Exploration of New Hampshire began in earnest soon after 1600, with both French and English expeditions visiting the area. In 1622, the Council for New England granted two men, John Mason and Ferdinando Gorges, a large tract of landing covering present-day Maine as well as New Hampshire. The land was divided between them, with Mason getting the western section. He named it New Hampshire, after the county in England where he was born. In 1641, New Hampshire was made part of Massachusetts, but King Charles II restored the colony`s independence in 1680. Roger`s Rangers gained fame defending New Hampshire during the French and Indian Wars. In 1774, a band of New Hampshire citizens seized military supplies from a British fort, marking one of the first armed actions by colonists. Although many New Hampshirites fought for independence, New Hampshire did not experience any actual conflict on its soil. Oliver Ellsworth wrote an open letter to the people of New Hampshire in March of 1788. At that time, only six of the necessary nine states had ratified the constitution, and Ellsworth explained to his fellow citizens the advantages of the constitution, and why they should be willing to make some concessions:
Those who wish to enjoy the blessings of society must be willing to suffer some restraint of personal liberty, and devote some part of their property to the public that the remainder may be secured and protected. The cheapest form of government is not always best; for parsimony though it spends little, generally gains nothing. Neither is that the best government which imposes the least restraint on its subjects; for the benefit of having others restrained, may be greater than the disadvantage of being restrained ourselves. That is the best form of government which returns the greatest number of advantages in proportion to the disadvantages with which it is attended. Measured by this rule, the state of New-Hampshire cannot expect a Constitution preferable to that now proposed for the union: In point of defence it gives you the force of the whole empire, so arranged as to act speedily and in concert, which is an article of greatest importance to the frontier states.Following the war, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution in 1788. New Hampshire was solidly behind the Union cause during the Civil War. The war brought increased activity at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where ships were built to 1451:blockade] the Confederacy. Following the war, manufacturing grew. Many French-Canadians and European immigrants arrived to fill the factory jobs while farmers went out west to claim better land to grow their crops. New Hampshire was the last state to remove the restriction on voting rights that limited the franchise to Christians.