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Enfield Riot (1759)

Leaving Halifax County on a wintry January day, approximately two dozen men travelled seventy miles to Edenton and kidnapped Francis Corbin.  The land agent was hauled back to Halifax County and sequestered in Enfield with his subordinate Joshua Bodley.  After four days, the two co-agents agreed to demands to be more transparent in their official operations, and the rioters were assuaged—at least temporarily.  What transpired those four days is known as the Enfield Riot (1759). 

Commentary

Constitution Day: Tar Heels Take Center Stage in Famous Painting

On September 17, 1787, thirty-nine delegates signed the U.S. Constitution and then submitted it to the various state ratification conventions to approve. What was accomplished on that day was nothing less than remarkable: delegates had agreed on the final draft of the first written national constitution that still remains in effect. Today is Constitution Day, and we as Americans remember the signers’ actions and the document’s importance to ensuring the rule of law, even in our modern world.

Commentary

Echoes From the Past

A recent history column briefly described An Inch of Snow (1964), an out-of-print novel depicting a state legislative race in North Carolina.  It was more than entertainment depicting small-town North Carolina life. The novel’s fictitious speeches by Democratic and Republican candidates reflect the actual economic concerns of North Carolinians in the 1960s.  The arguments offered are often repeated nowadays in print and on air and behind debate podiums and at dinner tables across the state.

Commentary

North Carolina Ratification Conventions: Five Quotes You Need To Know

Many North Carolinians expressed Antifederalist sympathies and were skeptical of giving the national government more authority, especially without a Bill of Rights added to the Constitution. There might be problems with the Articles of Confederation, sure, but did Americans, many Tar Heels questioned, need to hurriedly give the national government more power?

Commentary

Antifederalists Would Be Proud of Rand Paul’s Filibuster

When U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., filibustered in March, the old-fashioned way, talking for approximately 13 hours and questioning whether the president had the constitutional authority to use unmanned drones to kill American noncombatants on U.S. soil, he unnerved many politicians and talking heads.

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Alston, Willis (1769-1837)

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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Hill, William Henry (1767-1808)

A Brunswick County native, William Henry Hill was the state’s district attorney, a state senator, a University of North Carolina Trustee, and a U.S. Congressman.  Unlike many of his North Carolina contemporaries in Congress, Hill was a staunch Federalist who, according to Lawrence F. London, “believed in a strong central government.”  

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Holland, James (1754-1823)

James Holland or “Big Jim” Holland was a North Carolina Militiaman and politician from Anson County, North Carolina. He served in the Revolutionary War and was elected to the North Carolina State Senate (1783, 1797) and the North Carolina House of Commons (1786, 1789). He also served in the United States House of Representatives (1795-1797, 1800-1810). Later in life Holland moved to Tennessee and served as the Justice of the Peace (1812-1818). He died in Maury County, Tennessee in 1823.

Commentary

Five Things You Need To Know About James Madison (Jeff Broadwater)

The historian Irving Brant, who wrote a six-volume biography of James Madison, once complained about his subject’s modest place in America’s historical memory. “Among all the men who shaped the present government of the United States of America, the one who did the most is known the least.”  In a modest effort to redress this Madisonian neglect, here are five things we should all know about America’s fourth president.