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Entries written by: Dr. Troy L. Kickler

Troy Kickler has been Director of the North Carolina History Project since August 2005. He holds an M.S. in Social Studies Education from North Carolina A&T State University and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Tennessee. His specialty areas are nineteenth-century U.S., Civil War and Reconstruction, African American, and religious history.

A recipient of numerous research awards and study grants, Kickler has taught at the secondary and post-secondary levels, including formerly at the University of Tennessee and Central Carolina Community College and currently at North Carolina State University.

A recipient of an Earhart Foundation research grant, Kickler is currently co-editor of Nathaniel Macon: Collected Letters and Speeches. He is also writing Black Children and Northern Missionaries, Southern Conservatives, Freedmen’s Bureau Agents, and Freedmen in Reconstruction Tennessee, 1865-1869.

He has served as editorial assistant for the Journal of East Tennessee History and has written articles and reviews for such publications as American Diplomacy, Carolina Journal, Chronicles, H-Civil War, Journal of Mississippi History, Tennessee Baptist History, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, and The Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians. He has also contributed to the upcomingExploring American History: From Colonial Times to 1877Encyclopedia of American Environmental History; and The Old West: Yesterday and Today.

Showing results: 1 to 10 out of 128

"Is Anything Free?: Debates Regarding Internal Improvements in Antebellum North Carolina" Commentary

Some things never change.  The particulars may do so, yet the essence remains.  Modern-day political ideas in North Carolina, for example, are rooted in the state’s past.  One example is public-funded roads.

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"Normal" People Made History Commentary

Why would I want to study peasants, when I can study kings?”, asked a fellow historian.   “Kings,” he continued, “made history.”     He was reacting to my comment that it’s important to study “normal” people.  My friend thought I trumpeted the usual, social history mantra.  But I meant something different.

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"Senator Sam" Continues to Offer Lessons of Authenticity Commentary

"Yes, I was born right over there. You can see I haven't gotten very far in life," remarked former Sen. Sam Ervin while pointing to his birthplace, a white house across the street from his residence in Morganton.

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2011 General Assembly Is More Momentous Than You May Think Commentary

In January 2011, the Republican Party of North Carolina took control of both houses in the General Assembly. Many have stated that Republicans haven't been in this position since the 1890s. Truth be told, the last time was the late 1860s.

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A Duel to End All Duels: Richard Dobbs Spaight Vs. John Stanly Commentary

Political debate often brings out the worst in people.  Thankfully dueling is now outlawed, but the personal pettiness that saturates the political process makes me long for the spirit of the good ol’ days to be placed in a modern-day boxing ring, where the disgruntled can find satisfaction and then get on with the business of genuine debate

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A New Light "Infestation": Charles Woodmason on Colonial Piedmont Religion Commentary

North Carolinians do not think of the present-day and economically thriving Piedmont as an ignorant backcountry that undermines social order.  But in the eastern part of the Province of North Carolina during the Pre-Revolutionary Period (1750-1775) many believed it was exactly that.

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Advertising Over the Years Show People Largely Stay the Same Commentary

Advertisements offer insights into culture and can help researchers learn about the past — often more than they may have imagined.

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Willis Alston (1769-1837) Encyclopedia

Born in an area that many of North Carolina’s early republic and antebellum statesmen called home—Warren, Halifax, and Edgecombe counties—Willis Alston entered into the political arena with established familial and political connections. He served as a state legislator and senator, and as a U.S. Congressman for 21 years.  Although he was Nathaniel Macon’s nephew, Willis Alston disagreed with his influential uncle on various political issues during Thomas Jefferson’s administration (1801-1809)

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When Politics Turned Physical Encyclopedia

An influential early 19th-century N.C. congressman was bloodied during a “fracas” following a heated debate with a colleague.

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An Overlooked Jeffersonian Argument: Thomas H. Hall and Internal Improvement Legislation Commentary

“My present purpose . . . is to present a figure seldom heard of nowadays but one deserving a lasting place in the history of North Carolina.”  In 1911, journalist Louis D. Wilson so described Thomas H. Hall, a Congressman from Edgecombe County, North Carolina.  Almost 100 years later, Wilson’s statement still rings loudly.

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