Election 2008


The Primary States: New Hampshire

January 14, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
New Hampshire’s state motto is famous: “Live free or die.” Residents of America’s 44th most populous state (and host to the nation’s first statewide primary elections) are proponents of living free, unfettered (with no sales or state income tax), and self-sufficient in their New England state full of rivers, mountains, small towns and colonial cities.

Politics, Primarily

America’s first colonial state takes a turn in the national spotlight every four years when it becomes the first state to hold presidential primary elections. This process helps solidify the nominees for Republican and Democratic candidates, and sets the tone (and often accurately predicts the winner) for this crucial election. New Hampshire has had to protect its advantage during election years as other states have vied for the first primary slot by scheduling earlier elections. New Hampshire, however, has kept ahead of  these attempts and retains its position in the primaries, just as it’s done since 1916. The Concord-based New Hampshire Historical society has online documents that chart its political history.

In the southern part of this steadfastly libertarian/Republican state, times—and populations—are changing. The steadfastly libertarian/Republican state has experienced recent growth and seen new immigrants trickle into its southern towns and cities, where foreign workers make up approximately five percent of the population. The scenic northern part of the state, with it small villages and covered bridges, has retained its traditional politics but endured a decline in traditional economies. Influences both political and economic have crossed the border from neighboring Massachusetts: liberal politics and growth industries such as high-tech and finance.

World’s Worst Weather?

Geologically rich New Hampshire is bounded by Maine, Massachusetts,  and Vermont, as well as Quebec, Canada. Its middle section is vastly mountainous (and appropriately known as the Presidential Range) – and includes the state’s tallest peak and hiker’s challenge, Mount Washington. In these mountains, hurricane-force winds are common; thus New Hampshire boasts of having the world’s worst weather. In the middle of the storm, literally, is the Mount Washington Observatory. Cats keep the observers company during long posts, and are a well-loved part of observatory life in the White Mountains.

Natural Wonders

The Old Man of the Mountain, New Hampshire’s famed geological site and a well-known state symbol found etched on coins and stamps, collapsed in May 2003. The granite ledge in Franconia Notch State Park had resembled the face of an old man, and became a favorite tourist stop. Fortunately, there are many other outdoor wonders in New Hampshire for visitors to discover. Favorite spots include waterfalls from the state’s countless rivers and tributaries, the largest of which help define the natural geographic boundaries of the state.

Midnight ride

Although Concord is the capital and Manchester the largest city, Portsmouth is the city that arguably contains the greatest link to American revolutionary history. It’s in this city—along the state’s 18-mile coastline, the shortest stretch of sea claimed by any U.S. state—that Paul Revere rode through on his way to Lexington in 1775, warning of the impending British invasion. A virtual tour of Portsmouth, once the nation’s busiest port, is available in a photographic harbor trail tour.

Arts Scene

In bustling Manchester, an arts lover’s delight is the Currier Museum, which displays both European and American works. The collections (currently closed for renovations) are housed in an Italian style palazzo, with paintings, sculpture, furniture, glass, and textiles. European art includes works by Monet, Picasso, and Rouault. The nearby Frank Lloyd Wright 1950 home, the Zimmerman House, is also owned by the museum. Currier’s most geographically specific collection is found in the New Hampshire Arts and Artists section. Furniture and paintings are viewable in this beautifully photographed, online collection, including works from furniture master and New Hampshirean, Jere Osgood.

Whatever Floats

But it’s not all art and politics in New Hampshire. Residents of Goffstown annually lug their half-ton (yes, they grow ‘em nearly 900 pounds) pre-Halloween pumpkins down idyllic Main Street to the Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off.  Once the blue ribbons are pinned, what to do with all that Cucurbita maxima? Goffstownsians hollow out the squash, rig an outboard, and duke it out on the Piscataquog River’s man-made obstacle course. Tipping over mid-course is half the fun.

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