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Rip Van Winkle

During the early 1800s, North Carolina acquired a nickname: “the Rip Van Winkle State.”   It was named so because more than few considered the state’s economy to be asleep while neighboring states were bustling with production and trade.  Some historians argue, however, that outsiders used this term and that economists have misunderstood North Carolina’s incremental economic growth

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Macon, Nathaniel (1758-1837)

Ultimas Romanorum–"the last of the Romans": That is what Thomas Jefferson called Nathaniel Macon.  Others referred to Macon, not George Washington, as the "real Cincinnatus of America," and some nicknamed the Warren countian "the Cato of Republicanism."  

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Ruffin Thomas

Thomas Carter Ruffin served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina from 1833 until 1852. Now regarded as one of the most important jurists in American history, Ruffin was a powerful exponent of judicial independence, though his renown stems largely from the reviled opinion that he rendered in the case of State v. Mann.

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Smith, Benjamin (1756-1826)

Born into wealth, Benjamin Smith died in poverty.  From 1810 to 1811, Smith served as governor of North Carolina.  Although a Democratic-Republican, he never abandoned his former Federalist inclinations.

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Warren Junto

A group of Democratic-Republicans/Jeffersonians who feared government encroachment and disliked Federalist policies, the Warren Junto was in many ways more Jeffersonian than Thomas Jefferson.  The Warren Junto became a political force during the early 1800s.

Commentary

Revolutionary Characters

On March 27, 2007, Pulitzer Prize winner Gordon Wood discussed his recent book, Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different, at a North Carolina History Project Headliner Luncheon. His entire lecture can be viewed here.

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Bloodworth, Timothy (1736-1814)

Timothy Bloodworth was an influential Patriot, Anti-Federalist, and Democratic-Republican.  Without the advantages of great wealth, a prominent family, or a prestigious education, Bloodworth typified a new generation of working-class politicians during and after the American Revolution, and his ambition, ability, and likable personality made him one of North Carolina’s most durable politicians.

Commentary

Antifederalists: North Carolina's Other Founders

It is tempting to dismiss the Anti-Federalists, for the U.S. Constitution that they opposed is practically a sacred document to most modern Americans.  Under that Constitution, the United States increased in population, wealth, and territory to become, by the late twentieth century, the world’s only superpower.  The Anti-Federalists contributed to what now seems to be a preordained drama.  Their story, however, suggests that history might have taken another, and not unthinkable, path.

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Franklin, State of

The State of Franklin existed from 1784 to 1789 in what is now upper East Tennessee. It was situated on lands that North Carolina ceded to the federal government, yet the State of Franklin was not recognized by North Carolina or by the federal government. This lack of recognition was due not only to factionalism among the Franklinites but also to factors surrounding North Carolina’s cession of its western lands.