In 1819, Washington Irving published his short story “Rip Van Winkle,” in which the character of Rip Van Winkle goes off into the mountains and falls asleep for twenty years — missing the American Revolution and all of the changes it brought. Many North Carolinians were beginning to feel that time was passing their state by just as it had Rip Van Winkle. The state’s leaders were committed to a small government and an agricultural economy. But with poor transportation, no public education, and little economic opportunity, thousands of North Carolinians left the state each year seeking a brighter future elsewhere.
In this chapter we’ll examine this out-migration from North Carolina. We’ll analyze people’s reasons for leaving, what some leaders tried to do about the state’s problems, and why, for a long while, they failed.
- Searching for Greener Pastures: Out-Migration in the 1800s
- Migration Into and Out of North Carolina: Exploring Census Data
- North Carolina's Leaders Speak Out on Emigration
- Archibald Murphey
- "A poor, ignorant, squalid population"
- Archibald Murphey Proposes a System of Public Education
- Archibald Murphey Calls for Better Inland Navigation
- Canova's Statue of Washington