According to the 1860 U.S. census, New Hampshire had a population of 326,073. Although no Civil War battles were fought in the state, at least 35,000 New Hampshire men joined the ranks of the Union military and saw action mainly in the east, but some units traveled as far as Mississippi and Louisiana. The Granite Staters fought in numerous battles and campaigns, such as Cold Harbor and Gettysburg, and most served in the army, navy and marines.
New Hampshire was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution and it became the 9th U.S. state on June 21, 1788. The requirement for ratification of the United States Constitution by nine states, set by Article Seven of the Constitution, was met when New Hampshire ratified it on June 21, 1788. It became the first of the British North American colonies to secede from Great Britain in January 1776, and six months later was one of the original thirteen states that founded the United States of America.
The presence of slavery in New Hampshire is first indicated in the written record in 1645. As one of only a few colonies that did not impose a high tariff on the transport and trade of African slaves, New Hampshire maritime traders used the colony as an entry point for their human cargoes-transporting the slaves throughout the colonies once they entered into the colony.
Abolitionists from Dartmouth College founded the experimental, interracial Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire in 1835. Rural opponents of the school eventually dragged the school away with oxen before lighting it ablaze to protest integrated education, within months of the school's founding.
New Hampshire was a Jacksonian stronghold; the state sent Franklin Pierce to the White House in the election of 1852. Industrialization took the form of numerous textile mills, which in turn attracted large flows of immigrants from Quebec (the "French Canadians") and Ireland. The northern parts of the state produced lumber and the mountains provided tourist attractions. Abolitionist sentiment was a strong undercurrent in the state, with significant support given the Free Soil Party of John P. Hale. However the conservative Jacksonian Democrats usually maintained control, under the leadership of editor Isaac Hill. In 1856 the new Republican Party headed by Amos Tuck produced a political revolution.
As the Civil War (1861-1865) approached, New Hampshire's social and political environment was in many ways very unique as compared to its Northern neighbors. As a Northern state that still technically allowed slavery, aside from barring blacks from serving in the militia, the state's laws towards free blacks were quite liberal-even giving the right to vote for black men. Despite the contradictions, by the late 1850s New Hampshire was firmly on the side of the growing Republican Free State coalition-handing Lincoln 57% of its vote in the 1860 presidential election.
In 1864, the state lacked 5,000 men to fill its quota of troops and that only 23 working days remained to raise that number by voluntary enlistments. Cities and towns, some of which were offering $1,000 bounties for a single one-year recruit, and state bounties, ranging from $100 to $300, according to the term of the enlistment of the recruit, were enough, however, to entice and lure the New Hampshire men to meet the quota without resorting to another draft.
Steam power had begun to replace waterpower by 1870, but by 1900 gasoline engines and electric motors foretold an even newer age of power to come. During the latter third of the century, manufacturing became the dominant employer of workers in New Hampshire; agriculture would never again dominate the New Hampshire economy. Boots and shoes topped the leading industries, followed by cotton goods, once first but now second. Wool manufacturing, lumber and timber products, and paper and wood pulp followed in that order. Railroads provided a way for raw materials and finished products to come and go between New Hampshire and the rest of the country.
Profits from industrialization led to new sections of cities built in spirited Victorian styles. These can still be seen today in most New Hampshire cities and towns. Politically, the expansion of industry led to moves by industry to influence and control government. In this era, increasing political corruption and influence peddling was perceived to be against the interests of the “common people.”
Still not allowed to vote, women were finally accepted into the State Teachers’ Association and a few became practicing lawyers and doctors. The temperance and suffrage movements joined forces and regularly petitioned legislatures and constitutional conventions for action in favor of their causes. Many of the causes begun as ideas for reform in the pre-Civil War era developed into social welfare action.