A New Map of North Carolina, 1685
Have any members here at Civil War Talk read much about North Carolina's distress over issues they perceived as offenses to state sovereignty back in the 1780s to 1840's? I've been doing some reading trying to find out more about an Indian tribe that was granted reserved land in the area of NC where my ancestors settled. Does anyone know of a detailed study of these early antebellum state sovereignty issues? I'd sure be interested to read more.
Here's a <very> brief summary:
It seems that NC's discontent mainly started when the fledgling US Government approved the assumption of states' debts <See below*> Other factors were the unpopular cession of lands that had once belonged to the State of North Carolina. Also what NC perceived as interference of the United States government in the state's interactions with the Indians residing within her boundaries; reserves of land granted to those Indians within the state; and the treaty of Middle Plantation which prevented the Indians from treatying with any individual or entity other than the US government - including the State of North Carolina.
Basically, for many years, NC had been adjudicating disputes between the various Indian tribes living within her borders and between settlers and Indians. Lands reserved to said Indians by the Crown, and later the state of Virginia, that lay within the state were recognized by NC. This included some reserved lands within the area of the disputed VA/NC state line.
When disputes arose, the NC General Assembly took appropriate actions - to prevent European settlers from encroaching on Indian lands and to 'remind' the Indians to stay on their reserved lands. When the situation arose, NC relocated Indians and exchanged their old lands for new ones within the State. When some tribes relocated off their lands, the state appointed proprietors to run the plantations and fisheries on behalf of said Indians.
So it seems that the US govt's decree - included as part of the Treaty of Middle Plantation - that the Indians refrain from treatying with any individual or entity other than the US govt, was perceived by NC as a means to have the whole situation under control of the US govt. And for the reserved lands - within the boundaries of the State of NC - to become the property of the US Govt.
Originally, the boundaries of NC went from the Atlantic all the way to....wherever they ended? In 1789 North Carolina ceded its western territory to the United States but, in doing so, she made a number of key reservations: 1. That the unpaid claims of NC rev war soldiers and officers could be made out of those lands. 2. That the $ resulting from the opening of the new territory would be used to extinguish the rev war debt. 3. That no law would be enacted towards emancipation within the territory and that no attempt at such a law would be made.
I find all this fascinating and am just wondering if any of the members here can enlighten me further? I always wondered what the "states' rights" were - - - other than slavery, of course. Seems these were perceived as some really important issues - at least in NC - during the antebellum period. Maybe they are specific to NC? and dont really apply to other states? Does anyone know of a detailed study? I'd sure be interested to read more.
* Here's an excerpt from the minutes of the NC House of Commons 1790 that paints a pretty clear picture of NC's views on assumption of states' debts:
Resolved, That the assumption of the State debts by the Congress of the United States, without their particular consent, is an infringement on the sovereignty of this State, and may prove eventually injurious and oppressive to the same; wherefore we view this measure of Congress as dangerous to the interests and rights of North Carolina: Under this impression, we the Representatives of the freemen of North Carolina, in General Assembly, on behalf of ourselves and our constituents, do solemnly protest against the proceedings of the Congress of the United States, assuming or providing for the debts of the individual states.
Resolved, That the Senators and Representatives from this State in the Congress of the United States, be directed to exert their endeavours to prevent as far as possible the evil operations of such
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acts to the interests and liberties of this country, and prevent as much as in their power all other and further assumptions, until the accounts of the respective states, and this State in particular, shall be fully adjusted, and the consent of this State shall have been first had and obtained.
Resolved, That the Executive of this state be required, without delay, to demand from the Senators and request of the Representatives of this State in Congress, their intelligence and advice as to the most eligible means of securing the rights and interests of this State, against such injuries as may arise to North Carolina from the aforesaid assumption; and that the Governor, by and with the advice of the Council in the recess of the General Assembly, in this particular may take such measures as to them may be deemed expedient for the purpose aforesaid.
Resolved, That all evidences of the debt of the United States or of this State, in the hands of the Treasurer, Comptroller or State Agents, shall from time to time be subject, and they are hereby subjected, to the direction of the Governor and Council, during the recess of the General Assembly, that the same may be applied as to them may appear, upon mature deliberation, most beneficial to this State. Source [Minutes of the North Carolina House of Commons, North Carolina. General Assembly, November 01, 1790 - December 15, 1790, Volume 21, Pages 1055-1056.]
A cursory review of available material reveals similar rhetoric surrounding the 1808-1820 Indian lands disputes; the unpopular cession of western lands; and disagreement over how funds resulting from the ceded land were to be applied to the rev war debt. Fascinating stuff. @diane @wausaubob @alan polk @W. Richardson @unionblue @Lost Cause @Stone in the wall @Seduzal or anyone else who knows more about this?