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Entries written by: Troy L. Kickler

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"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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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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Anti-Federalism Encyclopedia

Anti-Federal was the name given to the men and the movement opposing the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.  Ironically, Anti-Federals wanted a more federal government than the Federals; the term resulted from a Federal political strategy to present Anti-Federals as opponents of limited government.  Before they ratified (approved) the Constitution, Anti-Federals wanted a Bill of Rights to be included.

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