North Carolina's first constitution was adopted in 1776. Its present constitution dates from 1868 but was thoroughly revised in 1875–76 as a result of Reconstruction experiences; it has been amended many times since. The state's executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a four-year term. North Carolina's general assembly has a senate with 50 members and a house with 120 members, all elected for two-year terms. The state elects 2 senators and 13 representatives to the U.S. Congress and has 15 electoral votes. James B. Hunt, Jr., a Democrat, was elected governor in 1992 and reelected in 1996. In 2000, Democrat Mike Easley won the governorship; he was reelected in 2004. Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat, won in the post in 2008, becoming the state's first woman governor, but in 2012 Republican Pat McCrory was elected governor.
The state's notable institutions of higher learning include the Univ. of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill and four other campuses; Duke Univ., at Durham; North Carolina State Univ., at Raleigh; Wake Forest Univ. and the North Carolina School of the Arts, at Winston-Salem; East Carolina Univ., at Greenville; North Carolina Agricultural and Technical Univ., at Greensboro; and Appalachian State Univ., at Boone.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.