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Joseph Eggleston Johnston (1807-1891) and the Carolinas Campaign Encyclopedia

Joseph Eggleston Johnston was one of the highest ranking Confederate generals and a member of “Old Virginia.” Before the Civil War, Johnston had a distinguished military career and was the first West Point graduate to achieve the rank of general. During the Civil War, Johnston became a general in the Confederate Army, defended Richmond in the Peninsula Campaign, and opposed General Sherman in the Atlanta Campaign. He took command of the Confederate Army in North Carolina on February 25, 1865 to oppose General Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign and fought at the Battle of Bentonville. Johnston officially surrendered the Confederate Army at Bennett’s Place outside Durham’s Station, North Carolina on April 26, 1865.

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The Rebuilding of Old Commonwealths Encyclopedia

In this compilation, Walter Hines Page includes three essays discussing democracy and education in the South: “The Forgotten Man,” “The School That Built a Town,” and the publication’s namesake, “The Rebuilding of Old Commonwealths.”

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"Is Anything Free?: Debates Regarding Internal Improvements in Antebellum North Carolina" Commentary

Some things never change.  The particulars may do so, yet the essence remains.  Modern-day political ideas in North Carolina, for example, are rooted in the state’s past.  One example is public-funded roads.

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"Normal" People Made History Commentary

Why would I want to study peasants, when I can study kings?”, asked a fellow historian.   “Kings,” he continued, “made history.”     He was reacting to my comment that it’s important to study “normal” people.  My friend thought I trumpeted the usual, social history mantra.  But I meant something different.

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"Senator Sam" Continues to Offer Lessons of Authenticity Commentary

"Yes, I was born right over there. You can see I haven't gotten very far in life," remarked former Sen. Sam Ervin while pointing to his birthplace, a white house across the street from his residence in Morganton.

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A Campus Transformed: UNC During the Second World War Commentary

In 1940, Americans still hoped that the United States might remain neutral in the ongoing struggle being fought in Europe and Asia.  In the event that the United States did enter the conflict, however, University of North Carolina President Frank Porter Graham had determined that the institution should support the war effort.  A former officer in the Marine Corps during World War I, Graham announced even before the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 that the University would offer “all its resources to the nation for the defense of the freedom and democracy it was founded to serve.”  Following Pearl Harbor, students and faculty emulated Graham’s patriotism, and the Chapel Hill campus was transformed into a military resource furthering the war effort.

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A Duel to End All Duels: Richard Dobbs Spaight Vs. John Stanly Commentary

Political debate often brings out the worst in people.  Thankfully dueling is now outlawed, but the personal pettiness that saturates the political process makes me long for the spirit of the good ol’ days to be placed in a modern-day boxing ring, where the disgruntled can find satisfaction and then get on with the business of genuine debate

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A Publisher's Confession Encyclopedia

Written by Walter Hines Page in 1905, A Publisher's Confession details the faults and errors of his literary peers. Writing anonymously, Hines was able to disclose his personal views of publishers.

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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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Act Concerning Marriages (1669) Encyclopedia

Settlers wishing to marry soon experienced a problem: only ministers of the Church of England were entitled to perform the rite of marriage and few visited or settled in Carolina.  As a result, the Assembly of Albemarle in 1669 discussed the need to authorize civil officers to perform marriage ceremonies.

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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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Advertising Over the Years Show People Largely Stay the Same Commentary

Advertisements offer insights into culture and can help researchers learn about the past — often more than they may have imagined.

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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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