Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
Display paragraphs in this book containing:
First Pub. Date
New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
Pub. Date
Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
282 of 1105



CONNECTICUT, a state of the American Union. Its first or provisional government was formed under a commission from the Massachusetts legislature, March 3, 1636, to eight of the settlers on "the river of Connecticut." Jan. 14, 1639 [original text is set as 8 vertically over 9 in small font; the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut were voted into effect on Jan. 14, 1639—Econlib Ed.], there was formed a quasi constitution, directing all magistrates, including the governor, to be chosen annually by popular vote, a tenure continued until 1876 in the case of the governor though efficient officers have been usually re-elected. In 1876 the governor's term was lengthened to two years. Hartford and New Haven remained separate colonies until their acceptance of the character of 1662, and the memory of the division was retained in the two capitals of the state, Hartford and New Haven, until 1875, when Hartford was made sole capital. April 23, 1662, Charles II. granted the colony a charter, which continued the popular election of governors and legislatures and gave to the colonial government the appointment of judges. The boundaries assigned were as follows: "Bounded on the East by Narraganset-River, commonly called Narraganset-Bay, where the said River falleth into the Sea; and on the North by the Line of the Massachusetts-Plantation; and on the South by the Sea; and in Longitude as the Line of the Massachusetts-Colony, running from East to West. That is to say, From the said Narraganset-Bay on the East to the South Sea on the West Part." (See TERRITORIES, NEW YORK, MASSACHUSETTS, RHODE ISLAND.) This very democratic charter was made the constitution of the "free, sovereign and independent state" of Connecticut in 1776 by statute. Oct. 5, 1818, by a close vote (13,918 to 12,361), a new constitution was adopted, whose main political change was an extension of the right of suffrage, which had hitherto been in those made freemen by the towns, to all white males, 21 years old, of good moral character, having a freehold of $7 annually or paying a state tax. The property qualification has since been abolished, and an educational requisite (ability to read) has been added, but the character qualification is still in force. (See CONSTITUTIONS, STATE. For the disputed title to Wyoming, see WYOMING, PENNSYLVANIA.)


—In national polities the course of Connecticut has been almost unwaveringly anti-democratic. It has cast its electoral vote for the federalist, whig or republican candidates at every presidential election except four: 1820, 1836, 1852 and 1876. After the downfall of the federal party in 1800, Connecticut and Delaware were the only states which, so long as there were federalists to vote for, voted for federalists at every election. In 1820 these two states at last joined with all the others in voting for Monroe, but at the first opportunity, in 1824, both returned to a broad constructionist candidate, John Quincy Adams. In 1836 Van Buren's majority over Harrison was but 768 out of a total of 37,700 votes. In 1852 the state went to Pierce through the defection from the whigs of about 3,000 free-soil votes. In 1876 Tilden's majority over all was but 1,712 out of a total of 122, 156 votes. But, notwithstanding this almost constant vote against the democratic party, the majorities have generally been proportionally very small, and the democratic organization in the state has always been strong and active. In 1818, after a struggle of many years, it forced from its federalist opponents the new constitution above referred to, with an extension of the suffrage. Since that time its existence in the state has been maintained by the almost even balance of success between the two parties in the annually recurring state elections. The state may therefore be classed in general as republican (in 1881) in national politics, and extremely doubtful in state polities. In one year (1868) the state chose republican electors and a democratic governor.


—The name of the state was taken from the name of its principal river, an Indian word meaning Long River. The popular name is either The Nutmeg State, or The Land of Steady Habits.


—GOVERNORS (since 1776): Jonathan Trumbull (1776-83). Matthew Grisworld (1784). Samuel Huntingdon (1785-95). Oliver Wolcott (1796-7), Jonathan Trumbull (1798-1808), John Treadwell (1809-10), Roger Griswold (1811-12), John Cotton Smith (1813 - 16), Oliver Wolcott (1817 - 26), Gideon Tomlinson (1827-30), John S. Peters (1831-2), H. W. Edwards (1833), Samuel A. Foote (1834), H. W. Edwards (1835-7), W. W. Ellsworth (1838-41), C. F. Cleveland (1842-3), Roger S. Baldwin (1844-5), Clark Bissell (1846-8), Joseph Trumbull (1849), Thomas H. Seymour (1850-53), Henry Dutton (1854), W. T. Minor (1855-6), A. H. Holley (1857), W. A. Buckingham (1858-65), Jos. R. Hawley (1866), Jas. E. English (1867-8), Marshall Jewell (1869), Jas. E. English (1870), Marshall Jewell (1871-2). Charles R. Ingersoll (1873-5), R. D. Hubbard (1876-8), Charles B. Andrews (1878-80), H. B. Bigelow (1880-82)


—See Hildreth's United States; Barber's Connecticut Historical Collections; Hollister's History of Connecticut; Connecticut Registers (annual); Tribune Almanae (1838-81); Connecticut Democratic Year Book for 1880; Carpenter and Arthur's History of Connecticut;Dwight's History of Connecticut; Trumbull's History of Connecticut; Bushnell's Work and Play; and authorities under BLUE LAWS; WYOMING; Croffutt and Morris' Civil and Military History of Connecticut during the War.


282 of 1105

Return to top