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Political History


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Abbott versus Vance U.S. Senate Election Encyclopedia


In 1870 incumbent Joseph Abbott lost the U.S. Senate election to Zebulon Vance.  So Abbott filed a complaint discounting Vance’s eligibility to serve, for the Fourteenth Amendment included a provision that prevented Confederate supporters from holding federal office.  After a year of deliberations, the Senate Elections Committee ruled in Vance’s favor; however, Vance had resigned before the committee issued its verdict.  Matt Ransom was then elected to replace Vance in 1872.

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Israel Braddock Abbott (18401887) Encyclopedia

A noted labor organizer and popular orator, Abbott was among the most highly regarded African American Republican politicians of the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras in North Carolina.  He served as both a New Bern city councilman and state legislator from Craven County, and was twice a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress from the Second District of North Carolina.

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Joseph Carter Abbott (1825 - 1877) Encyclopedia

Joseph Carter Abbott was a United States Senator from North Carolina between 1868 and 1871. Carter was also a Union Army colonel during the American Civil War. As a successful newspaperman contributing to many magazines, he had a particular interest in history.

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An Address to the Freemen of North Carolina (Publicola) Encyclopedia

During the ratification debates, many Federalists and Antifederalists assumed pseudonyms when writing essays supporting or opposing the U.S. Constitution’s adoption.  Under the penname Publicola (meaning friend of the people), Archibald Maclaine of Wilmington, a Federalist, printed a reply to George Mason’s objections to the Constitution.  It appeared in installments in the New Bern State Gazette on March 20 and March 27, 1789.

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Affirmations Encyclopedia

Affirmations are statements made in lieu of oaths by people who have conscientious scruples against taking oaths. Under modern North Carolina law, this means saying “solemnly affirm” instead of “solemnly swear,” and avoiding any invocation of God in support of one’s statement (North Carolina General Statues 11-1 and 11-4).  Starting its colonial history with a de facto freedom to affirm instead of swear, North Carolina returned to a more restrictive position based on English law, then extended affirmation privileges to certain Protestant groups, and ultimately made affirmations available to anyone with objections to oaths.

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Nathaniel Alexander (1756-1808) Encyclopedia

A surgeon and Revolutionary War Patriot, Alexander was a Jeffersonian who incorporated Federalist policy into his politics.  He championed internal improvements and played an instrumental role in the repeal of the Court Act of 1806, thereby allowing each county to have a court.  Charlotte Motor Speedway sits on what was his homestead.

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Willis Alston (1769-1837) Encyclopedia

Born in an area that many of North Carolina’s early republic and antebellum statesmen called home—Warren, Halifax, and Edgecombe counties—Willis Alston entered into the political arena with established familial and political connections. He served as a state legislator and senator, and as a U.S. Congressman for 21 years.  Although he was Nathaniel Macon’s nephew, Willis Alston disagreed with his influential uncle on various political issues during Thomas Jefferson’s administration (1801-1809)

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When Politics Turned Physical Encyclopedia

An influential early 19th-century N.C. congressman was bloodied during a “fracas” following a heated debate with a colleague.

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American Revenue Act Encyclopedia

After the French and Indian War (also known as The Seven Years War) ended in 1763, Great Britain essentially stopped the period of salutary neglect by increasing regulation over the American colonies. The passage of the American Revenue Act demonstrates how the empire tightened its regulatory grip on the American economic activities.

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Samuel Ashe (1725-1813) Encyclopedia

The Judge presiding over the landmark case Bayard v. Singleton (1785), Ashe served three one-year terms as Governor and was an ardent Federalist at the beginning of his term.  He soon supported state’s rights and Jeffersonian ideals.

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Josiah Bailey (1873-1946) Encyclopedia

Josiah Bailey was a leading figure in North Carolina’s progressive movement in the early twentieth century. In the 1930s and 1940s, he served as a Democratic U.S. Senator from North Carolina and co-authored the “conservative manifesto,” which defended fiscally conservative policy during the heyday of the New Deal.

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Graham A. Barden (1896-1967) Encyclopedia

Graham Arthur Barden represented North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, which covered the Outer Banks and several coastal counties, from 1934 until 1960. His reaction to the New Deal was a typical North Carolinian one: initial support, giving way to deep suspicion.

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Bayard v. Singleton Encyclopedia

Bayard v. Singleton is one of the most important early cases involving the exercise of judicial review by an American court.  The controversial decision served as a precedent for the later and commonplace practice of judicial review.

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Thomas W. Bickett (1869-1921) Encyclopedia

Thomas W. Bickett, a native of Monroe and graduate of Wake Forest College, studied law at the University of North Carolina. After a brief tenure in the state House of Representatives, he served as North Carolina attorney general from 1909 to 1917. In 1916 he was elected governor. Inaugurated on January 11, 1917, Bickett's gubernatorial administration included the beginning of a juvenile court system, the expansion of the state's roads and improvements in education, and the prison system.

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Albert Bigelow (1848-1922) Encyclopedia

An influential member of the North Carolina GOP during the late 1800s, Bigelow served one term as a Republican member of the N. C. House of Representatives (1881).  He was one of 18 African Americans to serve in the 1881 General Assembly.  A co-founder of the Yanceyville Colored Graded School, Bigelow also served for two years as Yanceyville’s postmaster, appointed to that post under the Grant administration in 1873. 

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