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Nation: America 1782-1819

1800 - Latta Plantation

Eight years ago, James Latta's wife died, leaving two sons for her husband to raise. Now remarried, Latta builds a beautiful plantation home on the banks of the Catawba River near Hopewell Church. Since there are no schools for proper young ladies in North Mecklenburg, Latta's three daughters will attend Salem Academy, nearly 100 miles away.

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1814 - Poll Tax

How many people now live in Mecklenburg County and what is the value of their property? The system of assessing and collecting taxes is complicated. There are taxes on land and slaves, plus a tax for each man who votes, called a poll tax. Many people still prefer British money over American currency. Four British pence must be paid for every 100 acres. The poll tax per man is one shilling.

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1815 - Last Battle

January 1, 1815 - Andrew Jackson, born at Waxhaw on the North-South Carolina state line, now commands the American troops defending New Orleans, Louisiana from the British. From fortifications, strategic places built up to strengthen the city, Jackson repels the intruders. But the British will not be dismayed. They will return one week later. 

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1787 - Senator Andrew Jackson

November 6, 1787 - Twenty-year-old Andrew Jackson earns a license to practice law. Not only will he go on to become a judge, senator and war hero, the Carolina native will become the seventh president of the U.S. Jackson's home community of Waxhaw straddles the border of North and South Carolina. Both states will claim this independent thinker as their own.

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1787 - New Republic

September 17, 1787 - Finally, there is a Constitution of the United States of America. It determined how the country will make laws, elect representatives, and defend against its enemies in times of war. The men who drafted the Constitution wisely provided a way to make future changes, called amendments. But more work lies ahead. Only when 2/3 of the states approve, or ratify, the Constitution will it become law. Will nine states ratify it?

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1787 - New Constitution

May 25, 1787 - North Carolina sends five delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. For the next four months, the men will debate and struggle to reach an agreement about the structure and power of our country's government.

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1800 - Destroyed by Fire

April 6, 1800 - A fire destroys the Mecklenburg home of John McKnitt Alexander. Believed to be inside the house when it burns is the original Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. More than 200 years later, people will disagree and argue whether or not the Meck Dec ever existed. Still, North Carolina will honor the date believers acccept that it was signed: May 20, 1775.

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1788 - Ratification Problems

June 21, 1788 - Delaware, New Jersey and Georgia have already approved, or ratified, the U.S. Constitution. But North Carolina refuses. Even so, the 2/3 majority needed to make it law is reached today when New Hampshire becomes the ninth state to ratify the important document. It will be more than a year later until North Carolina will agree to ratify it as well.

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1815 - Battle of New Orleans

January 8, 1815 - Britain's Sir Edward Pakenham and 5,300 well-trained soldiers attack New Orleans, Louisiana. American General Andrew Jackson is ready with 4,500 frontier sharpshooters. Helping Jackson is French pirate Jean Lafitte, who turned down Britain's offer to join their side. The fighting ends quickly, but British losses are staggering. In the half-hour battle, more than 2,000 British die, including Pakenham. U.S. casualties are light: eight men are dead, 13 are wounded. The spectacular victory makes Andrew Jackson a hero, and brings pride to a young U.S.

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1789 - Finally Ratification

November 21, 1789 - Nearly two years after the approval process for individual states began, North Carolina finally ratifies the U.S. Constitution. Proposed changes called amendments have eased North Carolina's doubts. Rhode Island is the only remaining state not to approve, but will do so the following May.

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