other state in the nation. North Carolina also became known for its excellent universities. Three major institutions compose the state's Research Triangle: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (chartered in 1789 and greatly expanded from the 1930s on), North Carolina State University, and Duke University (rechartered in 1924).
Another major theme of North Carolina history in the era since the New Deal has been racial desegregation. The sit-in that began at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro on February 1, 1960, sparked a wave of copycat sit-ins across the American South. The Greensboro sit-in continued sporadically for several months until, on July 25, African-Americans were at last allowed to eat at Woolworth's.
- William S. Powell and Jay Mazzocchi, eds. Encyclopedia of North Carolina (2006) 1320pp; 2000 articles by 550 experts on all topics; ISBN 0807830712
- James Clay and Douglas Orr, eds., North Carolina Atlas: Portrait of a Changing Southern State (University of North Carolina Press, 1971).
- Crow; Jeffrey J. and Larry E. Tise; Writing North Carolina History University of North Carolina Press, (1979) online
- Fleer; Jack D. North Carolina Government & Politics University of Nebraska Press, (1994) online political science textbook
- Hawks; Francis L. History of North Carolina 2 vol 1857
- Marianne M. Kersey and Ran Coble, eds., North Carolina Focus: An Anthology on State Government, Politics, and Policy, 2d ed., (Raleigh: North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, 1989).
- Lefler; Hugh Talmage. A Guide to the Study and Reading of North Carolina History University of North Carolina Press, (1963) online
- Hugh Talmage Lefler and Albert Ray Newsome, North Carolina: The History of a Southern State University of North Carolina Press (1954, 1963, 1973), standard textbook
- Paul Luebke, Tar Heel Politics: Myths and Realities (University of North Carolina Press, 1990).
- William S. Powell, North Carolina through Four Centuries University of North Carolina Press (1989), standard textbook
- Eric Anderson, Race and Politics in North Carolina, 1872-1901 (Louisiana State University Press, 1981).
- Bolton; Charles C. Poor Whites of the Antebellum South: Tenants and Laborers in Central North Carolina and Northeast Mississippi Duke University Press, 1994
- A. Roger Ekirch, "Poor Carolina": Politics and Society in Colonial North Carolina, 1729-1776 (University of North Carolina Press, 1981)
- Escott; Paul D. Many Excellent People: Power and Privilege in North Carolina, 1850-1900 University of North Carolina Press, (1985) online
- Fenn, Elizabeth A. and Peter H. Wood (1983). Natives and Newcomers: The Way We Lived in North Carolina Before 1770. University of North Carolina Press.
- Gilpatrick; Delbert Harold. Jeffersonian Democracy in North Carolina, 1789-1816 Columbia University Press. (1931)
- Harris, William C. "William Woods Holden: in Search of Vindication." North Carolina Historical Review 1982 59(4): 354-372. ISSN 0029-2494
- Harris, William C. William Woods Holden, Firebrand of North Carolina Politics. Louisiana State U. Press, 1987. 332 pp.
- Abrams; Douglas Carl; Conservative Constraints: North Carolina and the New Deal University Press of Mississippi, 1992
- Badger; Anthony J. Prosperity Road: The New Deal, Tobacco, and North Carolina University of North Carolina Press, (1980) online
- Gilmore; Glenda Elizabeth. Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 University of North Carolina Press, 1996
- Grundy; Pamela. Learning to Win: Sports, Education, and Social Change in Twentieth-Century North Carolina University of North Carolina Press, 2001
- Key, V. O. Southern Politics in State and Nation (1951)
- Elmer L. Puryear, Democratic Party Dissension in North Carolina, 1928-1936 (University of North Carolina Press, 1962).
- Elizabeth A. Taylor, "The Women's Suffrage Movement in North Carolina", North Carolina Historical Review, (January 1961): 45-62, and ibid. (April 1961): 173-89;
- Weare; Walter B. Black Business in the New South: A Social History of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company University of Illinois Press, 1993
- Wood; Phillip J. Southern Capitalism: The Political Economy of North Carolina, 1880-1980 Duke University Press, 1986
- Lindley S. Butler and Alan D. Watson, eds., The North Carolina Experience:An Interpretive and Documentary History (University of North Carolina Press, 1984), essays by historians and selected related primary sources.
- John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585-1979: A Narrative and Statistical History (Raleigh: Department of the Secretary of State, 1981)
- Jack Claiborne and William Price, eds. Discovering North Carolina: A Tar Heel Reader (University of North Carolina Press, 1991).
- Memoirs of W. W. Holden (1911) complete text
- Holden, William Woods. The Papers of William Woods Holden. Vol. 1: 1841-1868. Horace Raper and Thornton W. Mitchell, ed. Raleigh, Division of Arch. and Hist., Dept. of Cultural Resources, 2000. 457 pp.
- Hugh Lefler, North Carolina History Told by Contemporaries (University of North Carolina Press, numerous editions since 1934)
- H. G. Jones, North Carolina Illustrated, 1524-1984 (University of North Carolina Press, 1984)
- Yearns, W. Buck and John G. Barret; North Carolina Civil War Documentary (University of North Carolina Press, 1980)
- North Carolina Manual, published biennially by the Department of the Secretary of State since 1941.
- North Carolina Museum of History
- North Carolina Encyclopedia
- North Carolina Highway Historical Markers
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