Historical Documents of the Legislative Branch

An Historical Look at the North Carolina General Statutes

From 1777 to 1820, the General Assembly retained their Journals and Legislative Acts, also known as Session Laws. In 1820, the General Assembly began to compile all of their Legislative Acts into a set of "General Statutes," and these were updated approximately every twenty years or so.

A set of "General Statutes" is a compilation of all the Public Laws currently in force and arranged by subject matter. As the laws change over time - some are repealed, some are greatly modified - it is understandable that the "General Statutes" as compiled are no longer very helpful. Therefore, they are updated and many items are deleted and the remainder are usually renumbered quite differently than before.

As more sets of the "General Statues" are found, they will be added here.

NC State Library's "A Beginner's Guide to Legislative History" - November 9, 2011


William H. Battle
The first rework of the North Carolina General Statutes after the American Civil War was performed by William H. Battle in 1872-1873. For many years after this significant update to the North Carolina General Statutes, the titles and content of many Legislative Acts included reference to "Battle's Revisal," citing chapter and section, with little other explanations provided within the text of the Act except for what had changed.

Battle's Revisal of the Public Statutes of North Carolina Adopted by the General Assembly at the Session of 1872-'73


William T. Dortch


John Manning, Jr.


John S. Henderson
On March 1, 1881, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act appointing William T. Dortch, John Manning, Jr., and John S. Henderson as a three-man commission to collate, digest and revise all the public statute laws of this state now in force and those approved in this session. This effort was completed and ratified on March 2, 1883.

 The Code of North Carolina Enacted March 2, 1883 - Volume I

The Code of North Carolina Enacted March 2, 1883 - Volume II
The link directly below takes you to the North Carolina General Assembly's webpage that provides an index and link to each of the current General Statutes.

Current North Carolina General Statutes


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