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Delaware Indians

Colonial Times


Battle of Trenton

Early Statehood

Industry, Immigrants and Innovation

The 1900s

  early railroad photo  


A Short History of New Jersey

Early Statehood

In 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and the first state to sign the Bill of Rights. In 1790, Trenton officially became the state capital of New Jersey. William Livingston became New Jersey's first state governor.

New Jersey grew and prospered during the early 1800s. New factories sprung up throughout the state. Paterson became a textile center and later became known for producing trains and silk. Trenton produced clay products, iron, and steel. Camden, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark, and Passaic all became major manufacturing centers in the 1800s.

New canals and railroads helped industry grow. Europeans came by the thousands to New Jersey to work in the factories.

South Jersey remained rural for the most part, growing the crops to feed the urban areas nearby. Railroads were important in helping the South Jersey seashore areas expand. In 1850, New Jersey's population of nearly half a million and the industries in which most of those people worked were concentrated in the north.

During the Civil War, New Jersey provided 31 regiments (groups of soldiers), including cavalry (soldiers on horseback) and infantry (soldiers on foot). Over 25,000 New Jersey men fought for the Union, and New Jersey soldiers participated in almost every major Eastern battle.

Next: Industry, Immigrants, and Innovation

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