North Carolina many times has been a battleground state and a determining factor in national debates. A study of the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and in particular what has become known as the “Connecticut Compromise,” provides an example of how North Carolinians provided key votes in the budding new union.
On the border of the Piedmont and the coastal region, Nash was incorporated in 1777. Its namesake is General Francis Nash who died while serving the Patriot cause during the Revolutionary War. An important agricultural county, Nash County farmers grow crops ranging from tobacco to cucumbers to cotton. The first Hardee’s Restaurant opened in Nash County in 1960, and Jim Thorpe started his baseball career in the region with the Rocky Mount Railroaders.
Abner Nash served as the second governor of North Carolina during the darkest days of the American Revolution (1780-1781). The first North Carolina constitution gave few powers to the governor, and such limitations frustrated Nash, who disagreed constantly with the legislature. He refused to run for reelection.
Every June, the community of Spivey’s Corner hosts The National Hollerin’ Contest. Once used by farmers and rural neighbors to communicate across long distances, hollering fell away at the beginning of the twentieth century because of telephone use. The Hollerin’ Contest seeks to preserve the lost art alive, and nearly 3,000 tourists visit Sampson County to learn and celebrate it at the folk festival.
Established by the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933, the National Recovery Administration (NRA) was one of two early New Deal programs intended to revive U.S. industry after years of contraction. While designed to stabilize commerce, the NRA was unsuccessful, particularly in North Carolina, where it exerted baneful economic and sociological effects.
From the 1730s to the 1860s, the naval stores industry was an increasingly profitable business. With its abundant Long Leaf Pines, North Carolina soon emerged as an invaluable producer of tar, pitch, and turpentine not only in the national economy but also in the international market.
Located in Chapel Hill, The North Carolina Botanical Garden is managed by the University of North Carolina. The garden provides the public with a display of diverse flora and is a leading research and education center for the environment of the southeast.
A state legislator named Frank Grist shepherded a law through the state legislature in 1924 which applied state-level penalties to anyone who sold literature in North Carolina which had been banned by the U.S. Post Office Department pursuant to federal law. A magazine published by the famous editor H. L. Mencken potentially ran afoul of this statute, which was on the books until 1971.
Although Confederate leadership for some time anticipated using the CSS Neuse, the ironclad’s service was short and disappointing. Various reasons, including a manpower shortage and Union raids on construction material, delayed the ironclad’s construction. Once it was battle and sea ready, the Neuse grounded on a sandbar during its first mission in 1864. It was later scuttled after its second and last mission in 1865.
Federal programs to fight the Great Depression brought almost $440 million by 1938 to North Carolina. Conservative Democrats who had fought the reforms in the state, nonetheless, eagerly accepted the largesse from Washington, D.C. The most important New Deal program in the state was the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), which essentially paid farmers a modest amount to grow less tobacco, the state’s largest crop, as well as controlling other crops.
After his gubernatorial victory in 1928, with no opposition in the Democratic Party, Gardner chose his successor, John C. B. Ehringhaus, who won the governor’s race in 1932; Gardner’s brother-in-law and fellow citizen of Shelby, Clyde R. Hoey, also won in 1936. As a result, Gardner and his allies controlled the Democratic Party when it dominated the state and the South.
Referred to as the “Hollywood of the East” and home to the Azalea Festival, New Hanover County, although a relatively small county, has a prominent historical and cultural role in the state. Established in 1729, the county’s seat of government, Wilmington, attracts many vacationers and tourists year after year. Some important historical attractions include the Fort Fisher State Historic Site, the North Carolina Aquarium, and the U.S.S. North Carolina.
One of the most influential newspapers in North Carolina and the Southeast, the Raleigh News and Observer dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. The paper’s ascendancy to state and regional importance began in 1894, when Josephus Daniels bought the news souurce. In 1995, the McClatchy Newspapers Corporation purchased the News and Observer Publishing Company. The paper continues its daily operation in the Triangle area.
During the mid-to-late 1760s, the British government started tightening its regulatory grip on the American colonies, and in return, Americans started boycotting the importation of English goods. North Carolina legislators eventually convened in 1769 and in the defense of economic liberty and took matters into their own hands.
Known as the “longest continuous railroad bridge in the world,” the Norfolk and Southern Railroad Bridge cost $1 million to build and spanned 28,000 feet across the Albemarle Sound.
A manufacturing company in Wilmington, the North Carolina Button Factory produced Confederate uniform buttons. In 1861, Louis Froelich, the “Sword Maker for the Confederacy,” started working in the arms industry and gained experience that helped him establish and supervise the Confederate Arms Factory.
As part of the Progressive movement’s concern for children’s welfare, the North Carolina Conference for Social Service started in 1912. Nationalism, the interests of the state, and economic planning also influenced concern for children and the establishment of programs for their benefit.
In 1894, the first suffragette organization was founded in North Carolina. It remained almost inactive until the World War I era, when it became a political influence in the Tar Heel State. The association had minimal success in convincing the state legislature to grant women suffrage.
North Carolina’s Executive Mansion is not only home to the Governor, it is the “people’s house.” The building is also a meeting space, historic site, and an elegant event location. In addition, thousands of visitors visit during public tour season and during the holiday open house.
Originally created due to the increase of traffic on North Carolina roadways, the North Carolina Highway Patrol was commissioned on July 1, 1929. The first Highway Patrol class drove Harley-Davidson motorcycles and assisted stranded motorists, administered first aid in emergency situations, and pursued lawbreakers on the state’s highways. As of 2012, the State Highway Patrol employs over 2,300 officers, radio specialists, engineers, and civilian staff.
To showcase African American agricultural and educational achievement, the North Carolina Industrial Association (NCIA) hosted the African American Industrial fair. Developed in 1879 through the efforts of Charles N. Hunter and twenty-two African American businessmen, the North Carolina Industrial Association fostered better race relations among blacks and whites in Raleigh for a week of festivities.
During the nadir of race relations in the United States, African Americans had difficulty finding affordable life insurance. Inspired by fraternal solutions to societal problems, seven black community leaders started an African American insurance company: North Carolina Mutual Life.
North Carolina Railroad’s financial success made some wonder whether politicians and their friends unduly benefited from the railroad’s construction. For instance, the North Carolina Railroad passed through Hillsborough, Salisbury, and Concord–all three, hometowns of politicians, who strongly supported the construction of the railroad.
North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation in 1987 that made milk the official state beverage.
In 2001, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill declaring the blueberry as North Carolina’s official blue berry.
Located on Union Square in downtown Raleigh, the North Carolina State Capitol was opened in 1840. Today, the Capitol houses only the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor and their staff.
In 2005, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation making the Fraser Fir the official Christmas tree of North Carolina.
In 1941, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation making dogwood the official state flower.
In 2001, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill declaring the strawberry to be the state’s official red berry.
Once known as the North Carolina State University of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, NCSU has become a national and international leading institution in its academia and industry-based research programs. The university was formed in 1887, and the first classes were held in October 1889. Today, NCSU boasts in a student body of 34,000 students and a faculty and staff of 8,000.
North Carolina is the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the United States. In 2009, North Carolina harvested almost one million pounds of potatoes.
Formed by African American educators in 1881, the North Carolina Teachers Association (NCTA) promoted education as an avenue toward racial progress. Their membership included educators such as James E. Shepard, founder of North Carolina Central University, and Joseph C. Price, founder of Livingstone College. NCTA boasted an African American membership that included not only educators but also politicians, lawyers and doctors.
The 1787-89 debates over ratifying the Constitution offer another example of North Carolina’s longstanding role as a battleground state in U.S. political history.
A northern coastal county that borders Virginia, Northampton was formed from Bertie County in 1741, and its seat of government is Jackson. The Roanoke River meanders through the region, and the Roanoke Rapids are another interesting physical feature of the county. The first railroad to pass through North Carolina did so in Northampton in the early 1830s, and Sir Archie, North Carolina’s finest thoroughbred, was from the region.
In the year Wilmingtonians and North Carolina Sons of Liberty groups protested the Stamp Act, North Carolinia freemen in the Piedmont protested county clerks, lawyers, and sheriffs’ abuses of power and demanded that their constitutional rights be observed.