North Carolina In The American Revolution
The history of North Carolina from prehistory to the present covers the experiences of the people who have lived in the territory that now comprises the U.S. state of North Carolina.
Before 200 AD, residents were building earthwork mounds, which were used for ceremonial and religious purposes. Succeeding peoples, including those of the ancient Mississippian culture established by 1000 AD in the Piedmont, continued to build or add on to such mounds. In the 500–700 years preceding European contact, the Mississippian culture built large, complex cities and maintained far flung regional trading networks. Historically documented tribes in the North Carolina region included the Carolina Algonquian-speaking tribes of the coastal areas, such as the Chowanoke, Roanoke, Pamlico, Machapunga, Coree, Cape Fear Indians, and others, who were the first encountered by the English; Iroquoian-speaking Meherrin, Cherokee and Tuscarora of the interior; and Southeastern Siouan tribes, such as the Cheraw, Waxhaw, Saponi, Waccamaw, and Catawba.
England was the primary European nation to settle the area, starting with a charter in 1584. Sir Walter Raleigh began two small settlements in the late 1580s, but they failed. Some mystery remains as to what happened to the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island, but most historians think they starved to death. By 1640 colonists from Virginia moved into the area of Albemarle Sound. In 1663 the king granted a charter for a new colony named Carolina in honor of his father Charles I. He gave ownership to the Lords Proprietors
North Carolina had developed a system of representative government and local control by the early 18th century. Many of its colonists resented British attempts after 1765 to levy taxes without representation in Parliament. The colony was a Patriot base during the American Revolution, and its legislature issued the Halifax Resolves, which authorized North Carolina delegates to the Second Continental Congress to vote for independence from Britain. Loyalist elements were suppressed, and there was relatively little military activity until late in the war.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, North Carolina remained a rural state, with no cities and few villages. Most whites operated small subsistence farms, but the eastern part of the state had a growing class of planters, especially after 1800 when cotton became highly profitable when using slave labor. Politically the state was highly democratic, as heated elections (among adult white men) pitted the Democratic east versus the Whiggish west. After the firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861 North Carolina seceded from the United States and joined the Confederate States of America. More soldiers from North Carolina fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War, than any other state, but few major battles were fought there. During the early years of Reconstruction, strides were made at integrating the newly freed slaves into society, however these were quickly overturned and North Carolina became a firm part of the Jim Crow South.
The Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s had many connections to North Carolina. Events such as the sit-in protest at the F.W. Woolworth's store in Greensboro would become a touchstone for the movement, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a central organization in the movement, was founded at Shaw University in Raleigh. In 1973, Clarence Lightner was elected in Raleigh as the first African-American mayor of a major southern city.
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“I see every day more clearly the value, necessity, and sanative qualities of the three Bs: Bench, Ballot, Barricade.”
—Aurora C. Phelps, U.S. womens magazine contributor. The Revolution (May 21, 1868)
“When an American heiress wants to buy a man, she at once crosses the Atlantic. The only really materialistic people I have ever met have been Europeans.”
—Mary McCarthy (19121989)
“I hear ... foreigners, who would boycott an employer if he hired a colored workman, complain of wrong and oppression, of low wages and long hours, clamoring for eight-hour systems ... ah, come with me, I feel like saying, I can show you workingmens wrong and workingmens toil which, could it speak, would send up a wail that might be heard from the Potomac to the Rio Grande; and should it unite and act, would shake this country from Carolina to California.”
—Anna Julia Cooper (18591964)
“Biography is a very definite region bounded on the north by history, on the south by fiction, on the east by obituary, and on the west by tedium.”
—Philip Guedalla (18891944)