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The State


The Revolution of 1817

The Connecticut gubernatorial election of 1817 transferred power from the Federalists to the Republican Party, bringing an end to life dominated by the Congregational Church.

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Gold Hall circa 1900, a men's dormitory named in honor of UConn trustee T. S. Gold. The building burned down in 1914

The First University of Connecticut Trustees

When the University of Connecticut started life as the Storrs Agricultural School in 1881, Governor Hobart Bigelow appointed its first eight trustees—all with agricultural backgrounds.

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April 18, 1991 Headline after State Senate approved gay-rights bill - Hartford Courant

Eighteen Years in the Making: Connecticut’s 1991 Gay Rights Law

Connecticut’s 1991 “gay-rights law” was one of the state’s first LGBTQ+ civil rights laws and prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, and credit.

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Connecticut Residents Did Not Let Veterans Day “Go Commercial.”

Despite passage of the federal Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968, Connecticut residents were largely reluctant to move Veterans Day observances from November 11.

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Dry Nutmegs

The Storied History behind Connecticut’s Nicknames

October 14, 2021 • Popular Culture, The State

Though Connecticut’s official nickname is the “Constitution State,” it has been known by many names throughout the centuries.

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Norwich City Hall, Union Square, Norwich, New London County

Site Lines: Monuments to Connecticut’s Lost County Government

County government operated in Connecticut in one form or another for nearly 300 years before the state abolished it in 1960.

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Nathan Hale Statue, Hartford

Nathan Hale Hanged in New York – Today in History: September 22

On September 22, 1776, the British hanged Revolutionary War soldier…

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Thomas Hooker: Connecticut’s Founding Father

A powerful and popular preacher, Thomas Hooker led a group of Puritans out of Massachusetts in 1636 to settle new lands that eventually became the city of Hartford.

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The Importance of Being Puritan: Church and State in Colonial Connecticut

In the sixteenth century, Connecticut Protestants wanted to cleanse the church of what they saw as corruption, and to return to the simplicity and purity of early Christian worship.

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“’No Taxation without Representation’: Black Voting in Connecticut

In 1870, Connecticut ratified the 15th Amendment, but poll taxes, grandfather clauses, and other means of disenfranchising African Americans remained in place.

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History Day 2022 Debate and Diplomacy

Connecticut History Day 2022: Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences

Both successes and failures in the execution of debate and diplomacy lay behind some of the most monumental events in Connecticut’s history.

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Colonial currency from Connecticut Colony. Signed by Elisha Williams, Thomas Seymour, and Benjamin Payne

Connecticut’s Early Commercial Banks

After observing the financial success of commercial banks in Boston and New York City, wealthy elites in Connecticut pressured the Connecticut General Assembly to grant charters for privately owned commercial banks in Hartford, New Haven, and New London in 1792.

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Hope on the Wall: Connecticut’s New Deal Post Office Murals

Between 1934 and 1943, the federal government placed murals in twenty-three Connecticut post offices.

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Timeline: Settlement of the Colony of Connecticut

A timeline displaying the major events leading to Connecticut statehood, including its settlement by the Dutch, the origins of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor, the founding of the Connecticut, New Haven, and Saybrook colonies, and Connecticut’s acquisition of a formal charter from England.

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Hartford Whalers Logo

The Hartford Whalers: Connecticut’s Last Major League Sports Franchise

Major league hockey debuted in Hartford in 1975 and the Hartford Whalers remained a staple of the Connecticut landscape for twenty-three years.

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20th-century photograph of shad nets

A Tale of Shad, the State Fish

This aquatic inhabitant has a long history of influencing foodways, income, and culture in the region.

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Thomas Jefferson and the Embargo of 1807

Connecticut and the Embargo Act of 1807

The Embargo Act of 1807 stifled Connecticut trade with Europe, but ultimately boosted local manufacturing.

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Starr Mill

Buckling Up For Auto Safety

Controversy over seat belt laws has long been a part of their evolutionary history.

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Hat-factory With Hose-house On The Hill, Danbury

Rivers of Outrage

Pollution of Connecticut’s waters by industrial waste and sewage in the decades after the Civil War was arguably the state’s first modern environmental crisis.

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Connecticut River and Mt. Holyoke Range from Mountain Park, Connecticut

The Connecticut Valley Authority That Never Was

In the early 20th century, supporters of the New Deal tried to recreate the Tennessee Valley Authority in the Connecticut River Valley.

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Hartford and New Haven: A Tale of Two Capitals

Before the expense of having two capital cities became too great, both Hartford and New Haven served that function. Hartford became the sole capital in 1875.

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President Richard Nixon visits Hartford

The 42-Day Income Tax

In 1971, to eliminate the state’s budget deficit, Connecticut legislators approved a tax on income. Just forty-two days later, they repealed it, instead voting to increase the state’s sales tax.

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Honiss Oyster House, Hartford

Oystering in Connecticut, from Colonial Times to the 21st Century

Why tasty Crassostrea virginica deserves its honored title as state shellfish.

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Trolley Campaigners Storm Small Towns and Votes for Women is the Battle Cry

In the wake of a 1912 trolley campaign, the woman’s suffrage movement rapidly gained ground across Connecticut.

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An Orderly and Decent Government

The following is a digital presentation of An Orderly and…

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The Old State House, Hartford

Where It All Happened: Connecticut’s Old State House

Connecticut’s Old State House is a memorial to many of the legislative advances made in Connecticut during the most formative years of the United States.

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The Connecticut Poll Tax

November 9, 2019 • Law, Politics and Government, The State

The Connecticut poll tax lasted for almost 300 years and encompassed four different variants.

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Detail of Warwick patent copy by John Winthrop, Jr., 1662

The Charter of 1662

The Connecticut Charter, which provided the basis for Connecticut government…

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Connecticut State Park Picture Plan

Preserving Connecticut’s Natural Beauty: Connecticut’s First State Parks

Sherwood Island, Mount Tom, Macedonia Brook, and Kent Falls are among the earliest lands set aside for public enjoyment as the parks movement took hold in the state.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: A New State, A New Constitution, 1776-1818

The American Revolution prompted enormous political and social changes in other states, but Connecticut remained a “land of steady habits” until 1817 brought change to state government.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: A Society in Ferment, 1819-1865

Industry, immigration, and urbanization characterized Connecticut in the 19th century.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Making Self-Government Work, 1888-1905

Connecticut’s ancient system of town-based representation ensured the continuation of small town values and perspectives.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Establishing Self Government, 1634-1776

Puritans from Massachusetts settled early Connecticut towns, and in 1639 drew up “The Fundamental Orders” by which they would be governed.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Making Self-Government Work, 1634-1776

In 1698 the General Court reorganized itself to deal more effectively with Connecticut’s complex new problems. The outlines of the modern legislative system began to emerge.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Significant Events & Developments, 1634-1776

After the Pequot War, New settlers and speculators sought to establish new towns from the colony’s undistributed lands.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Searching for the Common Good, 1819-1865

During the early 19th century, the General Assembly was slow to deal with rising crime, poverty and the other social costs of a rapidly changing society.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Searching for the Common Good, 1888-1905

Stimulated by immigration and industrialization, Connecticut cities expanded rapidly

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Significant Events & Developments, 1888-1905

Connecticut saw its population of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe swell in the last decades of the 19th century.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: A Clash of Cultures, 1888-1905

In the last decades of the 19th century, Connecticut was transformed by a massive flood of immigrants fleeing political and economic instability.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Making Self-Government Work, 1929-1964

Connecticut attempted to reorganize it state government by streamlining its agencies and rejected a number of socially progressive programs.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Significant Events & Developments, 1905-1929

Early 20th century life in Connecticut was marked by the election of 1912, US entry into World War I, and the Great Depression.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Searching for the Common Good, 1776-1818

During the American Revolution, loyalists were common in Connecticut. Those sympathetic to the patriot cause helped provide for the Continental army.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Making Self-Government Work, 1905-1929

With war’s end, suffrage advocates stepped up their campaign for equal rights.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Searching for the Common Good, 1929-1964

Organized labor grew strong during wartime while discriminatory practices in housing and education persisted throughout the state.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Making Self-Government Work, 1866-1887

The late 1800s witnessed significant challenges to Connecticut’s voting and taxation laws.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Significant Events & Developments, 1929-1964

The era of Wilbur Cross and the Great Depression transitioned into World War II and state control by Democrat mastermind John Bailey.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Significant Events & Developments, 1965-Now

Connecticut recast its constitution, reapportioned its House and Senate, and struggled with providing equal rights to all races and socio-economic classes in the state.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: A Co-Equal Branch of Government, 1965-Now

Connecticut replaced town-based representation with legislative districts while the state struggled to supply equal opportunities across race and class lines.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Searching for the Common Good, 1866-1887

In 1873, the legislature began to look more closely at the problems of Connecticut’s workers.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Making Self-Government Work, 1965-Now

The 1965 state constitution helped redistribute populations more evenly into districts. It was also a period of new representation for women and African Americans in the state government.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Crisis and Recovery, 1929-1964

World War II helped bring an end to the Great Depression in Connecticut. Following the war, the growth of the suburbs redefined life in the state.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: Searching for the Common Good, 1965-Now

The state generated revenue for urban renewal and social programs through gaming and income tax initiatives.

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An Orderly & Decent Government: The Rise of the Factory, 1866-1887

In the years following the Civil War, Connecticut’s transformation to an urban, industrial state intensified.

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WTIC-TV filming airplane

Oldies But Goodies – Order DVDs from the Vaults of the Connecticut Humanities

February 14, 2017 • Hide Featured Image, The State

YouTube – CTHPrograms – Co-produced by Connecticut Public Television and…

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Map of the state of Connecticut showing Indian trails, villages and sachemdoms

Andover to Woodstock: How Connecticut Ended Up with 169 Towns

Religious mandates, the difficulties of colonial-era travel, and industrialization are a few of the forces that gave rise to the proliferation of towns in our state.

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Map – Connecticut Landmarks of the Constitution

A map of some of the Connecticut Landmarks of the Constitution researched and published by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Savin Rock Amusement Park, 1930s

Connecticut’s Youngest City – Who Knew?

… that the city of West Haven, incorporated in 1961,…

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Shad Hat

Mad about Shad: Connecticut’s Love Affair with an Oily Fish

Some Connecticut River towns continue to hold an annual shad festival, replete with a “Shad Queen” and a feast known as a “shad planking.”

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The Long, Ambiguous History of Connecticut’s Blue Laws

January 27, 2015 • Everyday Life, Law, The State

Connecticut’s blue laws are a series of laws based on puritan values that restrict or ban certain “morally questionable” activities on days of worship or rest.

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Dedication of the New State Capitol, 1876

Imagining Connecticut

Who are we?  What traditions and accomplishments define us as…

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The Yankee Peddler

The Yankee Peddler 1850

Yankee peddlers were a common sight in the Connecticut countryside…

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Dedication of the New State Capitol, 1876

New State Capitol 1878

By the 1870s, the State’s practice of having dual capitols…

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Creative License, or Fundamental Fact?

Investigating Connecticut’s claim to be “The Constitution State.”

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Charles De Wolf Brownell, Charter Oak

The Unsteady Meaning of “The Land of Steady Habits”

Throughout the centuries, this well known phrase has been used to stand for—or has been used as a foil against—a remarkable list of subjects, from beer drinking (for) and sushi (for) to showing movies on Sundays (against) and hair bobbing by women (against).

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Illustration of the Connecticut Charter boundary, 1662

From the State Historian: The Map That Wasn’t a Map

The Charter of 1662 described Connecticut boundaries that extended all the way to the the Pacific Ocean!

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Map of Connecticut showing the settlements in 1670

Connecticut’s Oldest English Settlement

In 1633, Windsor became Connecticut’s first English settlement. This was…

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