How did the changes of the 1835 constitution affect politics in North Carolina?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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North Carolina's Constitution of 1835 reflected both the ramifications of Jacksonian democracy, which was very popular in North Carolina, as well as the changes in demographics in the state. Its major effect was to extend the voting franchise (in voting for the lower house of the General Assembly) to all taxpayers. Voting for the North Carolina Senate was reformed too, with all people who owned at least 50 acres of land allowed to vote. What this accomplished was to bring more western North Carolinians into politics, thus increasing the region's political clout though Easterners remained powerful. In fact, even though the Jacksonian constituency expannded dramatically, the Whig Party was able to gain a great deal of traction among North Carolinians who wanted internal improvements, both along the coast and in the West.  As was typical of states, North and South, that expanded the franchise for white voters during the period, North Carolina disenfranchised its population of free blacks. So the state became more democratic for whites and less so for blacks. Unlike many states, though, there was considerable debate over the issue in North Carolina, with a motion to allow long-time free black and "mulattoes to the fourth degree" residents to continue to vote only losing by three votes. Overall, though, the relaxed property requirements for voting increased the number of voters in the state significantly.

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