New Jersey, state in the Middle Atlantic region of the United States. Its long eastern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. To the northeast and north it is bordered by the Hudson River and New York. To the west lies Pennsylvania. New Jersey is separated from Delaware on the south and southwest by Delaware Bay and the Delaware River. Trenton is the capital of New Jersey. Newark is the largest city.
New Jersey is the fifth smallest state but one of the most diversified. Lying between New York City and Philadelphia, in the heart of the highly urbanized area called a megalopolis by some population experts, it is the second most urbanized state, behind only California, and the most densely populated. New Jersey is the only state in which all 21 counties are officially classified as “metropolitan” by the census. Yet it has wilderness areas, in the mountains of the northwest and the sparsely settled southern tidelands. New Jersey is in the forefront of industrial research and development, but the continuing importance of farming is reflected in its nickname, the Garden State. New Jersey’s ready access to the markets of New York City and Philadelphia led to an early specialization in fresh fruits and vegetable production. As early as the 17th century, colonists described the area as a garden because of its agricultural bounty.
Proud of its status as the third state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, entering the Union on December 18, 1787, New Jersey traces its history back more than 350 years. Its name derives from the island of Jersey in the English Channel, the birthplace of Sir George Carteret, a co-owner of New Jersey in the 17th century. The state contains many well-preserved monuments commemorating the American Revolution (1775-1783), many of whose battles were fought on New Jersey soil, including George Washington’s famed crossing of the Delaware River in December 1776, to defeat the British at Trenton.
New Jersey’s oblong-shaped area encompasses 22,587 sq km (8,721 sq mi), including 1,026 sq km (396 sq mi) of inland water and 1,039 sq km (401 sq mi) of coastal waters over which it has jurisdiction. At its longest point, New Jersey measures 270 km (168 mi) from north to south, including Cape May Peninsula. At its narrowest the distance from east to west is 58 km (36 mi). Toward the south, where the state’s width is greatest, the distance is 92 km (57 mi). The mean elevation of the state is 80 m (250 ft). New Jersey has 209 km (130 mi) of coastline.
Four major landform regions are found in New Jersey, extending across the state in a northeast-to-southwest direction. They are the Ridge and Valley province, also called the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Section or the Newer Appalachians; the New Jersey Highlands, a portion of the broader physiographic region called the New England province; the Piedmont; and the Atlantic portion of the Coastal Plain.
The Appalachian Ridge and Valley Section occupies the northwestern corner of the state. It consists of a prominent ridge of resistant sandstone called Kittatinny Mountain. The Delaware River, flowing through the gorge known as the Delaware Water Gap, cuts into this ridge. On Kittatinny Mountain, a few miles south of the New York-New Jersey boundary, is High Point, the highest elevation in the state at 550 m (1,803 ft). Between Kittatinny Mountain and the New Jersey Highlands lies a valley that supports much of New Jersey’s dairy industry. The floor of the valley is underlain by limestone with irregular ridges of shale outcrops. The elevation is about 120 to 150 m (about 400 to 500 ft). The valley is part of the Great Appalachian Valley that can be traced from the Hudson River to Alabama.
The New Jersey Highlands, or the New England Upland, begin at the southeastern side of the Appalachian Valley. Geologically similar to New England, the highlands consist of a series of flat-topped ridges composed of gneiss (a banded rock created by heat and pressure) and separated from one another by narrow valleys running in a general northeast-southwest direction. The larger valleys are drained by the Musconetcong and Pequest rivers. The region is dotted with lakes, many of which are summer resorts. The largest natural lakes are Lake Hopatcong; Greenwood Lake, lying partly in New York; Green Pond; and Culvers Lake.
To the east of the New Jersey Highlands is the Northern Piedmont, also called the Piedmont Lowlands or Triassic Lowlands. This belt of land, about 30 km (about 20 mi) wide, is underlain by sandstones and shales of a generally bright red color. Dark rocks known locally as traprock flowed into this region in past geologic ages; erosion of the surrounding sandstone has caused these rocks to stand out as prominent ridges above the plain. These ridges, the Watchung and Sourland mountains, rise more than 120 m (400 ft). The Palisades, another traprock ridge, terminates in spectacular sheer cliffs along the west side of the Hudson River, opposite New York City.
The Piedmont Lowlands, also known as the Newark Basin, is the part of New Jersey most easily accessible to New York City, and site of most of the state’s major cities. Three rivers drain the region. The Raritan River empties into the ocean south of Staten Island. The Passaic River flows through the northern half of the Piedmont basin. It creates a spectacular waterfall at Paterson, where it flows across First Watchung Mountain. The Hackensack River joins the Passaic River at Newark Bay, from which they enter New York Bay via the Kill Van Kull.
A line drawn from Perth Amboy to Trenton marks the approximate northwestern limits of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. This plain occupies about three-fifths of New Jersey’s area and can be divided into two distinct parts, the inner and outer coastal plains.
The inner coastal plain, known as the Greensand Belt, lies adjacent to the Piedmont and is roughly 30 to 40 km (20 to 25 mi) wide. Its rich and fertile lowland has given New Jersey its reputation as a garden state. Many truck farms and orchards, as well as an important dairy industry, flourish there.
The outer coastal plain consists of loosely consolidated sands and is generally infertile. Its landscape is that of a gently rolling plain that slopes from a series of small hills, about 60 m (about 200 ft) high, marking the western margin of the outer coastal plain to the ocean. At the ocean are a series of shallow lagoons and salt marshes and a series of offshore sandbars, which form a string of inhabited islands.
The southeastern portion of the outer coastal plain, which is covered with scrub oak and pine, is called the Pine Barrens. It is lightly populated, and the infertile soil limits agriculture to scattered areas of cranberry and blueberry production.
The climate of New Jersey is extremely variable. During the summer the state is invaded by moist tropical air that brings hot, humid conditions. Cold continental air dominates the state for much of the winter and brings frequent heavy snowfalls.
Total precipitation over most of the state averages about 1,140 mm (45 in) per year, with slightly less in the southwest than elsewhere. New Jersey’s average temperature is 1° C(33°F) in January and 23°C (74°F) in July. The highest temperature ever recorded was 43°C (110°F) in 1936, and the lowest was -37°C (-34°F) in 1904. Length of the growing season varies from less than four months in northwestern New Jersey to almost eight months in the southernmost counties. The state’s record single snowfall, 890 mm (35 in), was recorded at Whitehouse in January 1996.
Broadly defined, all of New Jersey’s soils are podzolic soils; that is, they are acidic and contain fairly high amounts of iron oxides. The soils in northern New Jersey are irregular in quality and contain rock fragments and small stones deposited by the continental glaciers of the last Ice Age. The soils of the inner coastal plain, unaffected by glaciation, are the richest in the state, while those of the outer coastal plain are generally infertile. The newer soil classification system developed by the United States Department of Agriculture describes the state’s Appalachian areas as inceptisols, while the coastal plain is characterized as ultisols, common to the Southeast United States.
Most species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish common to the Northeastern United States are found in New Jersey. In recent years black bear have returned to forested areas in northern New Jersey, and coyotes are once again common throughout the state. Other animals found in New Jersey are the white-tailed deer, skunk, raccoon, squirrel, fox, opossum, chipmunk, cottontail, woodchuck, and many types of turtles, snakes, frogs, and toads. The birds include sparrows, mourning doves, warblers, and cardinals. The southern portion of Island Beach State Park, situated on the Atlantic Flyway, is a preserve for both native and migrating species of birds. The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge at both Barnegat and Brigantine also are important stopovers for migrating birds along the Atlantic Flyway.
Forests cover 45 percent of New Jersey’s land. Two combinations of tree species are found. In the north the typical forest contains a mixture of oak, hickory, red maple, hemlock, and white birch. In the Coastal Plain, pitch pine, scrub oak, and white cedar prevail. The red cedar is common to both areas. Although the wood is useful commercially, the forests serve mainly for recreation.
Two wilderness areas, Mettler’s Woods and Island Beach, are preserves. Mettler’s Woods, also known as Hutcheson Memorial Forest, a 107-hectare (264-acre) tract of virgin forest southwest of New Brunswick, belonged to the Mettler family for more than 250 years before being purchased by a citizens group and placed under the trusteeship of Rutgers University. It represents the original forest cover typical of the region. Trees, many of them more than 20 m (70 ft) tall, include oak, hickory, beech, sugar maple, and ash. Shrubs include mapleleaf, viburnum, black haw, arrowwood, and spicebush.
Island Beach, a strip of the offshore sandbar extending from Seaside Park to Barnegat Inlet, is a state park 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of natural barrier island ecosystem, including maritime forest, coastal dunes, and tidal marshes.
With a growing population crowded into a small state, New Jersey is aware of the great need to conserve its resources. Increasing urbanization and industrialization have raised land values, and suburbs are encroaching on farmland. To compensate for shrinking farm acreage, agriculture has been forced to increase productivity and to practice soil conservation. The state’s chief conservation problem, however, is to maintain an adequate water supply.
During the 1960s the New Jersey legislature passed the most stringent anti-pollution laws in the nation. In 1978 the federal government created the Pinelands National Reserve to protect the unique Pine Barrens region.
In 2006 New Jersey had 113 hazardous waste sites, more than any other state, on a national priority list for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. Between 1995 and 2000, the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment decreased by 17 percent.
Although most of New Jersey’s early settlers were farmers, industries such as iron forging, glass blowing, and leather tanning were operating by the 18th century. Paterson, which produced cotton, silk, and heavy machinery, and Newark, which made clothing, shoes, and other items, were important U.S. manufacturing cities in the l9th century. By 1900 industry had surpassed agriculture to become the leading sector of New Jersey’s economy. In the 1990s New Jersey had a diversified economy. The importance of tourism was epitomized by Atlantic City, which in 1978 became the site of the country’s first gambling casino in modern years outside of Nevada. Newark developed as a major center of the U.S. insurance industry, and several enterprises in the state engaged in the research and development of communications and electronic equipment. A large number of New Jersey residents commuted to jobs in the nearby New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas.
New Jersey had a work force of 4,518,000 people in 2006. Of those the largest share were employed in service industries, doing such things as data processing and working in restaurants. Services was also the fastest growing segment of employment, as traditional jobs in manufacturing and farming declined during the 1980s and 1990s. Of those employed, 38 percent worked in services; 19 percent in wholesale or retail trade; 16 percent in federal, state, or local government, including those in the military; 8 percent in manufacturing; 22 percent in finance, insurance, or real estate; 22 percent in transportation or public utilities; 4 percent in construction; and 1 percent in farming (including agricultural services), forestry, or fishing. Employment in mining was insignificant. In 2005, 21 percent of New Jersey’s workers were unionized.
In 2005 there were 9,800 farms in New Jersey. Of those 31 percent had annual sales of more than $10,000; many of the remainder were sidelines for operators who held other jobs. Farmland occupied 319,702 hectares (790,000 acres), of which 68 percent was cropland. Most of the rest was pasture.
Farm income comes mainly from sales of greenhouse products, dairy products, eggs, peaches, and blueberries. New Jersey specializes in producing fruits and vegetables for the eastern seaboard. Its agricultural products supply the markets of New York City, Philadelphia, and those within the state, as well as supplying canners and frozen-food processors.
Poultry farming, once a big business in New Jersey, has declined since the early 1960s. Although poultry farming is practiced throughout the state, the remaining concentrations are on the eastern fringe of the Pine Barrens and in the west central part of the state.
Dairy farming is also a leading but declining branch of agriculture in New Jersey. New Jersey’s dairy farms are found mainly in the northwestern and western counties along the Delaware River. Most of the milk is sold fresh in the state and in New York City and Philadelphia; only a small share is made into butter or other milk products. New Jersey is also a large producer of fruits and vegetables, which are either sold fresh or are frozen or canned. About 18,100 hectares (about 44,600 acres), primarily in Burlington, Gloucester, Salem, and Cumberland counties, are under intense cultivation for vegetable production.
Peaches and apples are New Jersey’s most important tree crops. The production of apples has been declining; but the success of the peach industry in southern New Jersey has continued, and several new varieties of peaches, including Sunhigh and Jerseyland, have been developed. New Jersey is the third leading state in the production of cranberries, which are grown in the bogs of Atlantic and Burlington counties. Although cranberry output has declined, the increasing production of blueberries on the sandier soil of these two counties has placed New Jersey second in the ranks of blueberry-growing states.
The weight and value of New Jersey’s fish catch increased in the 1990s. However, the gains were being made because of increases in the catch of lower-valued species such as squid, skate, dogfish, Atlantic mackerel, butterfish, and herring. The harvest of species that command a higher market price, such as lobster, tilefish, fluke (or summer flounder), whiting (or ling), scallops, black sea bass, and tunas, were all down. Oysters are no longer taken due to certain shellfish diseases. Menhaden, processed into such products as fertilizer, fishmeal, and fish oil, are still caught in large numbers although the industrial processing of the fish is now done in other states. In 2004 the fish catch for the state was valued at $145.8 million.
Surf clam, ocean quahog, and hard clam harvests remain the most important for New Jersey’s fishing industry. Hard clams are successfully aquacultured, or farm raised, in shallow baywaters. A state program of transplanting hard clams from polluted waters to clean beds has increased production.
Pollution of habitat is of declining significance as the cause of changes in New Jersey’s fishing industry. More critical is the over-fishing of desirable species. Most highly valued species are listed as “overexploited,” meaning harvests are declining due to overfishing, or “fully exploited,” meaning any increase in harvest will lead to decline. Only species low in value and demand are classified as “underexploited.” The Cape May and Wildwood area remains the most important commercial fishing port.
Forestry in New Jersey is not an important commercial activity, although some wood pulp and other forestry products are manufactured. Trees in the state are mostly too small to be of commercial value. State farms do, however, produce a number of Christmas trees for sale in nearby cities.
One of the most important minerals extracted in New Jersey is basalt, or traprock, which is crushed for use in construction. Sand, gravel, peat, and clays are also extracted. The sands of southern New Jersey are excellent for glassmaking. The glassware made there during colonial days was famous, and these sands are still valued. Greensand marls, or glauconite, are dug from pits in the southern part of the state and are sold as fertilizer and water softeners. These marl pits have also produced some notable dinosaur skeletons.
Mines in the highlands of northern New Jersey provided much of the iron used during the American Revolution. These mines operated until the 1960s when competition from cheaper imported ore forced them to close. Foreign competition, coupled with depletion of the ore body at Franklin, has led to decrease in importance of zinc production, in which New Jersey was once a national leader. Oil and natural gas have been found off the Atlantic coast, but in quantities that do not yet encourage commercial exploitation.
The state’s leading industry is the production of chemicals, in which New Jersey leads the nation. About one-sixth of all drugs manufactured in the United States come from New Jersey, which has been called “the nation’s medicine chest.” The chemical industry also produces cleansers and industrial organic chemicals in quantity. Other leading manufacturers are printers and publishers, especially those producing commercial advertising, books, and newspapers; food processors, making such things as brewed beverages, pastas, canned vegetables and soups, and confections; refiners of petroleum; makers of instruments, including navigation equipment, surgical appliances, and photographic equipment and supplies; the makers of industrial machinery, such as heating and refrigeration equipment and pumps; manufacturers of electronic and electrical equipment, such as telephones, radio and television communications equipment, and semiconductors; and fabricators of metal components, including parts for other industries such as stamped metal, sheet metal, and industrial valves.
Broadly speaking, manufacturing is concentrated in two parts of the state. The larger area is found in the northeast, where Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Essex, and Union counties are tied to the port of New York. A second and smaller concentration hugs the Delaware from Trenton to Camden and is tied to Philadelphia. Since the 1950s industry has moved into suburban and rural areas, especially Morris, Somerset, and Monmouth counties in the northeast, and Gloucester and Burlington counties in the south.
The chemical industry, which makes items ranging from cosmetics and soap to heavy bulk chemicals, as well as pharmaceuticals, is concentrated in Passaic, Essex, and Middlesex counties, particularly in the Raritan River Valley and along the Arthur Kill Channel. A major segment of the industry is also found in Salem County, along the Delaware River. Newark, Camden, Clifton, New Brunswick, and Trenton are all drug manufacturing centers.
Petroleum refining, which services the vast urban markets of New York City and Philadelphia, is carried on along the Arthur Kill in northern New Jersey and along the Delaware in the southwestern part of the state. A large refinery was built during the 1960s at Deepwater on the Delaware River. The crude oil arrives at the refineries by tanker from overseas, and pipelines carry a large quantity of refined petroleum products to consumers.
Electrical machinery, of all types, is made in various parts of the state. Hudson, Bergen, Essex, Passaic, and Mercer are the leading counties in electrical goods manufacturing.
Food processing is declining in southern New Jersey, where much of the vegetable crop now is sold fresh, including “pick your own,” rather than frozen or canned for market. Beer is brewed in and around Newark. Automobile assembly plants are located in Union and Middlesex counties, and aircraft parts and engines are manufactured in Bergen County. The older industrial cities on the fringe of New York City are the principal centers for the production of machinery and fabricated metals. The apparel industry is centered principally in Hudson and Passaic counties as a spillover from New York City’s garment center. The reduction of nonferrous metals is centered around Newark and Raritan bays. Structural brick is made in great quantities from the clay deposits along the Raritan River, while better-grade clay products, such as porcelain fixtures, are made near Trenton. The manufacture of fine china is centered in Pomona, near Atlantic City. The glass industry in Cumberland County supplies containers for the food processing, brewing, and pharmaceutical industries.
Of the electricity generated in New Jersey in 2005, 52 percent came from nuclear power plants and almost all of the remainder came from steam-driven power plants burning fossil fuels, mainly coal and natural gas. There are 1 nuclear power plants in New Jersey, of which three are at Lower Alloways Creek Township and one is in Lacey Township. Three large investor-owned utility companies generate all the electricity sold in the state.
No other state has as dense of a system of highways and railroads as New Jersey. The state’s principal traffic alley connects New York City with Philadelphia. Through this corridor pass the rail lines of the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) and Amtrak, U.S. highways 1 and 130, the New Jersey Turnpike, portions of Interstate Highway 95, several pipelines, and many interstate communications and power connections.
In 2004 there were 1,476 km (917 mi) of railroad track in the state. New Jersey’s railroads move some freight into the ports on New York Harbor.
New Jersey had 62,043 km (38,552 mi) of public highways in 2005. Of this total, 694 km (431 mi) were part of the federal interstate highway system. The state has three profitable toll roads, the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, and the Atlantic City Expressway.
Many tunnels and bridges connect New Jersey and New York. The Port Authority Trans Hudson tubes carry commuter trains under the river. Conrail and Amtrak have tunnels that go into New York City. Vehicular traffic moves over the George Washington Bridge, or via the Lincoln or Holland tunnels. These arteries are operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a bistate commission created in 1921.
Three bridges connect New Jersey with Staten Island, New York: the Bayonne Bridge, North America’s second longest steel arch bridge; the Goethals Bridge; and Outerbridge Crossing. The Delaware Memorial twin bridges link the state with Delaware. Other bridges, notably the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, and Betsy Ross, connect New Jersey with points in Pennsylvania.
New Jersey has 4 airports; but only Newark and Teterboro, both operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Pomona Airport, near Atlantic City, have more than local importance. Newark is the 11th busiest airport in the United States.
New Jersey’s port facilities include a part of the port of New York along the west bank of the Hudson River; the Upper and Lower New York bays; Kill Van Kull; and Arthur Kill, as well as the ports of Newark, Elizabeth, and Raritan. More than 100 piers, mostly handling general cargo, line the New Jersey shore of the Hudson River from Bayonne to West New York. The port of Newark, an important petroleum and general cargo port, is under the jurisdiction of the bistate Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Adjacent to Newark is the port of Elizabeth, wholly owned by the authority. Lining the Delaware River from Delaware Bay north to Trenton are such important ports as Paulsboro, which specializes in handling oil, and Gloucester, Deepwater, and Camden. These ports are operated in conjunction with the Delaware River Port Authority of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
|IV||THE PEOPLE OF NEW JERSEY|
New Jersey had a population of 8,414,350 in 2000, according to the census. That was an increase of 8.9 percent over the 1990 census figure of 7,730,188. The average population density of 454 persons per sq km (1,176 per sq mi) is the highest of the 50 states. Some 94 percent of all New Jerseyites lived in urban areas in 2000, and the population distribution throughout the state is extremely uneven.
The ethnic composition of the population reflects the heavy influx of immigrants from Europe, particularly in the period after the American Civil War (1861-1865). After the establishment of a Communist government in Cuba in the late 1950s many Cubans settled in New Jersey.
Whites compose the largest share of the population of New Jersey, representing 72.6 percent of the people in 2000. Some 13.6 percent were black, 5.7 percent were Asian, 0.2 percent were Native American, and those of mixed heritage or not reporting race made up 7.9 percent of the population. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders numbered 3,329. Hispanics, who may be of any race, were 13.3 percent of the people and were primarily of Puerto Rican or Cuban origin.
New Jersey’s cities radiate out from New York City in continuous chains. Living in northern New Jersey, within a 50-km (30-mi) radius of Manhattan Island, are three-quarters of the people in the state. Another urban concentration is along the Delaware River, in the Trenton-Camden area, where 15 percent of the people live.
Communities clustered in the northern part of Bergen County provide homes for the thousands of commuters to Manhattan. Most of the larger cities in New Jersey, however, have grown as a result of their manufacturing and commercial activities. These include Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Clifton, Passaic, Hoboken, Union City, and Kearny in the north and a smaller urban complex around Camden.
Newark, with a population of 281,402 in 2006, is the largest city in the state. It is an important center for the manufacture of chemicals, food products, and pharmaceuticals. It is also an important port and an office and insurance center. Jersey City (239,614) is the terminus of several railroads and ocean shipping lines and a manufacturing center for food, textiles, and apparel. Paterson (148,708) was founded in 1791 by the American statesman Alexander Hamilton and his Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures to encourage American economic independence. Waterpower potential from the Great Falls of the Passaic led to the growth of Paterson, as the falls were harnessed by cotton and silk textile mills. Today the leading industries are the manufacture of chemicals, machine tools, and electronic components. Other industrial cities include Elizabeth (126,179), with a fine deepwater harbor on Newark Bay, and Edison (100,499), named after the famous inventor Thomas A. Edison. Trenton (83,923), the state capital, is a manufacturer of steel and rubber products and the former home of Lenox, one of the world’s finest dinner chinas. Atlantic City (40,368), a famous resort and convention center, is also the home of the state’s only gambling casinos.
The largest church membership in New Jersey is Roman Catholic, representing nearly one-half of the state’s churchgoers. The other large religious groups include the Baptists, the Methodists, and the Jews.
|V||EDUCATION AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS|
Public elementary schools in New Jersey date from 1817, but not until 1871 did public schools become free to all children. New Jersey’s first public high school opened in Newark in 1838. Public schools are supervised by a commissioner of education, appointed by the governor, and a state board of education. Education is compulsory from ages 6 to 16. Of New Jersey’s children, 15 percent attend private schools.
In the 2002–2003 school year New Jersey spent $13,884 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,299. There were 12.7 students for every teacher, giving the state one of the smallest average class sizes of any state in the country (the national average was 15.9 students). Of those older than 25 years of age in 2006, 86.1 percent had a high school diploma, whereas the national norm stood at 84.1 percent.
New Jersey is the home of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, whose main campus is in New Brunswick. Rutgers was founded as Queen’s College in 1766. The New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station is nearby. The university also has campuses in Camden and Newark.
Princeton University, one of the oldest universities in the United States, was founded as the College of New Jersey by the Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth in 1746. It houses the renowned Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Also located in Princeton is the Institute for Advanced Study, where Albert Einstein lived and worked during his last years.
In 2004–2005 New Jersey had 33 public and 26 private institutions of higher education. Among the notable schools were Princeton Theological Seminary, in Princeton; Fairleigh Dickinson University, in Madison and Teaneck; Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken; Rider University, in Lawrenceville; Seton Hall University, in South Orange; Bloomfield College, in Bloomfield; Drew University, in Madison; Kean University, in Union; Rowan University, in Glassboro; and William Paterson University of New Jersey, in Wayne.
Numerous specialized schools in the state include New Brunswick Theological Seminary and the Westminster Choir College of Rider University, a music school in Princeton. New Jersey also has several fine private college preparatory and parochial schools.
Some 309 public library systems function throughout the state. They are served by the extensive book loan department of the state library at Trenton and are supplemented by bookmobiles. The city of Newark has a large public library. Public libraries annually circulate an average of 6.3 books for every state resident.
The most noteworthy university libraries in the state are located in Princeton, where the Harvey S. Firestone Library was dedicated in 1949, and in Rutgers, which also has a school of library science.
The New Jersey State Museum, in Trenton, is noted for its planetarium and its departments of natural history and archaeology. The Newark Museum contains art, history, and science exhibits and also has a planetarium. The New Jersey Historical Society Museum is also located in Newark. The Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Village in Millville displays the history of glassmaking in the United States, and glassmaking demonstrations are offered.
In 2002 New Jersey had 28 daily newspapers. The state’s first regular weekly began publication in 1777 in Burlington; the first daily, the Newark Daily Advertiser, was founded in 1832. Among the leading dailies are Newark’s Star-Ledger, the Jersey Journal of Jersey City, Bergen County’s Record, and the Times and the Trentonian, both in Trenton.
New Jersey has 25 AM and 57 FM radio stations and 11 television stations. The state’s first commercial radio station, WJZ, was established in 1921 in Newark. The first television station, WATV, began operations in Newark in 1948. WATV later became an educational television channel in New York City. Radio and television broadcasts from New York and Philadelphia overpower local broadcasting facilities, and many of the transmitters for stations in these cities are actually in New Jersey.
|E||Music and Theater|
Outstanding concerts and cultural programs are presented in the New Brunswick Cultural Center, the South Jersey Performing Arts Center in Camden, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. New Jersey supports many symphony orchestras, including the acclaimed New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Many professional theater companies operate throughout the state, including the award-winning McCarter Theatre in Princeton, and the Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, one of the leading black theater companies in the nation. The Victorian town of Cape May hosts a classical music festival in the spring, and Newark sponsors an international jazz festival in the fall. Rock concerts are held year-round at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands Sports Complex and at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.
|VI||RECREATION AND PLACES OF INTEREST|
The numerous lakes and the rolling hills of the northwest and the seashore of the southeast provide New Jersey with one of its most important economic assets. Many summer cottages dot the shores of New Jersey’s lakes and ponds, while hundreds of hotels and motels line the seacoast. Atlantic City, with its gambling casinos, is a magnet for visitors; but Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Cape May, Wildwood, and Ocean City are also popular. Asbury Park, Ocean City, and Ocean Grove were originally associated with the summer conferences of the Methodist Church.
New Jersey offers a variety of both freshwater and saltwater fishes. Its streams in the northwest abound in bass, pickerel, catfish, and brook trout. Bluefish, striped bass, and flounder are common in the coastal waters. Many inlets of Delaware Bay are famous for their oysters and clams, but pollution has seriously damaged these shellfish. Migrating shad can be found seasonally in the Hudson and Delaware rivers.
|A||National and State Parks|
The National Park Service maintains two historical parks in New Jersey. Morristown National Historical Park preserves the quarters the Continental Army used during two winters of the American Revolution (1775-1783). The laboratory and home of inventor Thomas A. Edison are preserved at Edison National Historic Site in West Orange, where more than half of Edison’s nearly 1,100 patented inventions were researched and developed.
Several sections of the New Jersey countryside have been set aside for recreational use. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area preserves relatively unspoiled land on both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania sides of the middle Delaware River, a section of which has been declared a national scenic river. A craft village and environmental education centers are located in the area. Gateway National Recreation Area was, along with Golden Gate in San Francisco, the first urban region so dedicated. In addition to marshes and wildlife sanctuaries, the 10,767 hectares (26,607 acres) of the area contains recreational and athletic facilities as well as historic structures, old military installations, a lighthouse, and waters of New York Harbor. Other natural regions with national designations are the Great Egg Harbor Scenic and Recreational River, in the Pine Barrens, and a section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which traverses northwestern New Jersey along the Delaware River.
New Jersey’s state parks highlight year-round recreational opportunities as well as preserve historic sites. High Point State Park is one of the state’s largest parks and offers a variety of activities throughout the year, including ice skating, ice fishing, hiking, and swimming. Liberty State Park, with a spectacular view of the Statue of Liberty, hosts a variety of celebrations each year. Tours cross the harbor to Liberty Island and the nearby Immigration Museum on Ellis Island. Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville features picnicking, hiking, and horseback riding near the George Washington Memorial Arboretum, the Revolutionary War Museum, and an open-air theater.
Every region of the state is steeped with historic locations. A walking tour of the historic district of the village of Hope includes a gristmill, church, and cemetery in this city founded by the Moravian Church. An authentic Dutch colonial farmstead has been preserved as a living museum at the Garrestson Forge and Farm Restoration in Fair Lawn. The Great Falls National Historic Site, in Paterson, gives a glimpse at the nation’s first industrial city, which was planned by Alexander Hamilton and made famous by poet William Carlos Williams. Some 56 historic homes are located in Lawrenceville, including the boyhood home of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., a leader in the Persian Gulf War (1991). Trenton is home to an impressive inventory of historic and cultural sites, including the William Trent House, built in 1719 by the planner of Trenton. The Kuser Farm Mansion, built in 1892 as a summer residence, is in nearby Hamilton. Visitors to Freehold can walk in the footsteps of Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Battlefield. Molly, whose real name was Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, won fame on a sweltering June day in 1778 for assisting artillerymen in battle at Monmouth by bringing them drinking water in a pitcher. Veterans of the War of 1812 and the Civil War (1861-1865) are buried at the historic Finn’s Point National Cemetery in Salem County. The site of the 1937 crash of the zeppelin Hindenburg is marked with a monument at the Naval Air Engineering Station at Lakehurst (see Airship).
|C||Other Places to Visit|
New Jersey’s rich history and landscapes afford a number of unique destinations. The Great American Wonder and Railroad Museum in Flemington is the world’s largest model railroad exhibition. The display includes a doll museum, pipe organ, and theater. This region, known as the Skylands, is also home to some of New Jersey’s wineries. Other wineries are located in Hammonton, Absecon, and Egg Harbor. In Camden the Walt Whitman House and Cultural Museum houses an extensive collection of manuscripts and memorabilia from the great poet. Also in Camden is the Campbell Museum, an extensive collection of soup tureens and eating vessels from European households of the 18th and 19th century. Camden’s waterfront also is home to the New Jersey State Aquarium and an outdoor amphitheater for the performing arts.
New Jersey’s seaside resorts are popular attractions; leading resorts include Atlantic City, Asbury Park, Ocean City, Wildwood, and Cape May. The boardwalk in Atlantic City lives up to its reputation with amusement piers, casinos, nightclubs, and restaurants. There are also dozens of beaches for sunbathers and swimmers. Lucy the Elephant, built in the late 1800s, stands on Margate Beach, one of the boardwalk beaches. Lucy’s more than 80 metric ton bulk is a National Historic Landmark.
Both units of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge north of Atlantic City are paradises for bird-watchers. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine is dedicated to the rescue of stranded seals, dolphins, porpoises, sea turtles, and birds. Visitors can view the New Jersey wetlands on a walk near Cape May Point Lighthouse. Also on the South Shore, at Sunset Beach, is the remains of the Atlantis, a World War I (1914-1918) vessel made of concrete.
The extensive Meadowlands Sports Complex, in East Rutherford, includes an outdoor stadium, an indoor arena, and a horse racetrack. The New Jersey Nets professional basketball team and the New Jersey Devils professional ice hockey team play at the Meadowlands. The Meadowlands is also home to New York’s two professional football teams, the New York Giants and New York Jets.
Probably the best known event in New Jersey is the Annual Miss America Pageant, held each fall in Atlantic City. The city also hosts the Harborfest and World Championship Ocean Marathon Swim. Gladstone, headquarters of the United States Equestrian Team, welcomes the best riders in mid-June for the Festival of Champions. Later in the summer, George Washington’s Middlebrook Encampment comes alive with an annual Fourth of July celebration, including battle reenactments. Allaire State Park hosts the Father’s Day weekend Great Locomotive Chase and Civil War Reenactment. On Memorial Day weekend, Native American heritage is celebrated at the American Indian Arts Festival. Whitesbog, where blueberries were first domesticated and site of one of the earliest cranberry farms in the country, is host to the Blueberry Festival, in early summer, and the Cranberry Harvest Tours, in the fall. The East Coast Stunt Kite Flying Championship is in Wildwood in May. The Antique Fire Equipment Muster, in Millville, is in August.
New Jersey’s constitution, the third in its history, was adopted in 1947. It grants considerable power to the governor, who may serve two consecutive four-year terms and be elected to a third after a lapse of four years. Constitutional amendments may be initiated either by the senate or the assembly. The final adoption of an amendment requires the approval of the voters in a general election.
The governor is the only elected executive officer. All other state officers are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate. These include the secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, and heads of the various executive departments. The president of the senate succeeds the governor in case of death. In 1974, New Jersey became the first state to provide for public financing of gubernatorial election campaigns.
The legislature consists of a 40-member Senate and an 80-member Assembly. Senators are elected for four-year terms and assembly members for two. Legislative sessions begin each year on the second Tuesday in January and last until business is completed. Special sessions may be called by the governor or by petition of a majority in each house. A two-thirds vote in each house is needed to override a gubernatorial veto.
All judges in the state are appointed by the governor with the approval of the state senate, except municipal judges, who are appointed by the municipal governments. The state supreme court consists of a chief justice and six associate justices, all of whom serve seven-year terms. The supreme court hears appeals. Below the supreme court are a superior court, county courts, and inferior courts with limited jurisdiction.
The counties are governed by bodies of officials known as freeholders, who are elected for three-year terms and are responsible for the maintenance of county properties and institutions. The term freeholder originated in colonial times when only property owners, or freeholders, could hold office.
The smaller municipalities are called cities, towns, boroughs, townships, or villages, depending on their form of government. Most have a mayor and a city council, but some have city managers or commissions. Smaller municipalities usually have a mayor-committee or mayor-council form of government.
New Jersey elects two U.S. senators and 13 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The state casts 15 electoral votes.
The first human settlement of the area that is now New Jersey probably occurred about 10,500 bc, after glaciers that had covered the region retreated. The first culture, the Paleo-Indians, hunted mammoths and other prehistoric animals. They were followed in about 7000 bc by the Archaic culture; these people lived in the developing forests and depended on hunting deer and birds and gathering plants. As the regionally distinctive Northeast culture developed, agriculture became important as a source of food.
When Europeans first came to the New Jersey area, they encountered the Delaware people, who called themselves the Lenni Lenape, meaning “original people.” These peaceful tribes, who spoke Algonquian languages, numbered about 10,000 people at the time of European contact. Primarily farmers, the Delaware supplemented their major crops of corn, squash, and beans with fish, wild game, berries, nuts, herbs, and roots. They made an important advance in agriculture by learning to use ashes from burned trees as fertilizer.
The coming of Europeans began the rapid decline of these native inhabitants. Many died of diseases introduced by whites. The remainder were forced from their ancestral homes by the white settlers’ quest for land. However, treatment of the Native Americans was relatively more humane in New Jersey than in other parts of America. Little violence occurred, and the white settlers acquired native land peaceably, by treaty. As their land holdings shrank, different groups of Delaware migrated west, eventually settling in several sites from southern Ontario, Canada, to Oklahoma. Although an attempt was made in 1758 to provide the remnants of the Delaware with a reservation at Brotherton, now Indian Mills, New Jersey, most of the remaining Delaware left New Jersey around 1800.
|B||Exploration and Settlement|
Italian explorer John Cabot saw the New Jersey coast in 1498, but the Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European to explore and chart it, in 1524. The first Europeans to set foot in New Jersey were sailors from the Dutch-owned ship Half Moon, commanded by English explorer Henry Hudson, in 1609. Dutch adventurers, fur trappers, and traders followed, and about 1620 a trading post was established at Bergen, now part of Jersey City. Other Dutch settlers established Fort Nassau on the Delaware River in 1623 and Jersey City at the mouth of the Hudson River in the early 1630s. Small Swedish settlements were planted in southern New Jersey, beginning with Fort Elfsborg in 1638. The Dutch West India Company claimed the areas of New Jersey and New York as the colony of New Netherland, and in 1655 the colonial governor, Peter Stuyvesant, expelled the Swedish.
The English had never recognized either Dutch or Swedish claims to New Jersey. England based its claim to New Jersey on Cabot’s voyage and on the power of its navy. In 1664 the Dutch surrendered New Netherland to the English, who renamed the area west of the Hudson River New Jersey, for the island of Jersey in the English Channel.
King Charles II of England granted all of the captured Dutch colony to his brother, James, Duke of York. James in turn granted a proprietorship over New Jersey to Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. Unaware of this transaction, the royal governor of New York parceled out tracts of land in Monmouth County and at Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth) to Puritans from New England and Long Island.
Almost immediately, conflict arose between the proprietors and the Puritans over land claims and the right to establish a government. Political and religious differences intensified the friction; the proprietors were Anglicans and loyal to the king, while the Puritans were dissenting Protestants. Sporadic riots broke out over the demands of the proprietors that landholders pay them rent. However, the colony continued to grow. By 1670 English settlers, mostly Puritans from Connecticut and Long Island, had founded settlements at Newark, Woodbridge, Piscataway, Middletown, and Shrewsbury. Immigration of non-English colonists later swelled the population and magnified the religious differences.
The Dutch briefly regained possession of New Jersey, but lost it again to the English in 1674. Meanwhile, Berkeley sold his share of the colony to two Quakers. When one of them, Edward Billinge, went bankrupt in 1676, his creditors took control of his share under a deed that divided New Jersey in half from Little Egg Harbor to a point north of the Delaware Water Gap. Carteret retained control of the eastern half, while the creditors, including prominent Quaker William Penn, controlled the western half. This touched off a long-lasting boundary dispute and enduring political, economic, and social differences between the two Jerseys. The Quakers gravitated toward Philadelphia, while those in the eastern half turned toward New York City.
In attempting to establish a colony, the Quakers in West Jersey soon went bankrupt, so they formed a joint stock company and sold shares to finance their efforts. The company shareholders became the board of proprietors, who acted as landlords and government of the colony. In East Jersey, Carteret’s heirs also formed a stock company in 1682, and its shareholders became that area’s board of proprietors.
Under the original two proprietors, the charter for the government of New Jersey was the Concessions and Agreements of the Lords Proprietors, which provided for religious freedom, trial by jury, and a representative assembly. In 1677 Penn wrote a second charter for West Jersey called the Concessions and Agreements, which guaranteed freedom of religion and personal liberty, and provided for the annual election by secret ballot of a representative assembly with limited powers of taxation. By the time New Jersey was united as a royal colony in 1702, a tradition of self-government had been established.
Settlements were sparse and scattered. In the 1680s and 1690s West Jersey was settled by English, Irish, Welsh, and Scottish Quakers. The Burlington Quaker Meeting, which dictated terms of settlement—and nearly everything else—among the local Society of Friends, allowed settlers to spread across the countryside in farms of more than 240 hectares (600 acres). In East Jersey, Essex County and what later became Morris County were largely owned by the Scottish partners of the proprietors, who tried to transplant their ways to New Jersey. They set up huge estates, imported several hundred indentured servants, and refused to sell land to independent farmers. The Dutch brought the first African slaves into Bergen County. By the 1680s English landowners from the West Indies settled in and purchased larger numbers from the slave markets of New York City. In 1702 the population of East and West Jersey was about 14,000.
In 1702 the boards of proprietors in both sections of New Jersey turned their governing authority over to Queen Anne, who united the two into a single royal colony. However, the two proprietary organizations continued to act as landlords, holding title to all unclaimed land in New Jersey.
Under royal government, local self-rule was curtailed and the colony was bound more closely to England. Despite political unification, each section insisted on maintaining its own capital. The assembly, which shared colonial rule with the royal governor, was forced to hold its sessions in Perth Amboy and Burlington in alternating years. Differences between the two sections remained, but they united to present a common front against the royal governor. In trying to restore harmony and obedience to royal authority, the governors were forced until 1738 to divide their attention between New Jersey and New York, and many of the crown’s representatives were incompetent. This enabled the colonists to exercise a greater amount of self-government than the monarchy desired. Especially important was the assembly’s power to collect taxes for the governor’s salary. Governors who remained responsible to the king and opposed the interests of the colonists often went unpaid.
The Great Awakening, a religious movement that swept through the colonies in the 1740s, further undermined royal authority, as well as that of the Anglican Church. Led by Presbyterian ministers William Tennent and his son, Gilbert Tennent, preachers crossed Bergen, Essex, and Hunterdon counties. Their fiery sermons made Protestants repent their sins and seek salvation. The awakening left churches in turmoil, as the newly saved attacked more conservative ministers, who refused to accept their conversion experiences as genuine. Within a decade, in Sussex and other wilderness counties, orderly denominations became a chaos of jealous, competing sects. Religious fervor also sharpened farmers’ anger when proprietors questioned their land titles during the so-called “land riots” of the late 1740s. Hundreds of farmers squatted on their land, defying efforts by sheriffs and militia units to evict them. When several were arrested, their friends stormed jails in Somerset, Newark, and Perth Amboy to free them.
From 14,000 in 1700, the number of inhabitants doubled to more than 30,000 in 1726. It continued to grow rapidly, reaching about 120,000 by 1775. Immigrants poured into the colony from New York and Philadelphia, giving it a diverse and multilingual character. Dutch continued to trek into Bergen County, dotting the valley of the Hackensack River with Dutch Reformed congregations. The small Swedish group in Salem was swamped by an influx of Irish Quakers and Scots from Ulster, who made up a quarter of Salem’s population by the time of the American Revolution in 1775. Large numbers of peasants from Germany settled in Hunterdon and Sussex counties. As a result, the English province of New Jersey was probably only half English in ethnic origin on the eve of the revolution, and counties like Hunterdon, Middlesex, and Salem were less than 40 percent English. Bergen and Somerset counties were, respectively, half and two-thirds Dutch by the 1760s. The growing number of Scots-Irish, Welsh, Dutch, German, Swedish, Belgian, French, and black settlers in New Jersey made British rule that much less popular.
Of the royal governors, only Robert Hunter and Lewis Morris received cooperation from the assembly. Even Morris, who before becoming governor was a strong defender of the assembly’s prerogatives, went without salary for two years. In 1763 William Franklin, the son of statesman Benjamin Franklin, was appointed governor. He could muster little support for the British in the French and Indian War (1754-1763) that was raging along the American frontier, as Great Britain and France fought for control of North America. The presence of a large number of Quakers and other pacifist sects partly accounted for this lack of concern. The basic reason, however, was that New Jersey was too preoccupied with its own problems and development to come to the aid of the king.
Opposition to royal authority continued to mount as Britain attempted to enforce laws restricting trade and imposing taxes on the colonies. See also Navigation Acts; Sugar and Molasses Act; Stamp Act; Townshend Acts. Following the lead of Massachusetts and Virginia, a provincial congress met in New Brunswick on July 21, 1774, and elected delegates to the First Continental Congress. Four months later a group of New Jersey patriots, again following the lead of rebellious colonists in Boston, burned a cargo of tea in Greenwich. As unrest spread, many royal officials yielded to the provincial congress. In June 1776 William Franklin, who remained loyal to Britain, was arrested, and the reign of royal governors ended in New Jersey.
On July 2, 1776, the provincial congress, meeting at Burlington, adopted a constitution declaring New Jersey’s independence. In August, New Jersey’s delegates to the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, and William Livingston became the state’s first governor. The transition from colonial status to statehood had been smooth, but the burden of defending independence fell heavily on New Jersey during the American Revolution (1775-1783).
As with most states, New Jersey had many citizens who opposed American independence. These Loyalists organized six battalions, who presented a constant frustration to the more than 17,000 citizens of New Jersey who took up arms against the British. The advance of the British from Fort Lee to the Delaware River in the winter of 1776 was the signal for open Loyalist activity to increase. When the new state legislature was forced to flee Princeton in early December, despair gripped the state. However, General George Washington secretly crossed the Delaware and on December 26 won an important victory in the Battle of Trenton. A victory at the Battle of Princeton a week later permitted Washington’s army to return to New Jersey. They spent the remainder of the winter and early spring encamped in Morristown.
In June 1778, as the British retreated from Philadelphia across New Jersey, Washington’s forces attacked in the Battle of Monmouth. The battle ended in a draw after American General Charles Lee delayed his attack, then retreated. Lee was dismissed by Washington and later court-martialed.
Washington spent the winter of 1778 and 1779 at the Wallace House in Somerville, with his troops camped nearby at Middlebrook. The army also camped at Morristown in the severe winter of 1779 and 1780. Deaths from starvation and exposure were common, and housing and medical supplies were poor. In June 1780 the British were beaten back in the Battle of Springfield, the last major engagement in New Jersey.
The New Jersey constitution, reflecting the prevailing fear of despotic government, vested virtually all powers in a popularly elected bicameral legislature. Each county, regardless of population, sent one representative to the upper house, while the lower house was chosen on a proportional basis. All citizens over 21 who owned a certain amount of property were allowed to vote. However, women’s right to vote was rescinded in 1807. The governor, judges, and other government officers were elected or appointed by the legislature, so had little power of their own. Two New Jersey towns served briefly as the nation’s capital: Princeton from June to November 1783 and Trenton from then until December 1785.
From 1781 to 1789, while the states were united under the agreement known as the Articles of Confederation, New Jersey’s economy was hampered by restrictions on commerce. Consequently, New Jersey was one of the five states represented at the Annapolis Convention to discuss interstate commerce and was a moving force behind the calling of the Constitutional Convention. At the Constitutional Convention, New Jersey proposed that the national legislature be a unicameral body in which all the states would have equal representation. The New Jersey Plan was supported by small states, while larger states sought a system based on population. Under a compromise plan adopted by the convention, the New Jersey proposal became the basis for representation in the United States Senate. Assured of equality with the larger states in at least one house of Congress, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the Constitution of the United States on December 18, 1787.
The unanimity that greeted the Constitution was short-lived. New Jersey was again divided as permanent political parties replaced the old competing factions. At first the Federalist Party was in control, but by 1801 a strong Democratic-Republican Party, led nationally by Thomas Jefferson, had come to power. In presidential elections, New Jersey supported Andrew Jackson in 1832 and Whig candidates by narrow margins until 1852. In 1844 liberal elements mustered enough support to write a new state constitution that eliminated property qualifications for voting, provided for the popular election of a governor for a three-year term, and added a bill of rights.
In 1790 Trenton became the state capital, replacing the joint capitals of Perth Amboy and Burlington. The state’s population was then 184,000; by 1850 it had risen to 489,555 and was concentrated largely in the north. The growth of this area was spurred by the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, a group founded by American statesman Alexander Hamilton, which established Paterson in 1791. Paterson, the first planned industrial city in America, was an early leader in textile manufacturing and a pioneer in the construction of railroad locomotives.
New Jersey’s location—between New York City and Philadelphia and between New England and the South—dictated the need for transportation facilities. By 1830 the legislature had chartered more than 50 turnpike companies, and about 880 km (550 mi) of roads were built, almost all in the northern part of the state. In 1831 the Morris Canal, built to exploit the iron resources of Morris County, linked the upper Delaware River with the Atlantic Ocean. Three years later the Delaware and Raritan Canal connected the Delaware and Raritan rivers, providing a short all-water route from New York City to Philadelphia. This canal remained in operation until 1934.
The toll roads and canals changed the nature of rural life and hastened the movement of farmers into cities. The Delaware and Raritan Canal permitted shipment of anthracite coal from the Lehigh Valley, which cut the livelihood of farmers who shipped firewood and charcoal for city markets. To keep up with growing competition from outside the region, farmers turned to more modern iron plows and tools. By 1839 these improvements cut the need for farm labor to half the number of the 1790s, setting adrift thousands of laborers and tenants who had little choice but to seek work in nearby towns.
The greatest improvements in transportation took place within the railroad industry. Inventor John Stevens, a pioneer in steamboats, operated the first American steam locomotive in 1825 in Hoboken. In 1830 he and his two sons were granted a monopoly for their Camden and Amboy Railroad between New York City and Philadelphia. Although other railroad lines were constructed, the Camden and Amboy remained dominant in the industry and came to wield great influence over state politics. The construction of railroads, turnpikes, and canals contributed to the growth of northern New Jersey, but southern New Jersey remained rural and underpopulated.
As railroads forged links to the marketplaces of New York City and Philadelphia, New Jersey’s small towns became industrial centers by the 1860s. Camden and Trenton became foundry subcontractors to Philadelphia’s iron and locomotive manufacturers. Paterson became a center for silk, then machine shops, then a major supplier of railroad locomotives. Newark specialized in manufacturing leather trunks, shoes, tools, coaches, and jewelry. By 1860, it was one of the most industrialized cities in the country.
Industry turned cities into places of sharp social contrasts. As early as the 1840s and 1850s, wealthy businessmen took advantage of new coaches and horse-drawn cars to commute to work while their families were lodged in safe suburban enclaves like Clinton Hill and Woodside in Newark or Llewellyn Park in West Orange. The middle classes were largely made up of storekeepers, clerks, and skilled artisans. Many of the latter were German immigrants, who earned decent wages as piano and instrument makers, furniture carvers, brewers, and confectioners. At the bottom of this urban world, forming perhaps half of the cities’ populations, were a mass of unskilled, low-paid workers. Some came from Jersey’s farms, but a growing number were Irish Catholic immigrants. These unskilled refugees from the potato famine that swept Ireland in the 1840s were desperate for any sort of work. On Newark’s streets and Jersey City’s wharves, three-quarters of the unskilled workers were Irish. They worked as stevedores and day laborers, moving freight and digging sewers. In the 1850s their efforts earned them less than a dollar a day, half that of skilled artisans. With luck, they might make $250 to $300 per year, while their families needed twice that to survive in an urban environment.
New Jersey did not play an important role in the movement for the abolition of slavery. In 1804 a law for the gradual emancipation of slaves was passed, but not until 1846 was slavery permanently abolished. Even then, slaves were bound over to their masters as apprentices, and the difference between the two conditions was often slight. The Underground Railroad was active in the state, helping runaway slaves from the South reach safety in the Northern states and Canada. But New Jersey officially obeyed the federal Fugitive Slave Laws, which required state officials to help return runaway slaves to their Southern masters.
As the outbreak of the American Civil War (1861-1865) neared, antiwar elements had strong support among New Jersey industrialists, who feared the loss of valuable Southern markets for their products. Even though the state responded warmly to a visit by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861, it was the only Northern state that did not give him all of its electoral votes in the presidential elections of 1860 and 1864.
If New Jersey was not unanimous in its support of the crusade against slavery, it responded vigorously to secession by Southern states and to Lincoln’s call to arms. New Jersey put more than 88,000 men in uniform. About 6,300 New Jersey residents were killed during the war, among them General Philip “Fighting Phil” Kearny.
|H||Industrialization and the Trusts|
The demand for supplies in the Civil War brought New Jersey prosperity that continued into a postwar boom period. This boom accelerated the shift in population from rural to urban areas. Large numbers of immigrants continued to arrive from Ireland, Italy, and Eastern Europe. In 1880 immigrants made up one-fifth of the population, and by 1910 more than half the 2,587,167 residents of New Jersey were foreign-born or the children of immigrants.
The burgeoning population placed great demands on the farmers. In 1864 the legislature had created the State College of Agriculture at Rutgers University. Subsequently the lawmakers added a State Agricultural Experiment Station from which scientists relayed modern cultivation and husbandry methods to farmers throughout the state. Poor land was gradually set aside for dairy and poultry farms. The more fertile soil was made to yield abundant vegetable crops. Besides feeding their own state, New Jersey farmers began sending produce to New York City and Philadelphia.
The greatest force behind the postwar boom was the railroad. In 1871 the Stevens family leased their railroad lines to the Pennsylvania Railroad, but the Pennsylvania’s monopoly ended in 1873, when the state was opened to competing lines. Track mileage nearly doubled, and a coastal line was built, fueling the growth of seaside resorts. Aided by easily corrupted politicians from both parties, the railroads exerted tremendous influence in the legislature. But they were forced to share power with the new industries that set up headquarters and factories in New Jersey.
The modernization of the transportation system, the large skilled labor force, and proximity to markets, as well as lenient corporate laws, attracted industrial titans to New Jersey. By 1875 John D. Rockefeller, the founder of the giant Standard Oil Company, had refineries in Bayonne; inventor Isaac Merrit Singer had opened a sewing machine plant in Elizabeth; and Joseph Campbell and Abraham Anderson had established a soup company in Camden. Bridge-building pioneer John Augustus Roebling was producing steel bridge cables in Trenton, and John W. Hyatt was making celluloid in Newark. The brilliant inventor Thomas Alva Edison established laboratories in Menlo Park and West Orange.
New Jersey’s lenient corporate laws also attracted industries that purchased their corporate charters in New Jersey but conducted their business elsewhere. These charter fees greatly aided the state’s economy and reduced the tax burden on citizens, but they gave New Jersey the notorious reputation as the “mother of trusts.” Abuses by trusts, corporations organized to eliminate competition and control entire industries, led to passage of antitrust laws in many other states. By 1904, 170 of the nation’s 318 largest trusts were chartered in New Jersey, some after having been ruled illegal in other states. Among these were the seven largest trusts in the nation: American Sugar Refining, Standard Oil, Amalgamated Copper, American Smelting and Refining, Consolidated Tobacco, U.S. Steel, and International Mercantile Marine.
New Jersey saw an influx of wealthy industrialists, most of them commuters who lived in palatial homes in Somerset, Morris, Monmouth, and Essex counties. Their lives contrasted sharply with the miserable working conditions and housing of the factory workers who were crowded into the slums of Newark, Paterson, Jersey City, Trenton, and Camden. Because the big trusts controlled both political parties, labor unions found it difficult to organize in the state.
As early as 1828, textile workers in Paterson, including children, staged a strike, but labor reforms were slow to follow. In 1851 the legislature excluded children under age ten from factory work. In 1877 the state required all salaries to be paid in lawful money, not paper scrip issued by employers. A law to compensate workers injured on the job was passed in 1911, and in 1933 the state passed its first minimum wage law.
The Paterson strike was the first of many bitter and often futile struggles between labor and management in New Jersey. Many strikes were broken with violence by company-hired detectives with the aid and cooperation of local police. Gradually such unions as the Knights of Labor, the American Federation of Labor, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Engineers gained in membership. However, the trade union movement met violent opposition well into the 1930s. The Paterson silk strike of 1913 became a landmark in the struggle of workers to win collective bargaining rights throughout an industry.
Agriculture was greatly transformed by big-city markets. From 5,230 sq km (3,250 sq mi) tilled in 1879, cultivation steadily dropped to 2,900 sq km (1,800 sq mi) by 1929. Yet the number of agricultural workers remained roughly the same. Surviving family farms became larger operations, with substantial investments in outbuildings and machinery. Hog, cattle, and sheep raising were often replaced by production of poultry and eggs, fruits and vegetables, and milk for nearby city markets. By 1900 Union County farmers specialized in pumpkins, squash, string beans, and tomatoes. Large dairies sprang up, including one that would emerge as a brand name, Tuscan Farms. Growing flowers for market had been virtually unheard of, but by the 1890s, greenhouses were built in counties within wagon distance of the cities. Morris County became a center of rose culture, while Bergen and Passaic horticulturists raised potted plants and cut flowers. “Agribusinesses,” large-scale farming operations by corporations, also appeared in New Jersey. In South Jersey, Campbell Soup operated a vegetable farm and canning factory in Moorestown, and the 809-hectare (2,000-acre) Del-Bay farms in Bridgeton employed 700 workers (who stayed in 100 tenant houses) in peak season.
|I||The Progressive Era|
Political and economic reform came around 1900 with the national rise of the Progressive movement, dedicated to curbing abuses by governments and industry and to improving life for workers, immigrants, the poor, and other groups. Led in New Jersey by Mark Fagan, Everett Colby, and George L. Record, Progressives broke the power of the Democratic Party bosses, Robert Davis in Jersey City and James Smith, Jr., in Essex County, and paved the way for the election of Woodrow Wilson as governor in 1910. Wilson, who had been president of Princeton University, embarked on a program of reform aimed at regulating the big corporations and eliminating abuses by the political machines.
In his two years as governor, Wilson secured laws to regulate political campaigns and utility rates, to provide compensation for injured workers, and to require factory inspections, in order to restrict the illegal employment of women and children. He brought about direct primaries and new forms of election in cities and towns to loosen the hold of political bosses in both parties. Wilson was also responsible for the antitrust laws known as the Seven Sisters Acts, which were passed shortly after he became president of the United States in 1913.
|J||World War I and the 1920s|
The reform movement came to a halt as New Jersey mobilized for World War I (1914-1918). Refineries in Bayonne and Linden and ammunition plants in Kenvil, Kingsland, Morgan, Parlin, and Pompton Lakes were supplying the United Kingdom and France even before the United States entered the war. German submarine activity off the coast and explosions at the Kingsland and Black Tom munition dumps turned many New Jersey residents against Germany. Thousands of American soldiers sailed to Europe from Hoboken. Camp Merritt near Cresskill and Fort Dix near Wrightstown were built as troop centers. Picatinny Arsenal near Matawan was expanded, and Port Newark was developed. The war accentuated the growth of industry and the movement into urban areas. New Jersey manufacturers suffered a slight decline after the war, but generally production levels remained high.
The 1920s were a golden age for downtown cities, which were beginning to be eclipsed by suburban sprawl. New office towers, hotels, and neon-lit movie palaces graced Newark, Jersey, and Camden. Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague dominated Hudson County, controlling prosecutors and influencing the election of governors and United States senators. He approved huge construction projects like the Holland Tunnel, completed in 1927 to connect the city with New York City, and the Pulaski Skyway, opened in 1932 across the Passaic and Hackensack rivers.
But vehicle tunnels under the Hudson River and piers built by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey dispersed railroad and shipping volume, and with them waterfront jobs, away from Jersey City and Hoboken. The silk and worsted trades died off in Paterson and Passaic as women’s fashions changed and factory owners shifted to lower-wage sites in the South. Newark’s share of state employment dropped from one-quarter in 1909 to one-tenth by 1939, as factories moved to the cheaper suburbs.
In sharp contrast, the outlying sections of Bergen, Essex, Union, Mercer, and Camden counties underwent a suburban boom. Paterson and Passaic spilled over into Clifton, which grew by 30,000 in the 1920s. While Newark’s population approached its plateau, Irvington grew from 25,480 to 56,733, Nutley from 9421 to 20,572, and outlying Maplewood changed from a village of 5,283 to a commuting center of 21,738. As automobile registration spiraled, the legislature supplemented a modest $7 million highway bond issue in 1916 with $77 million authorized in the 1920s. In 1927 the state highway commission recommended major east-west motor arteries to funnel commuter traffic from the great bridges, the Benjamin Franklin, soon to span the Delaware River at Camden, and the George Washington being built over the Hudson River at Fort Lee. Public Service Electric and Gas, hurt by a 1923 trolley drivers’ strike, started to phase out its suburban electronic trolley fleet for diesel-powered buses.
|K||The Great Depression|
Like all other industrial areas in the country, New Jersey was hit hard by the Great Depression, the economic troubles of the 1930s. By 1931 municipalities could no longer collect property taxes; unemployed homeowners forced tax delinquencies to 28 percent in Newark and Camden and 30 percent in Paterson. The Red Cross distributed food in Elizabeth and New Brunswick, and barter systems developed in Paterson and in Newark’s Clinton Hill, allowing the unemployed to exchange service for food.
By the summer of 1933, federal relief programs, part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s economic strategy known as the New Deal, were sustaining 142,000 big-city residents—one of every ten. The New Deal’s Public Works Authority built the Margaret Hague Medical Center in Jersey City and Camden’s 515-unit Westfield Acres public housing project, and provided loans to construct the Lincoln Tunnel and to electrify the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Jersey Division. The federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) provided money for county roads, forest preserves, and writing programs. As late as 1936, 700,000 people were on the state’s relief rolls or working on New Deal projects.
The labor movement won a major victory in 1935, when the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), known as the Wagner Act, was passed. The law recognized workers’ rights to form unions and bargain collectively, but workers in many New Jersey industries had to strike to win recognition for their unions. After bitter strikes, the Union of Electrical Workers negotiated a contract for 12,000 RCA Victor workers in Camden, the United Automobile Workers of America won recognition as the bargaining agent at General Motors in Linden, and the Machinists Union became the bargaining agent at Wright Aeronautical in Paterson.
|L||World War II|
Experience arising from World War I helped New Jersey make a rapid transition from peacetime to wartime production during World War II (1939-1945). Again, New Jersey supplied chemicals, textiles, munitions, and other vital military materials. New Jersey shipyards turned out aircraft carriers, battleships, and heavy cruisers, and about one-fourth of the destroyers built for the U.S. Navy during the war. The Curtiss-Wright Company in Paterson built 139,000 aircraft engines from 1940 to 1945. The war was a stimulus to research and technology that were important in the postwar years. The Westinghouse Lamp Division in Bloomfield refined some of the earliest samples of enriched uranium for the Manhattan Project, the massive United States effort to produce the atomic bomb.
|M||Late 20th Century|
New Jersey’s transition to a peacetime economy was smooth, despite a population increase of 675,000 during the 1940s. Returning soldiers enrolled in colleges under the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, popularly known as the GI Bill of Rights. In 1945 Rutgers officially became the State University of New Jersey. Increasing numbers of applicants led many colleges to expand, and during the 1950s and 1960s voters approved several bond issues to finance better facilities for higher education.
One of the most important achievements of the postwar decade was the adoption on November 4, 1947 of the state’s third constitution, which modernized state government. The constitution enhanced the governor’s authority to appoint officials and veto legislation, making the office one of the most powerful among the states; replaced revenues dedicated to particular spending with a state general fund, and lengthened legislators’ terms, providing greater stability and continuity in government. The constitution pledged the state to maintain “a thorough and efficient system” of free public schools. Racial segregation was banned in the militia and schools, and discrimination was outlawed in civil and military activities. The legislature was prohibited from granting exclusive privileges to any corporation, and the right of collective bargaining was specifically guaranteed.
While urban areas continued to grow, many residents moved from the central cities to the rapidly expanding suburbs, particularly those outside Philadelphia and New York City. Highway construction boomed in the 1940s and early 1950s, creating toll roads such as the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike, which became the most heavily used highways in the Northeast. The Interstate Highway Act of 1956 financed a new generation of four- and six-lane freeways to replace narrow highways and open up land on the outskirts of Morris, Sussex, and Somerset counties. Mortgages financed through the Federal Housing Administration and the GI Bill of Rights pumped millions of dollars into tract housing, making possible such mass developments as the community of Willingboro, formerly known as Levittown, outside of Camden. Manufacturers seeking efficient, single-story plant layouts were drawn to industrial parks developed in towns like Teterboro and Rockleigh. Offices for white-collar workers were built in campus-like centers such as those developed by Prudential Insurance in Livingston and Prentice-Hall Publishing in Englewood Cliffs. Suburban shopping centers and enclosed malls followed, and the suburbs became virtual cities on their own.
New Jersey’s large cities, increasingly populated by blacks and Puerto Ricans, experienced all the symptoms of urban decay seen in other parts of the nation. As urban conditions worsened in the early 1950s, the state and federal governments intervened with programs of wholesale demolition and urban renewal to attract private businesses and jobs. In Newark efforts focused on Gateway Center, an office and hotel complex adjacent to the Pennsylvania Railroad Station. Provisions of the Federal Housing Act of 1949 cleared more acreage for public housing projects like Newark’s Columbus and Stella Wright Homes, which became high-rise ghettoes for minorities. Other projects included Jersey City’s Transportation Center, Newark’s campus complex for Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry. However, these steel and glass showplaces mainly employed suburban residents who drove to work and rarely walked around the city.
The redevelopments had little impact on black unemployment, which climbed above 10 percent in the early 1960s as factory jobs moved to the suburbs. In Camden, Trenton, and central Newark, black underemployment was probably more than 30 percent. Many youth turned to crime, and family life was disrupted. Inspired by the civil rights movement, black leaders rallied to the antipoverty programs of the 1960s to revive neighborhoods. They failed to halt decay, but new political leaders rose in the black community, notably state Senator Howard Woodson of Trenton and Kenneth Gibson of Newark, who became the city’s first black mayor in 1971. Frustration over decayed inner cities touched off riots by blacks in Newark, Jersey City, Plainfield, Englewood, and New Brunswick in 1967 and 1968, during which youths looted stores and set fires.
Legislative reapportionment became an important issue during the 1960s, after the 1964 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States mandating “one-person, one-vote” electoral systems. A state constitutional convention in 1966 provided for new senate and assembly districts and for an enlarged legislature. The Democratic-controlled legislature later redrew the districts for congressional elections, but Republicans objected. The state supreme court then approved a plan that ignored county borders, and the controversy continued for years.
Attempts to bring suburban resources to the aid of central cities caused bitter disputes. In 1975 in the Mount Laurel Township decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court rejected suburban zoning restrictions against low-rent multiple dwellings. The court ruled that suburban towns were obligated to house their “fair share” of the poor in metropolitan areas. The decision touched off two decades of legal challenges and evasions. The only suburbs that saw a substantial influx of blacks were the historically black sections of Englewood and the East Orange-Plainfield extensions of the poor black areas of Newark. Racial inequities were also the object of the court’s decision, in Robinson v. Cahill (1973), which declared that local property taxes were an inadequate base to support the constitution’s guarantee of a “thorough and efficient” public school system. Under pressure, the legislature in 1976 enacted a state income tax and school-aid formulas to close the gap in school spending between wealthy suburbs and poor inner cities.
The state was a social innovator but failed at tackling problems related to metropolitan areas. It established the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission in 1968, which built the stadium, arena and racetrack of the Meadowlands Sports Complex; small cities developed around the complex, which further threatened the commercial vitality of nearby large cities. The legislature adopted a state lottery in 1969, and in 1976 a voter referendum approved casino gambling for Atlantic City. The measure was portrayed as economic stimulus for the predominantly black resort town, but its impact on minority employment was questionable. However, it proved a model for other states interested in casino gambling as a way to provide jobs.
New Jersey adopted one of the country’s most stringent sets of environmental regulations, starting with the Coastal Area Facility Review Act of 1972. The law required state approval of housing, business, energy, and waste-disposal structures along coastal areas and beaches. The state spearheaded efforts at reclaiming wetlands, particularly the Pine Barrens in South Jersey, and in protecting seashores from polluters. Environmental efforts were supported by Republican Governor Thomas H. Kean (1982-1990) and his Democratic successor, James J. Florio (1990-1994), who as a congressman had sponsored federal “Superfund” legislation to clean up hazardous waste sites.
By the mid-1980s New Jersey had begun to run out of sites for the disposal of household garbage and other solid waste. Legislation enacted in 1987 required each county to limit or recycle most of its solid waste. To deal with nonrecyclable waste, the state began construction in 1988 of a waste-fueled electric power plant in Warren County.
In the 1980s, Kean launched an advertising campaign to promote the state to tourists and business. By the early 1990s, the state’s population growth had leveled off, and service industries dominated the economy. Florio, elected in 1989, served one controversial term. In response to the recession of the early 1990s, he implemented a sweeping tax- and education-reform package that aroused great anger and hurt the popularity of the Democratic Party throughout the state.
In the 1993 election Florio lost to Republican Christine Todd Whitman, who promised significant tax cuts. Whitman reduced personal income taxes during her first term but alienated conservative Republicans by opposing a state law banning without exception late-term abortions. She was reelected in 1997 by a very narrow margin. In 2001 Whitman resigned as governor after she was appointed to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by President George W. Bush. Donald DiFrancesco, the president of the New Jersey Senate, became acting governor.
In the 2001 election Democrat Jim McGreevey was elected governor. McGreevey announced his resignation in 2004, more than a year before his term was to expire, after revealing that he had a homosexual affair while he was married. In the 2005 gubernatorial election, one of New Jersey’s U.S. senators, Democrat Jon Corzine, was elected governor. Corzine named Congressman Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey’s Hudson County, to fill his Senate seat until his term expired. In the November 2006 midterm elections Menendez was elected to a six-year term. In December 2006 Corzine signed legislation making New Jersey the third state in the country to permit same-sex civil unions (see Gay Rights Movement in the United States).
In December 2007 Corzine signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in New Jersey. Corzine also commuted the sentences of death row prisoners to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. New Jersey became the first state since 1965 to abolish the death penalty. See also Capital Punishment.
The history section was contributed by Joel Schwartz. The remainder of the article was contributed by Charles A. Stansfield, Jr.