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Political life in the 19th century in New Hampshire


Franklin Pierce, a Democrat
Franklin Pierce, a Democrat

In the early years of the new state, New Hampshire supported the Federalist Party. By 1816, however, control of state politics had passed to the Democratic-Republican Party, which with its successor, the Democratic Party, maintained its dominance until the mid-1850s. In 1852 Franklin Pierce, a Democrat, became the first New Hampshire native to be elected president of the United States. Political turmoil in the 1850s over slavery finally led to the fall of the state Democratic Party.

In 1853 opponents of slavery met at Exeter to form the Republican Party in the state. In early 1860 the Republicans invited Abraham Lincoln, whose son was a student at Phillips Exeter Academy, to come to the state for speaking engagements. Lincoln accepted and spoke there four times in March. He met with great acclaim, and during his stay in New Hampshire the Lincoln-for-President campaign started. In the 1860 presidential election, New Hampshire voted overwhelmingly for Lincoln. For the next 100 years it remained largely Republican.

During the Civil War (1861-1865) the population of New Hampshire decreased, and for several years after the war the population increased very little.

A large number of farmers left to take advantage of government grants of land in the West, where the soil was much richer and more easily tillable than it was in the hilly agricultural regions of New Hampshire.

As farming declined, water-powered manufacturing continued to develop. By the end of the century the state was a leading national producer of shoes, textiles, and wood products. Six more cities were incorporated between 1873 and 1897, and much of the remaining rural population moved to the cities.

Throughout this period and into the 20th century, French-Canadian immigrants and others from Ireland, Poland, and Greece came into the state, providing inexpensive labor for expanding industries. By 1910 New Hampshire was primarily an industrial and urbanized state, with more than half of the total population living in cities. The Amoskeag textile complex in Manchester had become the largest such operation in the world. Meanwhile, elegant hotels brought wealthy city-dwellers from Boston and New York to the White Mountains, making tourism a major source of wealth for the state. "New Hampshire" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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