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The Making of the 50 States: New Jersey


Part 2: The Rest of the Story

With peace at hand, the New Jersey settlers were free to go back to their farms and continue growing crops. New Jersey was overwhelmingly farm country, with a few industrial areas here and there (iron mines and cloth mills, for instance).

One thing they didn't like, however, was the introduction and maintaining of a tax by Great Britain. Introduced in 1755 to finance the war effort, this tax was kept in place after the war, an unpopular practice to say the least.

Resentment toward Britain bubbled over in New Jersey as well during the American Revolution. In 1774, colonists from New Jersey burned a supply of tea from a British ship in what became known as the Greenwich Tea Burning.

The colony played a key role in the Revolutionary War. George Washington's famous Crossing of the Delaware River (1776) was made into New Jersey, after which came American victories in the Battle of Trenton and the Battle of Princeton. Two years later, the Americans and British fought an inconclusive battle at Monmouth. Washington and his forces spent two winters near Morristown. (Like many of the 13 Colonies, New Jersey had a sizable Loytalist population.)

New Jersey also played a leading role at the Constitutional Convention. William Paterson presented the views of the small states, who wanted to keep their fair share of representation in the new government. Paterson's plan became known as the New Jersey Plan.

In the end, New Jersey, like Delaware and Pennsylvania before it, ratified the Constitution. With three states signing it, the Constitution was well on its way to becoming the law of the land.

First page > The Beginning > Page 1, 2

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday


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