History of New Jersey

History of
New Jersey
Colonial period
American Revolution
Nineteenth Century
Twentieth Century
Twenty-first Century

The written history of New Jersey began with the exploration of the Jersey Coast by Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524, though the region had been settled for millennia by Native Americans. At the time of European contact, the area was populated by tribes of Lenape. The New Jersey region soon came under the control of the Swedes and the Dutch resulting in a struggle in which the Dutch were victorious. However, the Dutch colony of New Netherland was seized by the English in 1664. New Jersey was one of the original 13 colonies that joined the American Revolutionary War in 1776. It signed the Articles of Confederation in 1779 with Princeton acting as the nation's capital for four months in 1783. New Jersey became independent after the American Revolutionary War, in which several crucial battles were fought in New Jersey resulting in American victories. In 1787, New Jersey was the third state to ratify the newly drafted United States Constitution.[1]

In the nineteenth century, New Jersey cities led the nation into the Industrial Revolution and provided soldiers for many of the wars the United States fought, including 88,000 soldiers for the American Civil War. The state became a component of the Underground Railroad. The state's transportation system continued to improve with the construction of canals and more rail lines that helped industrialization further develop. During the early 1900s, New Jersey prospered but weakened in the Great Depression in the 1930s. During World War II and the Cold War New Jersey's shipyards and military bases played an important role in the defense of the United States. In the 1960s New Jersey was the site of several race riots and of the Glassboro Summit Conference, between American President Lyndon Johnson and Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin.




Around 180 million years ago, during the Jurassic Period, New Jersey bordered North Africa. The pressure of the collision between North America and Africa gave rise to the Appalachian Mountains. During this period, Pangaea broke apart into Laurasia and Gondwana, and the North American continent became separated from the North African continent. Around 18,000 years ago, the Ice Age resulted in glaciers that reached New Jersey. As the glaciers retreated, they left behind Lake Passaic, as well as many rivers, swamps, and gorges.[2]

New Jersey was first settled by a Native American group known as the Lenni-Lenape, but called the Delaware Indians by European settlers. The Lenape were loosely organized groups that practiced small-scale agriculture (mainly based on corn) in order to increase their largely mobile hunter-gatherer society in the region surrounding the Delaware River, the lower Hudson River, and western Long Island Sound. The Lenape society was divided into matrilinear clans that were based upon common female ancestors. These clans were organized into three distinct phratries identified by their animal sign: Turtle, Turkey, and Wolf. They first encountered the Dutch in the early 1600s, and their primary relationship with the Europeans was through fur trade.


Colonial history

In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazzano, sailing in the service of France, explored the Jersey Coast.[3] New Jersey's Cape May was discovered in 1609 by Sir Henry Hudson in the service of the Dutch East India Company.[4] Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, a Dutch explorer, also explored the New Jersey and Delaware Bay area. Cape May was named after Mey, as were the town and county of the same name.


New Netherland

Much of New Jersey was claimed by the Dutch before the arrival of the British. The Dutch colony of New Netherland consisted of parts of modern New York and New Jersey. Although the European principle of land ownership was not recognized by the Lenape, Dutch policy required formal purchase of all land settled upon, and the first such purchase was of Manhattan, by Peter Minuit. The first settlement on land that was to become modern New Jersey was at Pavonia (now Jersey City) in 1629.[5] The last Dutch governor was Peter Stuyvesant, who was unpopular with his subjects because he tried to restrict religious freedom: the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657 objected to his ban on Quakers as an infringement on the residents as Christians and as Dutch citizens. Stuyvesant used military coercion in order to accomplish some of his goals, which only made him more disliked. At New Netherland's height, 6,000 inhabitants resided in the colony.[6]


New Sweden

In addition, part of southwestern New Jersey was settled by the Swedes by the mid-1600s.[7] New Sweden, founded in 1638, rose to its height under governor Johan Björnsson Printz (1643-1653). Led by Printz, the settlement extended as far north as Fort Christina, on both sides of the Delaware River. He helped to improve the military and commercial status of the colony by constructing Fort Nya Elfsborg, near present-day Salem on the east side of the Delaware. This action prevented the river from being easily taken by the English and Dutch, who were also trying to expand into the New World. The Swedish and Finnish colonists generally lived in peace with their Dutch and Lenape neighbors. Under the last governor of New Sweden, Johan Rising, the Swedes captured Fort Casimir (now New Castle, Delaware), which was close to Fort Christina and later named Fort Trinity by the Swedes.

This action provoked a furious Governor Stuyvesant, who, in revenge, sent seven armed Dutch ships and 317 soldiers to the Delaware River the next summer. Realizing it was hopeless, the outnumbered Swedes surrendered Fort Trinity, and surrendered Fort Christina two weeks later. In 1655, the Dutch completely took over these lands and annexed them to New Netherland.



From the colony of New Netherland, the Dutch interfered with Britain's transatlantic trade with its North American colonies. Insisting that John Cabot had been the first to discover North America, the British granted the land that now encompasses New Jersey to the Duke of York, who ordered Colonel Richard Nicolls to take over the area. In September 1664, a British fleet under Nicolls' command sailed into what is now New York Harbor and seized the colony. The British encountered little resistance, perhaps due to the unpopularity of the Dutch governor, Peter Stuyvesant.[8] After capturing the colony, Nicolls became deputy-governor of New Amsterdam and the rest of New Netherland, and guaranteed colonists' property rights, laws of inheritance, and the enjoyment of religious freedom. New Netherland was renamed New Jersey (after the English Channel Island of Jersey on which Charles II of England was proclaimed king in 1649) and New Amsterdam was renamed New York (after the Duke of York).

The original provinces of West and East New Jersey are shown in yellow and green respectively. The Keith Line is shown in red, and the Coxe and Barclay line is shown in orange
The original provinces of West and East New Jersey are shown in yellow and green respectively. The Keith Line is shown in red, and the Coxe and Barclay line is shown in orange

Charles II gave the region between New England and Maryland to his brother, the Duke of York (later King James II), as a proprietary colony. Later James granted the land between the Hudson River and the Delaware River that would become New Jersey to two friends who had been loyal to him through the English Civil War: Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley of Stratton. The two proprietors of New Jersey tried to entice more settlers to New Jersey by granting land to settlers and by passing Concession and Agreement, a document granting religious freedom to all inhabitants of New Jersey; the British Church of England allowed no such religious freedom. In return for land, settlers paid annual fees known as quitrents. The proprietors appointed Philip Carteret as the first governor of New Jersey, who designated Elizabethtown as the colony's capital.[9] However, the two proprietors found collecting the quitrents difficult, and on March 18, 1673 Berkeley sold his share of New Jersey to the Quakers.[10][11]

This sale divided the province into East Jersey and West Jersey. The exact border between West and East Jersey generally corresponded to the border between present day South and North Jersey and was created by George Keith. However, the line was constantly the subject of disputes. With the 1676 Quintipartite Deed more accurate surveys and maps were made resulting in the Thornton line, drawn around 1696, and the Lawrence line, drawn around 1743, which was adopted as the final line for legal purposes.

Many of the colonists of New Jersey became farmers. However, despite the fertility of the soil, farmers were forced to struggle due to the dearth of English money. Some owned slaves or had indentured servants work for them. The majority of the colonists lived in simple log cabins, coming from the original Dutch settlers. Since New Jersey was ideally located next to the Atlantic Ocean, colonists farmed, fished, and traded by sea. Transportation was slow and difficult usually on either foot or horseback. Education came through small religious schools, private academies, or tutors.

On April 15, 1702, under the reign of Queen Anne, West and East Jersey were reunited as a royal colony. Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury became the first governor of the colony as a royal colony. Lord Cornbury was an ineffective and corrupt ruler, taking bribes and speculating on land, so in 1708 he was recalled to England. New Jersey was then ruled by the governors of New York, but this infuriated the settlers of New Jersey, who accused those governors of favoritism to New York. Judge Lewis Morris led the case for a separate governor, and was appointed governor by King George II in 1738.[12] From 1701 to 1765, New Jersey's border with New York was in dispute, resulting in a series of skirmishes and raids.

In 1746 The College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) was founded in Elizabethtown by a group of Great Awakening "New Lighters" that included Jonathan Dickinson, Aaron Burr, Sr. and Peter Van Brugh Livingston. In 1756 the school moved to Princeton.


American Revolution

New Jersey was one of the original thirteen colonies that joined in the struggle for independence from Great Britain. Many of the New Jersey settlers still felt ties of loyalty to the British crown, and many slaves sided with the British in exchange for freedom.[13] The loyalists included the governor of New Jersey, William Franklin.

On July 2, 1776, the first Constitution of New Jersey was drafted, creating a basic framework for the state government. The New Jersey Constitution of 1776 allowed "all inhabitants of this Colony, of full age, who are worth fifty pounds proclamation money" to vote, including nonwhites and widows; married women could not own property under the common law. The Constitution declared itself temporary and to be void if there was reconciliation with Great Britain.[14] Both political parties in elections mocked the other for relying on "petticoat electors" for allowing women to vote. Only two days after the new constitution was enacted, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was endorsed by five representatives from New Jersey.

New Jersey is referred to as the "Crossroads of the Revolution" because the British and Continental armies fought several crucial battles there.[15] Throughout the war 296 engagements occurred in New Jersey, more than in any other colony. Four major battles were fought at Trenton, Princeton, Monmouth, and Springfield. The Battles of Trenton and Princeton are collectively referred to as the Ten Crucial Days because these desperately needed victories bolstered the morale of the nation.

Washington Crossing the Delaware
Washington Crossing the Delaware

On Christmas night of 1776, the Continental Army, commanded by General George Washington, made the famous crossing of the Delaware River. The scene was immortalized in Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze's painting Washington Crossing the Delaware,[16] and displayed on the New Jersey State Quarter. In the Battle of Trenton which followed the crossing, the American soldiers surprised the Hessians, capturing nearly 900 prisoners in 90 minutes and taking supplies that had been for the British army. After the victory, George Washington led the army back across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.

A few days later, British General Charles Cornwallis hoped to engage Washington's army at Trenton after Washington recrossed the Delaware River, resulting in the Second Battle of Trenton. After recapturing Trenton, he ordered charges on fortified defenses at Assunpink Creek. The Americans inflicted heavy casualties on the British from their defenses. Later, the Continental army slipped past Cornwallis’s stalled army and launched an attack on British soldiers stationed at Princeton in the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. The British at Princeton were forced to surrender. Cornwallis immediately ordered his army to engage the Americans at Princeton, but was prevented by snipers. These victories forced the British to leave New Jersey.

Molly Pitcher taking over her husband's position at a cannon
Molly Pitcher taking over her husband's position at a cannon

On June 28, 1778, the Continental Army under George Washington met a British column under Sir Henry Clinton at the Battle of Monmouth. Washington hoped to surprise and overwhelm the rear of the British army. General Charles Lee led the American attack on the British rear but retreated prematurely when the British attempted to flank the Americans. The retreat nearly led to disorder, but Washington managed to rally the troops to withstand two British counterattacks, both of which failed. As temperatures increased to over 100o Fahrenheit, many soldiers fell to sunstroke. After the battle, Charles Lee was court-martialed for his poor command. Over 1,000 British casualties were incurred while the Americans lost 452 men. It was during this battle that the legendary "Molly Pitcher" is said to have fought.[17]

The last major battle to take place in New Jersey during the Revolutionary War (and for the rest of the history of New Jersey) was the Battle of Springfield. Baron von Knyphausen, the Hessian general, hoped to invade New Jersey and expected support from colonists of New Jersey who were tired of the war. He hoped to secure Hobart Gap, from which he could attack the American headquarters in Morristown. On June 23, 1780, the British attacked soldiers under the command of Nathanael Greene. General Greene successfully stopped a two-pronged attack from entrenchments held across the Raritan River, preventing the British invasion.

New Jersey ratified and then signed the Articles of Confederation on November 26, 1779. In the summer of 1783, the Continental Congress met in Nassau Hall of Princeton University. It had originally convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but mutinous troops prevented the meeting from taking place. Princeton became the temporary capital for the nation for four months. During the brief stay in Princeton, the Continental Congress was informed of the end of the war by the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783. On December 18, 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the Constitution, and on November 20, 1789, New Jersey became the first state in the Nation to ratify the Bill of Rights.

New Jersey played a major role in creating the structure of the new United States Government. When Virginia delegates proposed a plan calling for representation based on the population of each state, the smaller states refused, fearing that with such a plan they would no longer have a say in government affairs. William Paterson, a New Jersey statesman, introduced the New Jersey Plan, by which one vote would be given to each state, providing equal representation within the legislative body. The Great Compromise accepted both plans, creating two separate bodies in the Congress.


Nineteenth century


Industrial Revolution

The economy of New Jersey was largely based on agriculture, but crop failures and poor soil plagued the settlers of New Jersey. However, New Jersey eventually funded publications in the early 1850s of accurate agriculture-related surveys through the effort of George H. Cook. The publication of this survey helped to increase the state’s involvement in agricultural research and direct support to farmers.[18] As agriculture became a less reliable source of income for New Jerseyans, many began turning towards more industrialized methods.

The Great Falls of the Passaic River
The Great Falls of the Passaic River

Paterson became the cradle of the Industrial Revolution in America. Energy was harnessed from the 77 feet (23 m) high Great Falls of the Passaic River. The city became an important site for mills and other industries. These include the textile, firearms, silk, and railroad locomotive manufacturing industries. Because of its high silk production, it became nicknamed the "Silk City". In 1835, Samuel Colt began producing firearms in the city.

The second version of the New Jersey State Constitution was written in 1844. The constitution provided suffrage only to white males, removing it from all women and from people of other races. Suffrage had been awarded to those groups under the original New Jersey State Constitution of 1776. Some important components of the second State Constitution include the separation of the powers of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The new constitution also provided a bill of rights. Underneath the constitution, the people had the right to elect the governor.

The famous inventor Thomas Edison was born in 1847. Edison worked in Menlo Park, and was known as "the Wizard of Menlo Park" for his many inventions; over the course of his life, he was granted 1,093 patents.[19] His most famous inventions included the phonograph, the kinetoscope, the stock ticker, the Dictaphone and the tattoo gun. He also is credited with improving the designs of the incandescent light bulb, radio, the telegraph, and the telephone. He started the Motion Picture Patents Company. One of his famous sayings was, "Genius is one percent inspiration and 99% perspiration", as his efforts consisted of research and testing.

The agricultural products from New Jersey usually were transported to larger markets in New York City and Philadelphia, requiring better transportation. The first oceangoing steamboat went from Hoboken, New Jersey, sailed around southern New Jersey, and ended in Philadelphia. Later, systems of canals were built, the first of which is called the Morris Canal and ran from Phillipsburg, New Jersey, on the Delaware River to Jersey City, New Jersey, on the Hudson River. The Delaware and Raritan canal ran from New Brunswick, New Jersey, on the Raritan River, to Bordentown, New Jersey, on the Delware River. Locomotion was also improved; Hoboken-born inventor John Stevens built a 10 ton locomotive and his son started constructing iron railroads. By 1833, The Camden & Amboy Railroad had been completed, allowing a 7 hour passage between Philadelphia and New York City. Through the 1800s, over a dozen companies were operating railroad lines.


War and slavery

During the Mexican-American War, a battalion of volunteers from New Jersey, in four companies, was active from September 1847 to July 1848. Philip Kearny, an officer who led a cavalry unit, followed General Winfield Scott and fought in the Battle of Contreras and Battle of Churubusco. After the war, Kearny made his home in the state of New Jersey.

George B. McClellan
George B. McClellan

The Quaker population was especially intolerant of slavery, and the state was a major part of the Underground Railroad. Though New Jersey passed an act for the gradual abolition of slavery in 1804, it was not until 1830 that most blacks were free in the state. New Jersey was the last northern state to abolish slavery completely, and by the close of the Civil War, about a dozen African-Americans in New Jersey were still apprenticed freedmen. New Jersey at first refused to ratify the Constitutional Amendment banning slavery.

Although no Civil War battles were fought within New Jersey, the state sent over 88,000 soldiers as part of some 31 infantry and cavalry regiments, and over 6,000 died in the war. 23,116 of those soldiers served in the Army of the Potomac. Soldiers from New Jersey fought generally in the War's Eastern theater.[20] Philip Kearny, an officer from the Mexican-American War, led a brigade of New Jersey regiments under Brigadier General William B. Franklin. Kearny distinguished himself as a brilliant officer during the Peninsula Campaign, and was promoted to the position of major general.

New Jersey was one of the few states to favor Stephen Douglas over Abraham Lincoln in the Presidential Election of 1860. The people of New Jersey also cast its electoral votes to George B. McClellan when he ran for President against Abraham Lincoln in the election of 1864, being the only free state that rejected Lincoln twice. McClellan was later elected governor, serving from 1878 to 1881.

Many industrial cities like Paterson and Camden grew extremely strong through the duration of the Civil War. They produced many necessities, including clothing and war materials like ammunition. These cities prospered through heavy production even after the end of the war.[21]


Twentieth century


Early 1900s and World War I

The Standard Oil Company of New Jersey was a large integrated oil producing, transporting, refining, and marketing organization, founded by Henry H. Rogers, William Rockefeller, and John D. Rockefeller. In 1911, the United States Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, viewing it as violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. Standard Oil had controlled nearly 90% of refined oil flows into the United States, having a near complete monopoly upon it. Standard Oil Company was split into 34 smaller companies as a result of the dissolution.

New Jersey was a center of shipbuilding and manufacturing during World War I. Existing factories such as the Singer Company in Elizabeth, New Jersey were converted to making weapon parts. New refineries and ammunition factories were built by companies like DuPont Engineering. After the war, many of these companies and plants shifted to chemicals, making New Jersey one of the world's leading chemical producers. Several Allied ships were sunk off the New Jersey coast.

Camp Merritt (New Jersey) was activated for use in World War I. It was from there that many soldiers were deployed to Hoboken, New Jersey before shipping off to Europe. Camp Merritt was decommissioned in November 1919.[22] Fort Dix, in Pemberton Township, New Jersey, was also constructed in 1917 to help in the war effort.[23] It was used as a training and staging ground throughout the war. After the war, it was converted into a demobilization center.


Roaring Twenties

Like much of the rest of the United States, New Jersey entered a prosperous state through the 1920s. Through this period, New Jersey's population and employment rate increased greatly. Though factory production decreased after the end of World War I, production lines still remained in relatively high production.

Transportation became much easier through the 1920s. Cars became easily affordable and roads were paved and improved such that they incorporated new road features, including jughandle turns. As a result, people who had never been farther than the outskirts of their hometown now could travel around the state. The Jersey Shore became extremely popular as an attraction. Many bridges and tunnels were built for the ease of interstate traveling. The Benjamin Franklin Bridge was completed linking Camden and Philadelphia in 1926. The Holland Tunnel, under the Hudson River, was completed in 1927, providing a means of easy transportation between New Jersey and New York City. Before, ferries were required to travel across the Hudson River. Later on, the George Washington Bridge (1931) and the Lincoln Tunnel (1937) were completed, making access to Manhattan even easier.[24] All of the tunnels and bridges linking New York and New Jersey are managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, established on April 30, 1921.

New Jersey was also the first state in the United States to ratify Prohibition, which restricted the purchasing and selling of alcohol. However, the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which banned alcohol consumption, was later repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment in December 1933. Newark's breweries reopened almost immediately.


Great Depression era

Like the rest of the United States, the people of New Jersey were hit hard by the Great Depression. By 1933, one-tenth of the population was dependent upon Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. In fact, New Jersey issued begging licenses to the poor people because the New Jersey government funds were being exhausted.[25] Under the Works Progress Administration, part of the Second New Deal by FDR, many new jobs were provided in order to support the poor, including the expansion of Fort Dix, Roosevelt Park in Edison, and Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway. Strikes also grew common during the Great Depression; in 1937 a group of gravediggers from New Jersey went on strike.

In 1938, Orson Welles produced The War of the Worlds radio broadcast from New Jersey. Listeners were told that a "huge, flaming object... fell on a farm in the neighborhood of Grover’s Mill... twenty-two miles from Trenton."[26] It described extraterrestrial monsters that were causing much destruction. Although it was announced in advance that it was a radio play, the broadcast resulted in widespread panic into New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Many people had believed the bulletin to be real, causing them to flee the New Jersey area or to blockade their homes to ensure safety from the reported monsters. CBS was criticized for allowing fictitious bulletins to gain attention of listeners. Welles and the other broadcasters were not punished by law, but were held under a brief informal "house arrest" for a short period.

During the Great Depression, 20-month old Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., son of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, was abducted from his home near Hopewell, New Jersey in the Lindbergh kidnapping. The police sealed off many roads to prevent the kidnapper's escape, and interrogated the members of the Lindbergh household. Federal expert Arthur Koehler carefully examined the ladder used by the kidnapper, which he traced to a company in McCormick, South Carolina. James J. Finn was a lieutenant who attempted to capture the kidnapper while he was passing off ransom bills. Finally, a ransom note was located and traced to Bruno Hauptmann; the bill had the license plate number of Hauptmann's Dodge Saloon that was written down by a gas attendant. He was tried in Flemington, New Jersey in what was known as the "Trial of the Century", and was convicted. He was electrocuted in the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, New Jersey.[27] The Lindbergh kidnapping led to passage of the Federal Kidnapping Act, also known as the "Lindbergh Law", which made kidnapping a federal crime.

The Hindenburg just moments after catching fire.
The Hindenburg just moments after catching fire.

In 1937, the German zeppelin Hindenburg exploded over Manchester, New Jersey. While approaching a mooring mast in Manchester, the zeppelin suddenly caught fire, and within 34 seconds the entire hydrogen-filled zeppelin was engulfed in flames; 36 people died in the disaster, most of them leaping from the burning ship. Contrary to popular belief, the Hindenburg had flown an entire year of successful voyages before it caught on fire. Questions and controversy surround the accident to this day: theories for the sudden burst of flames include sabotage against the German Nazis, static buildup, and flammable fabric.


World War II and the 1940s

New Jersey shipyards were responsible for the construction of many naval ships in World War II, including battleships, aircraft carriers, heavy cruisers and destroyers, receiving 9% of all allied war-related contracts through the war.[28] Nearly 500,000 residents enlisted for the war,[29] more than 10% of the total population of New Jersey at the time, causing many women to take jobs in their husbands’ absences. A German U-boat (U-689) was sunk off the coast of New Jersey in 1945.

Camp Kilmer was a staging area near New Brunswick serving the port of New York. Buildings were painted such that they had a camouflage effect. Camp Kilmer helped to serve troops by offering medical care and providing them with supplies. Camp Kilmer was later reactivated for the Korean War and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Fort Dix was reopened for the training of soldiers for the war effort. During the war, Naval Weapons Station Earle in Monmouth County was opened for naval production, which provided ships with a safe port to take on ammunition.

Millville Airport opened on August 2, 1941. It was called "America's First Defense Airport" because it was opened as a gunnery training area for fighter pilots. Over 1,500 pilots were trained for advanced aircraft fighting at this airport.[30] Fort Hancock was also opened in Sandy Hook. Gunners in the fort prevented German submarines from entering New York Harbor. The airfield, currently known as McGuire Air Force Base, was opened in 1937 as Rudd Field, a supporting Army airfield for Fort Dix. It was expanded during wartime operations and turned over to the Air Force in 1949.[31]

An internment camp housing people of Japanese, German, and Italian descent was located in Gloucester City. In addition, Seabrook Farms took advantage of Japanese labor to increase productivity when the government allowed small groups of people from the internment camps to work there. At the end of World War II, the government closed down the internment camps, but many people from the camps continued to work at Seabrook Farms.[32]

In 1947, the current New Jersey State Constitution was ratified, reorganizing the state government. Governors were allowed to serve four years instead of three, and the Legislature was constituted with a 40-member Senate and an 80-member General Assembly. The new State Constitution also returned the right of suffrage to females and non-whites.


Late twentieth century

In the 1950s, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey planned and built the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal in the cities of Newark and Elizabeth. This was the first port in the world to containerize due to the innovation of Malcolm McLean and the founding of the Sea-Land Corporation. The newly opened port quickly made the docks of Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan and Hoboken obsolete. In 1985, the port was the busiest in the world. (See Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal).

During the 1960s, many African Americans felt disenfranchised, feelings exacerbated by the police that usually sided against African Americans and by the poor urban conditions caused by urban decay. This tension led to race riots, the first of which occurred in Jersey City on August 2, 1964, causing heavy damage to the Jersey City area. 71 stores were damaged and 46 people were injured. From August 11 to August 13, 1964, similar riots occurred in Paterson and Elizabeth. In the Paterson riot, twenty stores and other buildings were damaged, and eight people were injured. In the Elizabeth riot, six people were injured and seventeen stores were damaged. In the aftermath of these riots, 135 people were arrested.[33][34]

In the summer of 1967, urban residents, primarily African Americans, rioted for 5 days in Newark and the neighboring city of Plainfield in the 1967 Newark riots. 24 people died in the riots, and nearly 1,600 were arrested. The riots are often cited as a major factor in the decline of Newark and its neighboring communities, as many residents fled to the suburbs following the riots.

Lyndon Johnson meets Aleksei Kosygin in Glassboro
Lyndon Johnson meets Aleksei Kosygin in Glassboro

In the middle of the Cold War from June 23 to June 25, 1967, president Lyndon Johnson met with Soviet premier Aleksei Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey for the Glassboro Summit Conference.[35] at the Glassboro State College. No specific agreements were reached, especially in the area of restrictions on anti-ballistic missile systems. However, the meeting helped improve the strained relationships between the Soviet Union and the US.

Because of its strategic location on the East Coast, New Jersey played an important role in the United States' Cold War defense. 14 Nike anti-aircraft missile batteries in two groups were constructed in New Jersey to protect the metropolitan areas around Philadelphia and New York City. In addition, a regional command center was built in New Jersey. By 1974, the missile sites were deactivated. In addition to these, air defense radar sites, bases for interceptor aircraft, anti-aircraft gun batteries, surface-to-air missile sites, and command and control facilities were constructed to defend against an attack by long range, nuclear-armed aircraft of the Soviet Air Force.[36]

In 1998, the south side of Ellis Island came under the jurisdiction of New Jersey following a US Supreme Court decision. Before, the island had been governed by the state of New York. However, after the court decision, disagreements between New Jersey and New York led to the sharing of jurisdiction over the island by the two states.


Twenty-first century


Terrorist attacks

In the morning of September 11, 2001, hijackers took control of four domestic U.S. commercial airliners, including United Airlines Flight 93 which departed from Newark International Airport in the September 11, 2001 attacks. All of the planes crashed, two of them into the two tallest towers of the World Trade Center in New York City which collapsed within two hours and were viewable from New Jersey. 2,986 deaths occurred in the attacks, including about 700 residents of New Jersey.[37] Over 160,000 people were evacuated by ferry from the Manhattan area to New Jersey because the subway and PATH station had been closed down.[38]

The destruction of Lower Manhattan office space accelerated the pre-2001 trend of moving jobs from Lower Manhattan to Midtown and New Jersey. The Goldman Sachs Tower was constructed in Jersey City as part of this effect. Towns in New Jersey such as Middletown that were especially hard hit suffered from aftereffects of the attack.[39]

A letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle containing anthrax powder caused the deaths of two postal workers.
A letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle containing anthrax powder caused the deaths of two postal workers.

For several weeks beginning on September 18, 2001, letters bearing a Trenton, New Jersey postmark and containing anthrax bacteria were mailed to several news media offices and two US Senators. These anthrax attacks resulted in the deaths of five people and caused twenty-two people to develop anthrax infections (eleven of which were life-threatening).


2004-05 gubernatorial vacancy

Current Governor Jon Corzine
Current Governor Jon Corzine

Former Governor James E. McGreevey resigned on November 15, 2004 after charges of pay-to-play and extortion scandals involving the impropriety of the appointment of an unqualified long rumored homosexual love interest. New Jersey had no Lieutenant Governor position at the time, leaving a vacancy in the office. Senate President Richard Codey served as Acting Governor (then Governor) in McGreevey's place. Jon Corzine was elected Governor of New Jersey on November 8, 2005, and took office on January 17, 2006. On Election Day, November 8, 2005, the voters passed an amendment to the state constitution creating the position of Lieutenant Governor, effective with the 2009 elections.


See also


Notes and references

  1. New Jersey became the third state to ratify the United States Constitution on December 18, 1787, with 38 delegates voting unanimously in favor of the Constitution. See Article Seven of the United States Constitution, which describes the process by which the Constitution was ratified by states, as well as statistics for ratification.
  2. Geological History by Great Swamp Watershed Association, retrieved December 22, 2005.
  3. New Jersey Timeline (2003). Retrieved on January 10, 2006.
  4. New Jersey History by Susan Ditmire, American Local History Network, December 6, 2005, retrieved December 9, 2005.
  5. Words That Make New Jersey History edited by Howard L Green, 1995 ISBN 0-8135-2113-0, p. 3
  6. New Netherland and After: Dutch Emigration to the U.S. (February 14, 2005), by Royal Netherlands Embassy, retrieved January 10, 2006.
  7. "A Brief History of New Sweden in America". Retrieved on December 16, 2005.
  8. Stuyvesant's council took several measures restricting religion in New Netherland, heightening his unpopularity, and he was also known for being hot-tempered. He took advantage of military coercion in order to increase his own power, shown in an event with Van Slechtenhorst. Stuyvesant grew haughty in his treatment of his opponents and threatened to dissolve the council in response to an angry outbreak at a meeting of commissioners in September 1650. Peter Stuyvesant StanKlos.comTM (2001), retrieved December 15, 2005.
  9. Elizabeth, New Jersey was not named after Queen Elizabeth I, but rather after the wife of Sir George Carteret, and was founded in 1664.
  10. Streissguth, Thomas (2002). New Jersey. San Diego: Lucent Books, Inc. ISBN 1-56006-872-8. pg 24-28
  11. Surrender from the Proprietors of East and West New Jersey, of Their Pretended Right of Government to Her Majesty by The Avalon Project at Yale Law School, retrieved December 15, 2005.
  12. Streissguth pg 30-36
  13. Streissguth pg 52-57
  14. Klinghoffer and Elkis. "The Petticoat Electors: Women’s Suffrage in New Jersey, 1776–1807." Journal of the Early Republic, 12, no. 2 (1992): 159–193.
  15. Crossroads of the American Revolution by Heritage Trail Association, retrieved December 16, 2005.
  16. Leutze took some artistic license in his famous painting. Mostly likely, everybody (not just Washington) would have been standing up in the boat, which would have had higher sides. In addition, the flag displayed in the painting was designed in 1777, after George Washington's 1776 Delaware River crossing. For more details, see Washington Crossing the Delaware.
  17. "Molly Pitcher" has sometimes been regarded as a real person, although historians now often believe the story is a myth, although probably loosely based on the actions of real women. See Molly Pitcher.
  18. Historical Overview- Where's the Garden?. Retrieved on January 14, 2006.
  19. The Wizard of Menlo Park. Retrieved on December 16, 2005.
  20. New Jersey in the Civil War. Retrieved on December 18, 2005.
  21. Stewart, Mark (2004). New Jersey: History. Chicago: Heinemann Library. ISBN 1-4034-0673-1. pg 26-29
  22. Camp Merritt by Kevin Wright, retrieved December 19, 2005.
  23. Fort Dix. Retrieved on December 19, 2005.
  24. Stewart pg 30-32
  25. Gerdes, Louise I. The 1930s, Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2000.
  26. Gerdes pg 210-218
  27. Gerdes pg 230-240
  28. World War II Time Line: New Jersey and the World. Retrieved on December 17, 2005.
  29. Stewart pg 30-37
  30. Millville Army Airfield, by JasperDyne Industries, retrieved December 26, 2005.
  31. McGuire Air Force Base, GlobalSecurity.org, retrieved January 10, 2006
  32. Seabrook Museum. Retrieved on December 26, 2005.
  33. Overview of Paterson Riots (2004). Retrieved on January 9, 2006.
  34. The Crisis- an Overview. Retrieved on January 9, 2006.
  35. Biography of Lyndon Johnson (February 4, 2004), retrieved December 25, 2005.
  36. Donald E. Bender (1999). Nike Missile Sites in New Jersey. Retrieved December 17, 2005.
  37. 9/11 Memorial, message from James E. McGreevey. Retrieved January 7, 2006.
  38. New York ferries, by Theodore W. Scull, retrieved January 7, 2006
  39. A new life passage after 9/11 (November 10, 2002), by J. Daw, retrieved January 10, 2006

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