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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.