Era 5 Themes

ERA 5 HIGHLIGHTS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: transportation changes. Civil War industry, the state in national politics, the Republican Party, abolition, wartime agriculture. New Hampshire people in the war, the peace movement, westward migration

Transportation changes gained momentum in Era 5, preparing for the industrial boom that was to come in the next fifty years. Canals, never fulfilling the hopes of their builders, declined; in 1854 only I I miles remained in operation in NH. Railroads made the difference. In the decade before the war, railroad track mileage in New Hampshire increased 41 %, from 465 miles to 656 miles.

The Civil War focused New Hampshire on wartime production, national political issues. New Hampshire involvement in military campaigns in the south, and the effects of war on individuals.

The politics of the era featured the beginnings of the Republican Party. Franklin Pierce won election, the only United States president from New Hampshire. Democrat Pierce's position mollifying southern interests made him unacceptable to anti-slavery forces. Senator John P. Hale was a well-known mover in national politics and as a prominent abolitionist. Abraham Lincoln himself visited New Hampshire- -his son attended Phillips Exeter Academy and, it is said, enthusiastic acceptance of Lincoln's speeches here convinced him that he could run successfully for the presidency. Renomination of Lincoln split the Republican Party in New Hampshire as well as nationally, but in the election Lincoln and Johnson narrowly won this state.

African-Americans felt the contradictions in New Hampshire attitudes toward racism and slavery. Significant battles over slavery occupied the state's politicians, and, while no slaves remained in the state, black author Harriet Adams Wilson wrote a novel. Our Nig. loosely based on her own unhappy experiences as an indentured servant in southern New Hampshire.

In 1850, agriculture employed, by far, the most workers: 47,440 free males 15 years and older to manufacturing's 27,082 males and females.  By 1870, farms occupied 62.4% of New Hampshire, and more of the state was deforested than at any other time.
Both agriculture and manufacturing in New Hampshire responded to war needs. Mechanized shoe manufacturing and textile mills, for instance, helped supply the Union Army, as did ammunition and firearm manufacturers. The industrial North prospered as a result of the war, and New Hampshire industry was no exception. On the agricultural side. New Hampshire farmers provided for war needs and made up for some war losses. Tobacco growing, for example, increased from 50 pounds in 1850 to 155,334 pounds in 1870.
Southern cotton supplies for northern cotton mills fell victim to war, but that production problem for New Hampshire manufacturers could not be alleviated by local farmers. Local farmers could supply wool, however.

New Hampshire men served in Northern uniforms. Women such as Harriet P. Dame served as nurses on the battle fields.  Other women who stayed home supported the war effort through their labor in the factories and through volunteer work. 

Anti-war sentiment also had its advocates in the state, making the a picture more complicated than the generalization that Northerners united wholeheartedly in the war to preserve the Union and free the slaves.

The 1870 census showed the only net population decline in New Hampshire since the official census began. Deaths and relocations from the Civil War as well as westward movement caused the state's population to drop from 326,073 in 1860 to 317,976 in 1870. It has risen in all subsequent censuses.

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