The origins of the War of Regulation stem from a dramatic population increase in North and
At the same time, the local inland agricultural community suffered from a deep economic depression, due to severe droughts throughout the previous decade. The loss of crops cost farmers not only their direct food source, but also their primary means of an income, which led many to rely on the goods being brought by newly arrived merchants. As income was cut off, the local planters often fell into debt. The merchants, in turn, relied on lawyers and the court to settle disputes. Debts were not uncommon at the time, but from 1755 to 1765, the cases brought to the docket increased nearly sixteen-fold, from seven annually to 111 in
Such court cases could often lead to planters losing their homes and property, so they grew to resent the presence of the newcomers. The shift in population and politics eventually led to an imbalance within the colony's courthouses, where the newly arrived and well-educated lawyers used their superior knowledge of the law to their sometimes unjust advantage. A small clique of wealthy officials formed and became an exclusive inner circle in charge of the legal affairs of the area. The group was seen as a 'courthouse ring', or a small bunch of officials who grabbed most of the political power for themselves.
In 1764, several thousand people from
The effort to eliminate this system of government became known as the Regulator uprising, War of the Regulation, or the Regulator War. The most heavily affected areas were said to be those of Rowan, Anson,
The stated primary aim of the Regulators was to form an honest government and reduce taxation. The wealthy businessmen/politicians who ruled
The War of the Regulation is considered a catalyst to the American Revolutionary War, and it was waged against corrupt officials representing king and crown. Intriguingly, many anti-Regulators eventually became Patriots during the American Revolution, such as William Hooper and Francis Nash; while many Regulators paradoxically became Loyalists.