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The Making of the 50 States: North Carolina

Part 2: The Rest of the Story

The Church was never far away from the English settlers' lives, as evidenced by the Vestry Act of 1703, which required members of the General Assembly to be members of the Church of England and to swear an oath of allegiance to the monarch. This act was enforced to a greater or lesser extent for many years afterward, especially among the non-Anglican Quakers, Catholics, and Presbyterians who lived in the new colony.

Slavery was never far away from the lives of the English settlers, either. The colony's first slave code was set up in 1715.

It wasn't just the English who settled in North Carolina, either. People from other European countries, including France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland, moved to North Carolina in the 17th and 18th Centuries. One German-Swiss town, New Bern, became the colonial capital in 1745. The colony's first newspaper, the North Carolina Gazette, began six years later.

In the mid-1750s, the French and Indian War flared up in North Carolina, with Cherokee fighting alongside the French and the British militia fighting alongside their home countrymen.

As in other colonies, the civil unrest that resulted from the Stamp Act and other taxes occurred in North Carolina. In 1774, the First Provincial Congress voted to send delegates to the First Continental Congress. Also in that year occurred the Edenton Tea Party, a symbolic and realistic protest of 51 prominent women vowing to support American independence by giving up drinking British tea.

A stronger show of independence came in 1776, with the passing of the Halifax Resolves, a blueprint for the Declaration of Independence.

War came to North Carolina in 1775, with the Mecklenburg Declaration stating the colony's case against Britain and British soldiers stating Britain's case with their weapons. Militiamen and American soldiers from North Carolina fought in the battles of Monmouth, Charleston, Camden, Guilford Courthouse, and Kings Mountain. North Carolina troops were with the victorious American Army at Yorktown, in 1781.

In that same year, North Carolina had ratified the Articles of Confederation. After the war, the colony struggled under the new government and eventually sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention. In 1789, North Carolina, after initially rejecting the new form of government, ratified the Constitution, becoming the 12 state of the Union.

First page > In the Beginning > Page 1, 2

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