Jeffersonians

Subject

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.

Commentary
Early America

North Carolina Ratification Conventions: Five Quotes You Need To Know

1776-1835

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
Jeffersonians

Antifederalists Would Be Proud of Rand Paul’s Filibuster

1836-1865

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.

Early America

Willis Alston (1769-1837)

1776-1835

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)

Commentary
Federalist

Overlooked Founders and the Key to The Constitution

1664-1775

Americans more often than not discuss the meaning of the Constitution through the lens of Supreme Court decisions and the famous Federalist essays of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.  That is only part of the story, and in the case of the Supreme Court, a subjective and politically tainted chapter. 

Commentary
Early America

Questions About the Role of Original Intent: Antifederalists played important role in founding era

1664-1775

Over the past year and a half, I have been traveling across North Carolina with my colleague Michael Sanera leading constitutional workshops. In them, we emphasize the federal nature of the American government and remind Tar Heels that knowledge of history is essential to understanding original intent and the Constitution’s meaning. The question-and-answer sessions are interesting, so I thought I’d share some of the oft- repeated questions with readers.

Colonial North Carolina

James Turner (1766-1824)

1776-1835

Turner was an accomplished governor of North Carolina from 1802 to 1805. Before that, Turner was a soldier during the Revolutionary War, during which he served under the famous General Nathaniel Greene. Turner later became a representative in the House of Commons from 1798 to 1800 and served in the State Senate before reaching the North Carolina governorship in 1802. Turner was best known for his affiliation with Nathaniel Macon, a politician from North Carolina who mentored the Old Republicans.

Federalist

Samuel Ashe (1725-1813)

1776-1835

The Judge presiding over the landmark case Bayard v. Singleton (1785), Ashe served three one-year terms as Governor and was an ardent Federalist at the beginning of his term.  He soon supported state’s rights and Jeffersonian ideals.

Early America

Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr. (1758-1802)

1776-1835

A New Bern native and father of North Carolina Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr., Spaight was a leading Federalist delegate to the Constitutional Convention and governor of North Carolina from 1792 to 1795.  He later allied with Jeffersonian Republicanism after disagreeing with Federalist support for the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798).

Early America

David Stone (1770-1818)

1776-1835

A Bertie County native, a College of New Jersey (Princeton University) graduate, and part of the Marache Club, David Stone served not only as Governor of North Carolina (1808-1810) but also as a state legislator in the House of Commons (1790-1795, 1810-1811), as a U.S. Representative (1799-1801), and as a U.S. Senator (1801-1807, 1812-1814).   As governor he worked to protect personal property rights and promoted education in the Jeffersonian spirit.  As a US Senator, he was censured by the General Assembly for opposing war efforts.   

Early America

Rip Van Winkle

1776-1835

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

Jeffersonians

Nathaniel Macon (1758-1837)

1776-1835

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."