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Economic Development


manufacture of textiles
Manufacture of textiles

After 1900 the state’s farmers enjoyed an improved market. Because of this and the defeats of 1898 and 1900, the populist movement disappeared. The loss of the black vote reduced the Republican Party to impotence for many years. From 1901 to 1973 the Democratic Party maintained an unbroken record of dominance in state government. The Democrats also controlled both houses of the legislature by overwhelming majorities in every session. From the end of the Fusionists’ terms to 1973, every U.S. senator from North Carolina was a Democrat.

By the 1920s North Carolina was a national leader in the manufacture of textiles, tobacco products, and furniture. The state suffered economic hardship during the Great Depression, the hard times of the 1930s, but after 1933 public works projects funded by the federal government provided jobs for thousands of people, and federal programs aided cotton and tobacco farmers. In World War II (1939-1945) the unemployment problem was significantly reduced as 362,000 North Carolinians went into the armed services and the federal government spent almost $2 billion in the state for war materials. Defense agencies were supplied by 83 industrial plants in the state; among these were the North Carolina Ship Corporation at Wilmington, which turned out 358 ships; and the Ethyl-Dow Plant at Kure Beach, which manufactured all the tetraethyl lead used by the United States in the war.

After World War II many Northern businesses, attracted by North Carolina’s restrictions on labor unions, relocated in the state. Many people seeking jobs moved from the farms to the cities, and industry expanded. By the 1970s an urban way of life and culture had emerged in North Carolina. Nevertheless, problems of poverty persisted, and labor still lacked effective bargaining power. However, in 1974 the right to unionize was won at eight plants belonging to the giant J. P. Stevens Textile Company after an 11-year organizing drive by the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. "North Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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