New Jersey Political History

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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Life and politics in New Jersey are strongly influenced by the state's location, people, environment, and history. Its location in close proximity to the major metropolises of Philadelphia and New York city strongly affects the state's decisions in policy making. The oceanfront location provides for unique opportunities and problems for people to consider. The state's policy of legalized gambling, centered in Atlantic city, also creates revenue, as well as major headaches for the citizens. The strong history of local dominated politics - reinforced by the first two constitutions of the state, and continuing on for the first two decades of the third, contributed to the sharp contrast between the rural southern part of the state - which had a stranglehold on the state political system - and the decaying, industrial northern half.

Before probing into New Jerseys sordid past, it is worth noting that currently it is on a much more positive economic and political (and recently environmental) track.

Although corruption is certainly in its past, innovation is also very important in New Jersey's past, centered in Menlo park, where Thomas Edison invented many of the devices that revolutionized technology. In addition to the non-glamorous manufacturing industry that anchors Jersey's major cities, research, transportation, and even agriculture play major roles in its economy. The state is home to such important firms as Prudential Life Insurance, Allied chemical, Johnson and Johnson, Warner-Lambert, Nabisco, Campbell's, Lipton, and CPC International, just to name a few. On a recent visit to New Jersey, it was amazing to see all of the major pharmaceutical firms lined up along highway 1 from New York to Philadelphia.

        Even in the most densely populated state in the country, agriculture still plays a very important role in its economy. Driving through New Jersey, it is impossible not to notice...