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Non-Importation Movement

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.  The boycott movement began in New England and then moved southward.  Unlike the northern colonies, the southern economic interests were controlled by English and Scottish merchants and less likely to boycott English goods; therefore, consumers in each southern colony assumed responsibility and led the non-importation movement.

North Carolina followed the lead of her two southern neighbors, South Carolina and Georgia, and her northern neighbor, Virginia.  In Virginia, large planters, including Richard Henry Lee and George Mason, once again declared that Virginia had an exclusive power to tax its citizens and pledged to boycott all British goods that were taxed (except for paper).  In Charleston, South Carolina, defenders of economic liberty met under the Liberty Tree.  Under its shade, writes economist and historian Murray Rothbard, they pledged to buy no British goods and no slaves from British traders.  In Savannah, Georgia, disgruntled colonists met at Liberty Hall and endorsed South Carolina’s action.   In North Carolina, Cornelius Harnett, later the namesake of Harnett County (est. 1855), championed a non-importation resolution among Sons of Liberty members.  Although the North Carolina House adopted Virginia’s resolutions, Governor Tryon summarily dismissed their action.  As a result, in the fall months of 1769, North Carolina legislators met as private citizens, adopted Virginia’s non-importation resolutions, and vowed to treat violators with “utmost contempt.”  When the government continued trampling on what they considered their English rights, North Carolinians in the end took matters into their own hands.  


Murray N. Rothbard, Conceived in Liberty Vol. III  (Auburn, Alabama: reprint, 1999).

See Also:

Related Categories: Political History
Related Encyclopedia Entries: Arthur Dobbs (1689-1765), Edward Vail (1717-1777), Edenton Tea Party, Bunker Hill Covered Bridge, Carteret County (1722), Robert Howe (1732-1786), Republicanism, William Hooper (1742-1790), Watauga Association, Cross Creek, William Richardson Davie (1756-1820), Alfred Moore (1755-1810), Principles of an American Whig, Stamp Tax Protests (Wilmington), Sons of Liberty, Merchants Committees of Inspection, The Justice and Policy of Taxing the American Colonies in Great Britain Considered, Provincial Convention (1775), Tories, John Alexander Lillington (c.1725-1786), Richard Dobbs Spaight (1758-1802), Archibald Maclaine (1728-1790), The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina, Philip Alston, John Penn (1741-1788), The Test, Port Act, Cornelius Harnett, Thomas Burke (1747-1783), David Fanning (1755-1825), William Richardson Davie (1756-1820), Polk County (1855), Lincoln County (1779), Gaston County (1846), Randolph County (1779), Edgecombe County (1741), Guilford County (1771), Battle of Guilford Court House, Chowan County (1681), Pamlico County (1872), Nash County (1777), Battle at the Mouth of Sandy Creek, Battle of Plymouth (1864), Granville County (1746), Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, Rutherford's Campaign, Royal Governor William Tryon (1729 - 1788), Tryon Palace, Royal Governor Josiah Martin (1737 - 1786), Battle of Cowan’s Ford (February 1, 1781), The Battle of Ramsour’s Mill (June 20, 1780), Richard J. Salem (1947- ), James Iredell, Sr. (1751-1799), Act Concerning Marriages (1669), Lieutenant Governor, Carolina Charter of 1663, Affirmations, Johnston Riot Act, Hillsborough Confrontation (1768), William Linkhaw, Dual Tenure (late 1800s), To The Inhabitants of Great Britain, Stamp Act, Plantation Duty Act (1673), Concessions and Agreement (1665), State v. Mann, Reginald Hawkins (1923-2007), An Address to the Freemen of North Carolina (Publicola), Tabitha Ann Holton, Lillian Exum Clement (1894-1925), Woodson v. North Carolina , Capital Punishment , Racial Justice Act , The Nutbush Address (1765), State v. Negro Will (1834) and State v. Manuel (1838), Frankie Silver Murder Case of 1833, Caleb Bradham (1867-1934), Tryon’s Stamp Act Assembly, Ratification Debates, Angus W. McLean (1925-1929), Containerization, Headache Powders, Goody's Headache Powder, Cotton Textile Institute, Brookings Plan, Wake County (1771), The North Carolina Highway Patrol, Benjamin Everett Jordan (1896 - 1974)
Related Commentary: Edenton Tea Party: An American First, When Wilmington Threw A Tea Party: Women and Political Awareness in Revolution-Era North Carolina, Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different, 1771 Alamance: The First Battle of Our American Revolution, Defending Liberty From The Bench, Defending Liberty From the Bench, Nothing Says It Better Than A Good Quote, A U.S. Supreme Court Justice Who Met an Unfortunate End, Constitution Day: Tar Heels Take Center Stage in Famous Painting, An Overlooked Jeffersonian Argument: Thomas H. Hall and Internal Improvement Legislation

Timeline: 1664-1775
Region: Statewide

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