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 poet and writer of many short stories, including the ones using the “Flim Flam Yarn” title, Guy Owen was launched into fame with comical and popular The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man. Two years later it was turned into a movie, starring George C. Scott.
Tar Heels may be surprised to learn that North Carolinians, with opposing opinions, once unfortunately settled their political debate on an actual battleground—the Battle of Alamance (1771).
From 1809-12, Nathaniel Macon criticized the political machinations of a few members of Congress, mainly senators, whom he called “Invisibles.” Far from being superheroes swooping in to rescue ordinary Americans, the Invisibles, in Macon’s mind, acted unconstitutionally and harmed the nation.
During the 1840s, North Carolinians embraced the use of plank roads to improve the state’s economy. These wooden highways — built mainly with private funds — were purported to be an improvement over rough, dirt roads and a necessary step to create an intrastate (and eventually an interstate) trade network of plank roads, railroad hubs, and seaports.
An influential early 19th-century N.C. congressman was bloodied during a “fracas” following a heated debate with a colleague.
His work influenced politics and law in the years leading up to and following the Revolutionary War.
Reconstruction was a turbulent time, filled with significant political and social change, violence, and controversy. One controversial figure was Albion Tourgee, an Ohioan who moved to North Carolina for economic opportunities.
September 17 is Constitution and Citizenship Day. It is important to remind ourselves of the Constitution, and other founding documents, for as No. 21 in Declaration of Rights in the 1776 N.C. Constitution reminds us: “a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary, to preserve the blessings of liberty.”
Self-help efforts are fascinating and laudable stories. A particularly interesting one is how, in an age of de jure segregation, charitable and creative African-Americans were agents of change in their communities and were able to alleviate various economic and social problems.