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The Making of the 50 States: New Hampshire


Part 2: The Rest of the Story

Wentworth died in 1770 and was succeeded by his nephew, John, who continued to improve the colony, handing out money to build roads and colleges and even the state militia. Despite the close ties to England and the money that was flowing almost exclusively one direction, Americans were not satisfied with what they thought was English interference in their daily lives. Protests in other colonies of such provisions as the Stamp Act and the Tea Act found echoes in New Hampshire as well. New Hampshire was the first colony to declare its independence from Great Britain and also the first to have its own constitution.

One of the most revolutionary acts committed by Americans before the war began was the New Hampshirites' taking of the guns and ammunition at Fort William and Mary. By the time the Revolutionary War rolled around, New Hampshirites were ready to fight. In fact, one report says that New Hampshire militiamen made up the majority of the American troops fighting at the Battle of Bunker Hill. As fighting raged across Massachusetts, so did anti-British sentiment rage across New Hampshire. Gov. Wentworth fled the colony when he went outside his mansion one morning and found a cannon pointed at his front door. New Hampshire continued to play a role in resisting British efforts throughout the war.

Portsmouth had become a major shipyard town by this time, and John Paul Jones, the famous captain of the Bonhomme Richard, visited there twice to oversee the construction of America's first two warships, the Raleigh and the Ranger.

New Hampshire was not without its moral controversies, however, as African-American slaves lived on the seacoast in the hundreds, working on the docks and elsewhere.

New Hampshire has the distinction of being the ninth state to ratify the Constitution, thus making the document officially the form of government of the new United States of America. It happened on June 21, 1788.

First page > In the Beginning > Page 1, 2

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