History Hour - Sectionalism and Suffrage: North Carolina’s 1835 Constitutional Convention

  • June 6, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Eastern Standard Time

Ticket Price $0.00-$10.00 Register Now

North Carolina’s 1835 constitutional convention epitomizes the complex history of the antebellum South. In many ways, the event was a victory for western North Carolinians. White residents of the state’s mountainous regions had been demanding constitutional revisions for a number of years, as the existing constitution failed to grant them legislative representation in proportion to their increasing population. Yet even as white men of the mountains gained political power, North Carolina’s free men of color lost it. Before 1835, free men of color could vote in North Carolina, but delegates to the state’s constitutional convention decided that suffrage was for white men only. It would be over thirty years until free men of color could once again cast their ballots in state elections. This talk will explore the 1835 convention’s complicated history and provide insight into delegates’ decision to expand political rights for western North Carolinians as they eliminated free men of color’s right to vote.

Join us to learn more. 


About the Speaker:

Lucas Kelley is an assistant professor of history at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he teaches courses on Native American history, public history, and nineteenth-century America. His book project, entitled Bordering the Borderlands: Native Sovereignty, American Empire, and the Competing Geographies of the Early Tennessee Country is under contract with the University of Oklahoma Press. He received his PhD in history from UNC – Chapel Hill and his MA in history from Virginia Tech. This research on North Carolina’s 1835 constitutional convention stemmed from Kelley’s interest in the political history of the nineteenth-century Appalachian South.


Tickets: $5 for AMoH members/ $10 for General Admission. We also have no-cost, community-funded tickets available. We want our events to be accessible to as many people as possible. If you are able please consider making a donation along with your ticket purchase. These donations are placed in our Community Fund, which allows us to offer tickets at no cost to those who would not be able to attend otherwise.


Viewing: Registrants will receive a confirmation email with Zoom link with which to view the program. 


(Image: A map created by AMoH showing the popular vote by county in favor of or opposed to ratifying North Carolina’s 1835 constitution, based on Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of North Carolina Called to Amend to Constitution of the State, Which Assembled at Raleigh, June 4, 1835 (Raleigh: Joseph Gales and Son, 1836).)


For questions, email Trevor Freeman at education@ashevillehistory.org

Date & Time

Thu, Jun 6, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Asheville Museum of History