LEARN NC

  1. Credits & acknowledgments
  2. Introduction
  3. About this "digital textbook"
  1. 1 The Regulators
    1. 1.1
      The Regulators
      In the 1760s residents of the North Carolina Piedmont protested high taxes, illegal fees, and corrupt officials. These protesters, who came to be known as the Regulators, began with civil disobedience and ended in violence at the Battle of Alamance in 1771.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1765–1771
    2. 1.2
      An Address to the People of Granville County
      Excerpt of a speech by George Sims, Granville County school teacher and Regulator leader, in 1765. Sims blames corrupt lawyers and public officials for the problems of small farmers in the Piedmont. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: speech
      • Relevant dates: 1765
    3. 1.3
      The Regulators organize
      Subscription to an organization of Regulators, January 1768. The subscribers agreed to resist paying taxes and fees they considred unlawful and to petition their representatives to change laws they considered unfair. Primary source includes historical commentary.
      • Format: declaration
      • Relevant dates: 1768
    4. 1.4
      "Some grievous oppressions"
      Excerpt of a sermon published by Herman Husband, Regulator leader, in 1770. Husband argued that North Carolina's colonial government was unfair to small farmers. Primary source includes historical commentary.
      • Format: pamphlet (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1760–1768
    5. 1.5
      Edmund Fanning reports to Governor Tryon
      Letter from Edmund Fanning to Governor William Tryon, April 23, 1768, reporting on the activities of the Regulators. Shows how the Regulators were seen by colonial leaders. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: letter
      • Relevant dates: 1768
    6. 1.6
      Orange County inhabitants petition Governor Tryon
      Petition from residents of Orange County, North Carolina, to Governor William Tryon, May 1768, apologizing for recent acts of violence by Regulators and asking him to address the illegal fees demanded by court officials. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: petition
      • Relevant dates: 1768
    7. 1.7
      Songs of the Regulators
      Lyrics to songs making fun of lawyers and colonial leaders who got rich at the expense of small farmers. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: poetry
      • Relevant dates: 1765–1771
    8. 1.8
      The cost of Tryon Palace
      Table detailing the expenses of building Tryon Palace, the residence of the colonial governor at New Bern, North Carolina, in 1770. Includes historical commentary about why these expenses infuriated many colonists.
      • Format: document
      • Relevant dates: 1767–1770
    9. 1.9
      Chaos in Hillsborough
      Contemporary newspaper report about mob violence in Hillsborough, North Carolina, in October 1770. The violence was part of a series of protests by Regulators angry with illegal fees and corrupt officials. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: newspaper
      • Relevant dates: 1770
    10. 1.10
      An Act for preventing Tumultuous and riotous Assemblies
      Text of the Johnston Riot Act passed by the North Carolina Assembly in 1771, empowering the governor and colonial officials to use military force to put down uprisings of Regulators. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: legislation
      • Relevant dates: 1771
    11. 1.11
      An authentick relation of the Battle of Alamance
      Contemporary newspaper account of the Battle of Alamance, fought between Regulators and militia led by Governor William Tryon on May 16, 1771. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: newspaper
      • Relevant dates: 1771
    12. 1.12
      Aftermath of the Battle of Alamance
      Contemporary newspaper account of the prosecution and execution of Regulator leaders after the Battle of Alamance, May/June 1771. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: newspaper (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1771
  2. 2 Resistance and revolution
    1. 2.1
      Timeline of resistance, 1763–1774
      Timeline of the events of the American Revolution between 1763 and 1774.
      • Format:
      • Relevant dates: 1763–1774
    2. 2.2
      Dashed hopes for the frontier
      The British won vast territory in North America after the Seven Years’ War, but with that territory came the problem of governing it. British officials tried -- and failed -- to balance the interests of colonists and American Indians, and the conflicts that resulted made the colonists increasingly unhappy with British rule and led, ultimately, to the American Revolution.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1763–1765
    3. 2.3
      Taxes, trade, and resistance
      Origins of the American Revolution, 1763–1775. Article describes the reasons for British taxes and trade regulations such as the Stamp Act and Townshend Acts, the colonial response, and the escalation of resistance into violence.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1764–1775
    4. 2.4
      The Stamp Act crisis in North Carolina
      In 1765, North Carolinians joined their fellow American colonists in protesting the Stamp Act, passed by Parliament that year, which taxed various kinds of public papers. Protesters, arguing that the tax was illegal without the consent of colonial assemblies, marched to the home of the tax collector and forced him to resign.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1765
    5. 2.5
      A Pledge to Violate the Stamp Act
      In 1766, during the colonial protests of the Stamp Act, some residents of eastern North Carolina, including many colonial leaders, signed this pledge to refuse to pay the tax. Primary source includes historical commentary.
      • Format: newspaper (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1766
    6. 2.6
      The First Provincial Congress
      After the Boston Tea Party in December 1773, Britain retaliated with a series of punitive measures that colonists called the "intolerable acts." In August 1774, North Carolina's colonial leaders met at New Bern to set out their princples, to plan further opposition to Britain, and to choose delegates to a Continental Congress. This excerpt from the proceedings of that First Provincial Congress includes historical commentary.
      • Format: document
      • Relevant dates: 1774
    7. 2.7
      The Edenton "Tea Party"
      In October 1774, several prominent women of Edenton gathered at the home of Elizabeth King, with Penelope Barker presiding, to sign a petition supporting the American cause. This letter describing the event, which came to be known as the Edenton Tea Party, appeared in a London newspaper. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: letter
      • Relevant dates: 1774–1775
    8. 2.8
      "A Society of Patriotic Ladies"
      1775 cartoon, published in a London newspaper, satirizing the "Edenton Tea Party" at which prominent North Carolina women signed a petition supporting the American cause. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: cartoon
      • Relevant dates: 1774–1775
    9. 2.9
      The Committees of Safety
      Excerpts from the minutes of the Committees of Safety set up in North Carolina towns and counties, 1775, for the purpose of enforcing the trade boycott against Britain. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: document
      • Relevant dates: 1775
    10. 2.10
      Residents of the backcountry proclaim their loyalty
      Petition from residents of Rowan and Surry counties, North Carolina, to Governor Josiah Martin, 1775, proclaiming their opposition to Revolutionary activity and their loyalty to the king. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: letter
      • Relevant dates: 1775
    11. 2.11
      Violence in Wilmington
      In the spring of 1775, Janet Schaw, a Scottish lady visiting family in North Carolina, described the "shocking outrages" committed by revolutionary militia and mobs. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: letter
      • Relevant dates: 1775
  3. 3 War and independence
    1. 3.1
      Timeline of the Revolution, 1775–1779
      Timeline of events of the American Revolution from the outbreak of war in 1775 to the end of 1779.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1775–1779
    2. 3.2
      Which side to take: Revolutionary or loyalist?
      During the American Revolution, people living in the American colonies had to choose whether to support the British government or fight for independence. There were many different reasons why colonists chose to be revolutionaries or loyalists. The story of Connor Dowd illustrates that the decision was often complicated.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1772–1783
    3. 3.3
      The Mecklenburg Resolves
      On receiving news of Lexington and Concord in May 1775, the Mecklenburg County Committee of Safety adopted these "resolves," or resolutions, declaring all royal authority to be suspended. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: document
      • Relevant dates: 1775
    4. 3.4
      "Liberty to slaves": The black response
      During the American Revolution, some black people living in the colonies fought for the British and some fought for the revolutionaries. Their actions during the war were often decided by what they believed would best help them throw off the shackles of slavery. Most believed that victory by the British would bring an end to their enslavement.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1772–1783
    5. 3.5
      Lord Dunmore's Proclamation
      Proclamation by the Royal Governor of Virginia, 1775, offering freedom to slaves and indentured servants who fought in the king's army against the colonial uprising. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: proclamation
      • Relevant dates: 1775
    6. 3.6
      A Virginian responds to Dunmore's Proclamation
      Response to a 1775 proclamation by the Royal Governor of Virginia offering freedom to slaves and indentured servants who agreed to serve in the king's army. The writer argues that the governor does not have slaves' best interests at heart. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: newspaper (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1775
    7. 3.7
      The Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge
      In February 1776, Patriot militia companies fought an army of Loyalists, mainly Scottish Highlanders, at Moore's Creek Bridge near Wilmington, North Carolina. The Patriot victory convinced colonial leaders to push for independence.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1776
    8. 3.8
      Mary Slocumb at Moore's Creek Bridge
      Story, perhaps fictional or embellished, of the heroism of Mary (Polly) Slocumb, who tended Patriot wounded after the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in 1776. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: book (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1776
    9. 3.9
      A call for independence
      After the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, North Carolina's fourth Provincial Congress met at Halifax in April 1776, and resolved that the colony's delegates to the Continental Congress should support a move to declare independence.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1776
    10. 3.10
      The Halifax Resolves
      After the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, North Carolina's fourth Provincial Congress met at Halifax in April 1776, and resolved that the colony's delegates to the Continental Congress should support a move to declare independence. Primary source includes historical commentary.
      • Format: proclamation
      • Relevant dates: 1776
    11. 3.11
      The Declaration of Independence
      Text of the Declaration of Independence with historical commentary.
      • Format: declaration
      • Relevant dates: 1776
    12. 3.12
      Plans for democracy
      Instructions to delegates from Orange County, North Carolina, to the Provinicial Congress in November 1776, about what sort of state constitution they should support. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: document
      • Relevant dates: 1776
    13. 3.13
      Creed of a Rioter
      During the American Revolution, Patriots who supported the war and independence committed frequent acts of violence against Loyalists and suspected Loyalists. This satirical essay was written in 1776 by an anonymous North Carolina Patriot disturbed by the extent of the violence.
      • Format: essay
      • Relevant dates: 1774–1783
    14. 3.14
      The North Carolina Constitution and Declaration of Rights
      Full text of the 1776 state constitution of North Carolina, with historical commentary.
      • Format: constitution
      • Relevant dates: 1776
  4. 4 The Rutherford Expedition
    1. 4.1
      "The difference is about our land": Cherokees and Catawbas
      During the American Revolution, American Indians living in North Carolina had to choose whether to support England or the colonists. While different groups of Indians made different decisions, most made their choices based on how they thought they could best protect their lands.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1772–1783
    2. 4.2
      Boundary between North Carolina and the Cherokee Nation, 1767
      1767 agreement between Governor William Tryon and Cherokee Indians in regard to boundary between colonial settlement and Cherokee lands. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: document
      • Relevant dates: 0
    3. 4.3
      The Rutherford Expedition
      The Cherokee, hoping to protect their lands from white settlement, sided with Britain in the American Revolution. In 1776, responding to Cherokee attacks, General Griffith Rutherford led an expedition against the Cherokee, taking slaves, burning villages, and destroying crops and food stores.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1776
    4. 4.4
      A report from the Rutherford Expedition
      In 1776, responding to Cherokee attacks, General Griffith Rutherford led an expedition against the Cherokee, taking slaves, burning villages, and destroying crops and food stores. This report of the expedition was written by Captain William Moore to General Rutherford. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: letter
      • Relevant dates: 1776
    5. 4.5
      Cherokee leaders speak
      Exceprts of speeches of Cherokee leaders protesting white encroachment on their lands during the American Revolution.
      • Format: speech
      • Relevant dates: 1775–1777
  5. 5 The war in the south
    1. 5.1
      Timeline of the Revolution, 1780–1783
      Timeline of events of the American Revolution from the beginning of the Southern Campaign in 1780 to the 1783 Treaty of Paris that ended the war.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1780–1783
    2. 5.2
      The Southern Campaign
      In 1780 and 1781, the War of American Independence was fought largely in the South, not only between the British and Continental armies but between Patriot and Loyalist militias and between neighbors. A series of bloody battles ended in General Lord Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown in September 1781, effectively ending the war.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1779–1781
    3. 5.3
      The Battle of Kings Mountain
      At the Battle of King's Mountain, fought in October 1780 in South Carolina, Patriot militias defeated Loyalists under the command of a British Army officer.
      • Format:
      • Relevant dates: 0
    4. 5.4
      The Overmountain Men and the Battle of Kings Mountain
      In October 1780, in response to a British threat in the Carolina backcountry, Patriot militias gathered in the mountains of present-day North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. They marched southeast to a site near present-day Morganton, joined forces, and proceeded to defeat Loyalist militias at the Battle of King's Mountain in South Carolina. The battle helped turn the tide of the war for independence.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1780
    5. 5.5
      Muskets and rifles: The soldier's experience
      In this short film, reenactor Bill Thompson explains late eighteenth-century small arms, including how a flintlock works and the differences between rifles and muskets, and demonstrates the loading and firing of an English "Brown Bess" musket. Filmed during Living History Week at Alamance Battleground.
      • Format:
      • Relevant dates: 0
    6. 5.6
      Chaos in Salem
      Excerpt from diaries of the Moravian congregation at Salem, North Carolina, in 1781, describing the Moravians' treatment by Patriot militias. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: diary (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1780–1781
    7. 5.7
      Remembering Patriot women: Mary Slocumb
      Story, perhaps fictional or embellished, about the bravery of a North Carolina woman whose home was taken over by British Army officers during the American Revolution. The story, written in the 1840s, suggests how southerners wanted to remember the Revolution and women's role in it. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: story
      • Relevant dates: 1781
    8. 5.8
      "George, hide thy face and mourn"
      Before the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in 1781, Continental Army General Nathaniel Greene stopped in Salisbury and was inspired by the aid and sacrifice of a woman who owned a tavern. This version of the story was told in the 1840s. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: book (excerpt)
      • Relevant dates: 1781
    9. 5.9
      The Battle of Guilford Courthouse
      During the American Revolution, on March 15, 1781, American and British armies met at Guilford Courthouse, in present-day Greensboro, North Carolina. Although the British won the battle, they lost so many troops that the battle ultimately helped the American cause. Includes a slideshow of photographs from a 2008 reenactment.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1781
    10. 5.10
      David Fanning and the Tory War of 1781
      During the American Revolution, Patriots and Loyalists fought in the North Carolina backcountry. In 1781, David Fanning, commanding the Loyalist forces of five counties, terrorized residents of the Piedmont.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1781
    11. 5.11
      A petition to protect families of Loyalists
      During the American Revolution, the British Army occupied Wilmington, North Carolina, and forced the families of Patriot leaders to leave the city. When the Americans retook the city in 1782, they retaliated by evicting the families of Loyalists. Twenty-one Patriot women who had themselves been evicted protested the similar treatment of their neighbors. Primary source includes historical commentary.
      • Format: petition
      • Relevant dates: 1782
  6. 6 A new national government
    1. 6.1
      The first national government: The Articles of Confederation
      The Articles of Confederation served as the written document that established the functions of the national government of the United States after it declared independence from Great Britain. It established a weak central government that mostly, but not entirely, prevented the individual states from conducting their own foreign diplomacy.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 0
    2. 6.2
      The Articles of Confederation
      Full text of the Articles of Confederation, which established the first national government after the American colonies declared their independence from Britain. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: constitution
      • Relevant dates: 1777–1789
    3. 6.3
      The Constitutional Convention
      The Articles of Confederation proved too weak to govern the new United States effectively, and in 1787, Congress authorized a convention to revise the document. Instead, the convention wrote an entirely new constitution for the United States.
      • Format: article
      • Relevant dates: 1781–1790
    4. 6.4
      The Constitution of the United States
      • Format: constitution
      • Relevant dates: 0
    5. 6.5
      Debating the Federal Constitution
      Excerpt of a speech given by William Richardson Davie at the convention called in North Carolina, 1788, to consider ratification of the United States Constitution. Davie explains why the new Constitution is necessary and why it is not a threat to liberty and argues for ratification. Includes historical commentary.
      • Format: speech
      • Relevant dates: 1787–1789
    6. 6.6
      North Carolina demands a declaration of rights
      North Carolina initially rejected the United States Constitution, insisting that it be amended and that a Declaration of Rights be added. The text of the proposed declaration and amendments is provided here with historical commentary noting which provisions found their way into the Bill of Rights.
      • Format: document
      • Relevant dates: 1787–1789
    7. 6.7
      The Bill of Rights
      The text of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, with historical commentary.
      • Format: constitution
      • Relevant dates: 1787–1791
  1. Teacher's Guide: Using the Digital Textbook
  2. Glossary
  3. Index