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P R E F A C E NORTH CAROLINA has been fortunate in the twentieth century in havingmany good surveyhistories. Samuel A. Ashe in 1908, soon after the appearance of the final volumes of the Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, published the first volume of his History of North Carolina through the end of the American Revolution; it was followed in 1925 by a second volume bringing the account down to his own day.Ashe, a nativeofNew Hanover County, an alumnus of the United States Naval Academy, a Confederate officer, and then a Raleigh newspaper editor, organized his history chronologically yet dealt with the government , people, society, war, religion, education, and a host of other topics. Succeeding historians of the state have generally followed the pattern set by Ashe. A three-volume cooperative History of North Carolina, written by professional historians, waspublished in 1919.R. D. W.Connor was responsible for the volume recounting the colonial and revolutionary periods. William K. Boyd wrote on the federal and antebellum periods, while J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton covered North Carolina after 1860. This work became the standard source for information about the state's past for many years. Without actually supplanting the Connor-Boyd-Hamilton series, Connor in 1929 was the author of a twovolume work, North Carolina: RebuildinganAncientCommonwealth. Containing more detailed information yet written in agraceful style, Connor'swork contributed to an even better understanding of the state's history. In 1941Archibald Henderson's North Carolina: The Old North State and the New appeared in two volumes. A mathematician rather than a historian, although he was certainly a student of history, Henderson prepared a readable account of the state that contained a great deal of new information particularly on social history. Published on the eveofWorld WarII, this work never received the attention it might have otherwise. Because Professor Henderson strongly supported certain aspects of the state's history that others questioned, and because his work was neither annotated nor had a bibliography, it wasviewed with skepticism by many professionalhistorians. Widely acclaimed as "Mr. North Carolina" and beloved by his students at North Carolina State College and at the Universityof North Carolina, Hugh T. Lefler was the author of several textbooks and survey histories of North Carolina . Read by untold thousands, Lefler's books were frequently cited to settle questions on points of state history. With hisChapel Hill colleague, Albert Ray Newsome, Lefler was coauthor of North Carolina: The History of a Southern State Xlll xiv Preface published in 1954.Revisedwith the addition of more current material in 1963 and 1973, it became both the standard textbook for advanced courses in North Carolina history and the reference book on the subject in homes across the state. In 1956 a two-volume version by Lefler alone, based largely on the 1954work but with additional material in some places, appeared in a small edition. North Carolina: TheHistory ofa Southern Statewas written in the late19405 and early 19505; its second author, Newsome, died in 1951. Although each of the three editions wasreprinted many times, the heart of the work in its final 1987 printing was virtually unchanged from that issued almost thirty-five years earlier. The pressing needs of instructors and students, aswellasthe general reader, for a new work became more urgent as time passed. The increasing availabilityof new source materials in the flourishing archives and manuscript collections of the state, the constant appearance of significant articles in scholarly journals, the large number of theses and dissertations on North Carolina subjects, and above all the new specializedbooks on allaspectsof the state's history shed new light on North Carolina's past. The contemporary scene also changed dramatically in the last quarter of the twentieth century with the growth of industry, a new relationship between the state and federal governments, the influx of "outsiders," and altered race relations. It waswidelyrecognized that the time had come for a totally new history of the state. In accordance with Lefler's wish expressed some years before his death, the University of North Carolina Press, publisher of the Lefler-Newsome book since its inception, asked me to undertake such an assignment. This provided an opportunity to reviewwhat I had said in my own North Carolina history classes since 1964, to reconsider notes I had madeandfiledaway over manyyears, and to undertake some fresh researchand reading. Most importantly, it led me to think more about the immediate past and to attempt in my own mind to account for certain things...


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