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

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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NORTH CAROLINA, one of the original thirteen states of the American Union. The jurisdiction over its soil was claimed by Great Britain on the general ground of the Cabot voyages. A grant was made to Sir Walter Raleigh by Queen Elizabeth, March 25, 1584, of all such "lands, territories, countries, cities, castles, towns, villages and places" as he should "discover and possess"; but after five voyages he failed to make any permanent settlement. March 24, 1663, Charles II. granted to Edward, earl of Clarendon, and seven associates, the province of "Carolina," lying between 31°rees; and 36°rees; north latitude, extending west to the south sea. June 30, 1665, a charter was granted to Clarendon and the other "lords and proprietors," in which the grant was extended by making the southern boundary latitude 29°rees; north, and the northern boundary a straight line west from the head of Currituck inlet, as at present, half a degree to the north of latitude 36°rees;: the "province of Carolina" thus covered about the same coast line as the modern states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, and extended theoretically to the Pacific ocean.


—March 1, 1669, a code of "fundamental constitutions" for the province was drawn up by the proprietors; its authorship is attributed to John Locke, the philosopher, but it was long supposed to be one of the vagaries of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, afterward earl of Shaftesbury, to whom Locke was secretary. One-fifth of the lands was to go to the proprietors, the eldest of whom was to take the first rank, with the title of palatine; one-fifth to the hereditary nobility; and three-fifths to the people. The nobility was to consist of three classes: landgraves, caziques, and lords of manors; each was to have a stipulated number of acres of land, which was not to be alienated after the year 1700, and the right to hold court leet for his territory; the rest of the population were to be "leetmen," they and their children's children to all generations, attached to the soil—that is to say, serfs. The parliament was graded into four chambers: proprietors, landgraves, caziques, and commons, or lords of manors; the latter name was long retained in the North Carolina legislature. (See ASSEMBLY.) This absurd attempt to establish feudalism among the pioneers of Carolina was an utter failure; it was disregarded from the first, and in 1693 was formally abandoned by the proprietors.


—The division between the northern part of the province, at first called Albemarle county, and the southern, was established two or three years before 1700. The northern portion, afterward North Carolina, had thereafter its own assembly, sometimes a separate governor, and sometimes a governor in common with South Carolina. In 1719 the proprietary government fell to pieces, and in 1729 the crown bought out the proprietors, and both North and South Carolina were thereafter royal provinces. The boundary line between the two was settled in 1735; the northern boundary line had been run eight years before. (For the western boundary, see TENNESSEE.)


—CONSTITUTIONS. A provincial congress (see REVOLUTION) met in the colony Aug. 25, 1774; and under its direction a convention at Halifax Nov. 12-Dec. 18, 1776, framed the first constitution of the state, which was not submitted to popular vote. It provided for a general assembly consisting of a senate and a house of commons chosen annually, one senator and two representatives from each county, and one representative from each of six towns; for a governor, to be elected annually by the legislature, to hold office not more than three years in six; and imposed property qualifications on the holding of office, and on the right to vote for senators: otherwise suffrage was limited by the qualifications of age and one year's residence. In 1835 the constitution was largely amended: the senate was now composed of fifty members, chosen by districts, and the house of 120 members, chosen by counties, according to population; free negroes were for the first time excluded from the right of suffrage; the election of governor, to serve two years, was given to the people; and the sessions of the legislature were made biennial. In 1854 property qualifications in voters for senators were abolished. The secession convention of 1861 did not modify the constitution itself. The convention of 1865, which repealed the ordinance of secession, adopted an ordinance abolishing slavery, which was ratified by a popular vote of 19,039 to 3,970. In May, 1866, the same convention revised the state constitution; but their work was rejected by a small popular majority. The reconstruction convention Jan. 14 - March 16, 1868, framed a new constitution, which was ratified, April 21-23, by a popular vote of 93,118 to 74,009. The political changes from the old constitution were mainly the change of the name of the house of commons to that of the house of representatives, the lengthening of the governor's term to four years, the grant of the right of suffrage to negroes, the provision for registration laws, and the following features of the declaration of rights: any right to secede was forever repudiated; the paramount allegiance of the citizen was declared due to the United States; the debt incurred for the rebellion was declared null and void; and slavery was forever prohibited within the state. In 1875-6 this was amended, the most important change being in the judiciary.


—GOVERNORS. Richard Caswell, 1777-9; Abner Nast, 1779-81; Alexander Martin, 1781-4; Richard Caswell, 1784-7; Samuel Johnston, 1787-9; Alexander Martin, 1789-92; Richard D. Spaight, 1792-5; Samuel Ashe, 1795-8; William R. Davie, 1798-9; Benjamin Williams, 1799-1802; James Turner, 1802-5; Nathaniel Alexander, 1805-7; Benjamin Williams, 1807-8; David Stone, 1808-10; Benjamin Smith, 1810-11; William Hawkins, 1811-14; William Miller, 1814-17; John Branch, 1817-20; Jesse Franklin, 1820-21; Gabriel Holmes, 1821-4; Hutchings G. Burton, 1824-7; Jas. Iredell, 1827-8; John Owen, 1828-30; Montfort Stokes, 1830-32; David L. Swain, 1832-5; Richard D. Spaight, 1835-7; Edward B. Dudley, 1837-41; John M. Morehead, 1841-5; William A. Graham, 1845-9, Charles Manly, 1849-51; David S. Reid, 1851-5; Thomas Bragg, 1855-9; John W. Ellis, 1859-61; H. T. Clark, 1861-2; Zebulon B. Vance, 1862-5; William W. Holden, provisional, 1865; Jonathan Worth, 1865-8; William W. Holden, 1868-71; Tod R. Caldwell, 1871-4; Curtis H. Brogden, 1874-7; Zebulon B Vance, 1877-81; Thomas J. Jarvis, 1881-5.


—POLITICAL HISTORY. In the beginning of her history as a state, North Carolina occupied a peculiarly isolated position. She had few ties of sympathy or interest with even the nearest states, Virginia and South Carolina; she had laid the foundation of a navy; she had issued her own paper money extensively; and had developed many of the characteristics of a separate nationality. Her first convention, therefore, refused to ratify the constitution, unless twenty-six specified amendments should be added to it, the most essential one being a prohibition against interference by congress or the federal judiciary with state paper money already in circulation. It was not until the following year that a second convention ratified the constitution, recommending eight amendments, including the one above mentioned. (See CONSTITUTION, I.-II.; STATE SOVEREIGNTY; BANK CONTROVERSIES, II.) Notwithstanding the ratification, the state legislature in the following year refused to take the oath of allegiance to the United States.


—From her first admission North Carolina was a democratic state. By the district system of choosing electors, one of her electoral votes was given to Adams in 1796, four to Adams in 1800, and three to Pinckney in 1808; all her other electoral votes (twelve until 1801, fourteen until 1811, and fifteen until 1841) were given to the regular democratic presidential candidates until the election of 1840. Her delegates in congress were as regularly democratic, though the seacoast districts occasionally returned a federalist. During this period Nathaniel Macon was the most prominent democratic leader. In the legislature the federalists were much more strongly represented, and throughout the war of 1812 were very nearly on equal terms with their opponents.


—In the state elections of 1836 the state showed a whig majority, electing a governor and eight of the thirteen congressmen from that party. In 1840 the electoral vote of the state became whig by a popular vote of 46,376 to 34,218, and continued whig until 1852 by about the same proportional vote. Rayner, Clingman, Badger, Mangum and Graham were the best known whig leaders of this period.


—In 1848 the last whig governor of the state, Manly, was elected. In 1850 the democrats, for the first time since 1836, elected the governor, and a majority of both houses of the legislature; but the whigs still secured six of the nine congressmen. In 1852 the electoral vote of the state was democratic; and its majority remained steadily democratic until the outbreak of the rebellion. Many of the leading whigs, notably Thomas L. Clingman, became democrats; but others, such as Rayner, maintained an opposition under the "American party" organization. Even in 1859 the remnant of the old whig party, without an organization, and with hardly the semblance of a party name, was able to elect four of the eight congressmen, and to poll a popular vote of 39,965 to 56,222 for governor. In 1860 the Breckinridge electoral ticket carried the state by a narrow majority.


—In 1860-61 the sentiment of the state was strongly against the expediency, not the right, of secession. (See SECESSION.) The legislature voted strongly against all attempts to secede, and on appointing commissioners to represent the state at Montgomery, instructed them, by a vote of sixty-nine to thirty-eight, to "act only as mediators"; a projected state convention was rejected by popular vote; and the seizure of federal forts was checked and disavowed. President Lincoln's call for troops in April changed the current. The legislature was convened in special session, May 1; the federal forts were seized; a convention was called for May 20, the supposed anniversary of the Mecklenburgh declaration; and on that day the state convention passed an ordinance of secession and ratified the constitution of the confederate states.


—From the beginning of the war the people of the state were completely dissatisfied with the confederate government, because of the manner in which it had neglected the defense of the state and allowed the Roanoke expedition to seize the eastern portion of it. In 1862 they elected as governor Z. B. Vance, a former "American," and an open opponent of President Davis; in 1863 the "American" element elected nearly all the state's representatives in congress, as a peace delegation; and in 1864 the candidates for governor were both peace men, one (Vance) wishing for peace through negotiations by the confederate government, the other (Holden) for separate state negotiations. Vance was elected by a vote of 54,323 to 20,448. It has been said that there was some desire to secure the secession of the state from the confederate states, but this hopeless scheme was never practically undertaken.


—May 29, 1865, William W. Holden was proclaimed provisional governor of the state by President Johnson; and under his auspices a convention met at Raleigh, Oct. 2, declared the ordinance of secession null and void Oct. 4, and prohibited slavery Oct. 6. Both acts were ratified by popular vote, almost unanimously. A new legislature ratified the 13th amendment, and a new governor was elected and inaugurated Dec. 15, 1865. May 24, 1866, the convention of 1865 reassembled, and made an entire revision of the state constitution; but their work was rejected by a popular vote of 21,552 to 19,570.


—In March, 1867, the state government was superseded by the appointment of Maj. Gen. Sickles to the command of the military district composed of North and South Carolina. (See RECONSTRUCTION.) Aug. 26 he was displaced by Maj. Gen. E. R. S. Canby. Under his directions a convention met at Raleigh, Feb. 14, 1868, and formed a new constitution, which was ratified by popular vote. It made no disfranchisement either on account of race or on account of participation in the rebellion. Under it a new governor and legislature were elected, the 14th amendment was ratified, and by the terms of the act of June 25, 1868, the president declared by proclamation, July 11, that North Carolina was restored to full participation in the national government. The electoral vote of the state was given to Grant and Colfax, by a popular vote of 92,241 to 78,600; and all the state officers were republicans.


—The republican majority in the reconstructed legislature was decided: the 15th amendment was ratified March 4, 1869, by votes of forty to eight in the senate and eighty-seven to twenty in the house. Immediately after its organization disorders began in the state (see KU-KLUX KLAN), and under acts of the legislature the governor proclaimed Alamance county in insurrection, March 7, 1870, and Caswell county, July 8; made arrests there by military force; and obtained federal assistance. (See INSURRECTION, II.) The result was a great popular excitement, and in August the democrats elected five out of seven congressmen, thirty-two out of fifty senators, and seventy-five out of 120 in the lower house. The new legislature in November chose ex-Gov. Vance United States senator, though his disabilities were not yet removed; and the house impeached Gov. Holden for his proclamations, and for refusing to obey the writs of habeas corpus issued by the state courts. March 22, 1871, he was convicted and removed, and T. R. Caldwell became governor in his stead. A legislative effort to call a constitutional convention was defeated by a popular vote of 95,252 to 86,007.


—The state election of August, 1872, was close and exciting. The republicans obtained a majority of the popular vote, 98,630 to 96,731 (for governor), and thus elected their candidates for governor and state officers; but the democrats secured a majority of both houses of the legislature. In November the democratic vote fell off 24,000, and the electoral vote of the state was given to Grant and Wilson by a heavy majority. The legislature adopted a number of amendments to the constitution, which were ratified by popular vote; and passed a ku-klux amnesty act for all offenses under the grade of murder, arson and burglary, an act to allow local prohibition of liquor selling, and an act to submit the question of a constitutional convention to the people. The convention project was ratified by popular vote; that body met at Raleigh, Sept. 6 - Oct. 11, 1875, the political parties being a tie in its membership, and framed an amended constitution, mainly altering the form of the state judiciary. Their ratification was one of the questions in the election of Nov. 7, 1876, in which each party exerted itself to the utmost. The opposing candidates for governor, Vance and Thomas Settle, canvassed the state together, and a large vote was called out on both sides. The result was the success of the democrats in electing the governor, over two-thirds of both houses of the legislature, and all but one of the congressmen. The popular majority was by no means so emphatic; for governor it was 123,265 to 110,256. Since that time the state has remained democratic, the principal subject of political discussion being the repudiation of a portion of the state debt; but in no other southern state has the republican vote remained so constant, or been treated with so much apparent fairness. In the presidential election of 1880 the popular vote was 124,204 for the democratic ticket, 115,878 for the republican, and 1,136 scattering. The legislature stood as follows: senate, thirty-eight democrats, twelve republicans; house, seventy-four democrats, forty-four republicans.


—In the local politics of the state nothing has been more remarkable than the singular political mistake of the dominant party in 1881. With the approval of the democratic leaders, the democratic legislature passed a stringently prohibitory liquor law, and submitted it to the people; but at the election, August 7, the democratic majority disappeared, and a majority of over 110,000 appeared against the law.


—Among the prominent names in the state's political history are the following: Geo. E. Badger, secretary of the navy under Harrison, and whig United States senator 1846-55, Thomas Bragg, democratic governor 1855-9, United States senator 1859-61, and attorney general of the confederate states (see CONFEDERATE STATES); John Branch, democratic governor 1817-20, United States senator 1823-9, secretary of the navy under Jackson, representative in congress 1831-3, and candidate for governor in 1838; Thos. L. Clingman, representative in congress (whig) 1843-5 and 1847-51, (democrat) 1851-8, United States senator 1858-61, and brigadier general in the confederate army; James C. Dobbin, democratic congressman 1845-7, and secretary of the navy under Pierce; Alfred Dockery, whig congressman 1845-7 and 1851-3, and candidate for governor in 1854: Wm. A. Graham (see his name); Nathaniel Macon, democratic congressman 1791-1815, United States senator 1815-28, and speaker of the house 1801-6, a most sincere, consistent and incorruptible politician; W. P. Mangum (see his name); John Pool, whig candidate for governor in 1860, and republican United States senator 1868-75; Matt. W. Ransom, major general in the confederate army, and democratic United States senator 1872-89; Kenneth Rayner, whig congressman 1839-45, one of the "American" leaders 1855-8, and solicitor of the treasury under Hayes and Garfield; Thomas Ruffin, democratic congressman 1853-61, killed in the confederate army; Thomas Settle, president of the republican national convention in 1872, and republican candidate for governor in 1876; Zebulon B. Vance, whig (or opposition) congressman 1858-61, colonel in the confederate army, governor 1863-5 and 1877-9, and democratic United States senator 1870-72 (not admitted) and 1870-85; and Hugh Williamson, federalist congressman 1790-93. (See MECKLENBURGH DECLARATION, TENNESSEE, SECESSION, BORDER STATES, RECONSTRUCTION.)


—See 2 Poore's Federal and State Constitutions; 10 John Locke's Works (Carolina constitution); Lawson's History of Carolina (to 1714); Hawks' History of North Carolina (to 1729); authorities under MECKLENBURGH DECLARATION; 1 Byrd's History of the Dividing Line Between Virginia and North Carolina; Williamson's History of North Carolina (to 1812); Martin's History of North Carolina (to 1829); Jones' Memorials of North Carolina (1838); Foote's Sketches of North Carolina (1853); T. L. Clingman's Speeches and Addresses; Bennet's Chronology of North Carolina (1858); and authorities under articles referred to.


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