Primary Documents

Subject

Political History

North Carolina Constitution Is an Important Governing Document

1776-1835

I often have wondered how many North Carolinians have taken the time to study or at least generally refer to the North Carolina Constitution. Most likely, more than a few from the Old North State would be surprised to learn that such a document exists. In this regard, North Carolinians probably are not alone. Most...

Primary Documents

Fayetteville Observer

1836-1865

  The Fayetteville Observer is one of North Carolina’s oldest and largest independent newspapers.

Commentary
Colonial North Carolina

The Halifax Resolves Signaled a Victory for the Grass-Roots

1664-1775

First, there was the Halifax Resolves. Then there was the Declaration of Independence.

Colonial North Carolina

Richard Caswell

1664-1775

Richard Caswell was not only one of the first of delegates chosen to represent North Carolina at the first Continental Congress but he was also the first and fifth governor of the Tar Heel State.

Business and Industry

NC Postal Censorship Law of 1924 (Grist Law)

1916-1945

A state legislator named Frank Grist shepherded a law through the state legislature in 1924 which applied state-level penalties to anyone who sold literature in North Carolina which had been banned by the U.S. Post Office Department pursuant to federal law.  A magazine published by the famous editor H. L. Mencken potentially ran afoul of this statute, which was on the books until 1971.

Colonial North Carolina

The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina

1664-1775

North Carolina developed four different state seals during the colonial period and there have been six state seals since North Carolina declared its independence. While the Great Seal changed many times throughout North Carolina history, some variations on symbols have remained and appear on the current Great Seal.

Primary Documents

Timothy Bloodworth to John Lamb (July 1, 1789)

1664-1775

Antifederalist Timothy Bloodworth's letters are scarce.  Most of what we know is from what his contemporaries remarked and from his comments during the ratification debates.  In this letter, Bloodworth expresses a deep concern to preserve liberty, discusses what he considers to be dangers inherent in the U.S. Constitution, and suggests political strategy.

Primary Documents

Thomas Person to John Lamb (August 6, 1789)

1776-1835

Former Regulator, Thomas Person describes his love of Liberty, comments on North Carolina popular opinion regarding the Constitution, suggests political strategy to ensure that amendments are added to the Constitution, and criticizes what he considers to be Hugh Williamson's aristrocratic ways. 

Early America

An Address to the Freemen of North Carolina (Publicola)

1776-1835

During the ratification debates, many Federalists and Antifederalists assumed pseudonyms when writing essays supporting or opposing the U.S. Constitution’s adoption.  Under the penname Publicola (meaning friend of the people), Archibald Maclaine of Wilmington, a Federalist, printed a reply to George Mason’s objections to the Constitution.  It appeared in installments in the New Bern State Gazette on March 20 and March 27, 1789.

Business and Industry

Archibald Maclaine (1728-1790)

1664-1775

An influential supporter of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Archibald Maclaine may have been even more influential if not for his defense of Tories within the state. One of the original trustees of the University of North Carolina, Maclaine was known for his belief in the law and order and for his willingness to stand in the minority for issues he supported.

Primary Documents

Timothy Bloodworth to John Lamb (June 23, 1789)

1664-1775

Antifederalist Timothy Bloodworth's letters are scarce.  Most of what we know is from what his contemporaries remarked and from his comments during the ratification debates.  In this letter, Bloodworth expresses his concern regarding the Constitution, comments on politics in New York and Virginia, describes public opinion in North Carolina regarding the Constitution, and calls for a committee to explore amendments.