Early America

Subject

Early America

Catawba Indians

1664-1775

Once an eminent Siouan tribe that thrived in the middle Carolinas, the Catawba Nation first encountered white settlers through the fur trade. Both war and European disease proved fatal to the Catawba, and by 1760, only 1,000 tribe members survived. The tribe, now numbering over 2,800 members, gained full federal recognition in 1993, and they live on a reservation near Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Colleges and Universities

The UNC System

1776-1835

Today, the University of North Carolina System consists of 17 separate campuses located throughout the state. It is governed by a Board of Governors elected by the General Assembly. It even includes two special high schools. But the university began with just one campus, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Agriculture

Gristmills: North Carolina’s First Public Utilities

1664-1775

Gristmills—mills that use water power to grind corn and wheat into flour—were a “familiar feature of the 19th century countryside,“ wrote Grimsley T. Hobbs in 1985. They were also North Carolina's first public utilities.

Colonial North Carolina

Joel Lane, Raleigh’s “Founding Father”

1664-1775

Joel Lane (1739 or 1740–1795) was a North Carolina political figure active in the colony’s preparation for the American Revolution. After the war ended, he was one of the many North Carolina Anti-Federalists. Anti-Federalists opposed ratification of the U. S. until James Madison promised to add a Bill of Rights.

Colonial North Carolina

Lotteries in Early North Carolina

1664-1775

We think of lotteries as modern, but they were a popular way of raising money in early North Carolina—in colonial times and especially during the Early Republic after the American Revolution. Between 1759 and 1834, North Carolina’s legislature authorized 101 lotteries, according to a tally by Alan D. Watson.

Early America

Macon and the Invisibles Were Major Actors in Early U.S. History

1916-1945

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.

Early America

When Politics Turned Physical

1776-1835

An influential early 19th-century N.C. congressman was bloodied during a “fracas” following a heated debate with a colleague.

Colonial North Carolina

N.C.’s Samuel Johnston Played Important Role in Founding

1664-1775

His work influenced politics and law in the years leading up to and following the Revolutionary War.

Colonial North Carolina

North Carolina’s Ratification Debates Guaranteed Bill of Rights

1776-1835

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.

Commentary
Colonial North Carolina

North Carolina’s Ratification Debates Guaranteed Bill of Rights

1776-1835

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.

Commentary
Early America

A U.S. Supreme Court Justice Who Met an Unfortunate End

1776-1835

Many United States and North Carolina history enthusiasts are aware that President George Washington nominated James Iredell, Sr. (namesake of Iredell County, North Carolina) as one of the first justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Far fewer are aware of James Wilson.

Commentary
Early America

Constitution Day: Tar Heels Take Center Stage in Famous Painting

1776-1835

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.