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Nation: America 1782-1819

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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1802 - The Value of Gold

John Reed asks a Fayetteville jeweler to examine the unusual rock that the Reed family has used as a doorstop for two years. The jeweler extracts enough gold from the stone to form a bar nearly eight inches long. Reed accepts $3.50 for the gold. He goes home, not realizing the gold is worth over $3,000.Miners

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1789 - NC Holds Out

March 4, 1789 - Lawmakers gather together for the first meeting of the United States Congress, as provided by the U.S. Constitution. These representatives will discuss the changes that the states have suggested. Still, North Carolina refuses to accept or ratify the Constitution, believing the document gives too much power to a central government.

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1819 - Rosedale Plantation

William Davidson, soon to be elected state senator, moves into an elegant home north of Charlotte, near Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church. With its formal gardens and ballroom, the home built by Archibald Frew has been called Frew's Folly. The pre-Civil War era plantation house will be preserved in years to come, and will be called Rosedale.

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1790 - Rural Hill

Major John Davidson builds a brick mansion house called Rural Hill in northern Mecklenburg County. He owns 26 slaves. Most of Mecklenburg's farmers have none. Only the owners of large estates, called plantations, can afford to buy, transport, feed and shelter slaves.

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