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Alabama Becomes a State

When Mississippi became a state in 1817, the eastern half of the Mississippi Territory was removed and made the Alabama Territory. Its capital was St. Stephens, a small town lo the north of Mobile. At that time settlers were found mainly in three regions—in the Tennessee Valley, around Huntsville; along Ihc Tombigbee and Black Warrior rivers, with centers at St. Stephens and Tusca-loosa; and along the Alabama and Coosa rivers, near such towns as Wetumpka and Montgomery.

Alabama was not a territory very long. With the approval of Congress, leading citi-/cns met at Huntsville on July 5, 1819, and drafted Alabama's first constitution. Soon after, on December 14, 1819, Alabama became a state. The capital was situated at Ca-haba, a town built for just this purpose at the junction of the Cahaba and the Alabama rivers. The choice of this town was bad. It lay in low, swampy land that flooded regularly. In 1825 the session of the legislature could be held only on the second floor of the capital, and the legislators had to get there by row-boat. Because of this situation the state capital was moved in 1827 to Tuscaloosa, where it stayed for 20 years. In 1847 the increase in wealth and political strength of the cotton planters of the Black Belt caused another move of the state capital—this time to Montgomery, where it is today.

King Cotton, Slavery, and the Civil War

Between 1820 and 1860 Alabama's economy was closely tied to slavery. The large cotton plantations could not be worked profitably without slaves. In the 1840's Alabama was one of the wealthiest states in the Union. In 1860 forces in the North moved toward

the abolition of slavery. The leaders of Alabama opposed federal interference in the affairs of their state. They proposed secession. After a special election among the people, a convention was held in Montgomery on January 7, 1861. On January 11 a resolution of secession was adopted, and Alabama invited all the other southern states to meet in Montgomery to form a new union.

On February 4, 1861, the convention met and drew up the constitution for the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis was sworn in as the president on February 18, 1861.

During the Civil War there were many minor battles in the state. No major battles took place within its borders, but the state was badly hurt by the fighting. When the war was over, Alabama's economy was destroyed.

Between 1865 and 1875 Alabama lived under a partly military government called the Reconstruction. These were harsh times— times of agricultural failures, general poverty, and great political confusion. In 1875 a new constitution was adopted and approved by Congress. Between 1875 and 1900 Alabama went through a period of economic recovery. Cotton was still king, but industry grew.

Modern Times and the Future

After the Reconstruction era, blacks in Alabama were stripped of their newly won civil rights, including the right to vote. They had to attend different schools from whites. Racial segregation of many kinds was the law in Alabama for a long time.

In the 1960's, however, federal legislation enabled blacks in Alabama to vote in large numbers. Progress has also been made against many forms of racial segregation. Much of this progress in Alabama resulted from peaceful protest conducted under the leadership of Martin Luther King.

Alabama has undergone many other. changes recently. Industry has grown rapidly. The state's waterways are being enlarged an

Реферат опубликован: 17/09/2007