Area, 42,244 sq mi (109,412 sq km). Pop. (2000) 5,689,283, a 16.7% increase since the 1990 census. Capital, Nashville. Largest city, Memphis. Statehood, June 1, 1796 (16th state). Highest pt., Clingmans Dome, 6,643 ft (2,026 m); lowest pt., Mississippi River, 182 ft (56 m). Nickname, Volunteer State. Motto, Agriculture and Commerce. State bird, mockingbird. State flower, iris. State tree, tulip poplar. Abbr., Tenn.; TN
The state has three sharply defined regions: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. In East Tennessee the Great Smoky Mts., Cumberland Plateau, and the narrow river valleys and heavily forested foothills generally restrict farming there to the subsistence level; but this region has two of the state's most industrialized cities, Chattanooga (fourth largest) and Knoxville (third largest). Middle Tennessee is hemmed in by the Tennessee River, which flows SW through East Tennessee into Alabama, looping back up into West Tennessee in its circuitous route to the Ohio. Gently rolling, fertile, bluegrass country, it is ideal for livestock raising and dairy farming. Middle Tennessee is still noted for its fine horses and mules, e.g., the Tennessee walking horse.
West Tennessee, with its rich river-bottom lands, on which most of the state's cotton is grown, lies between the Tennessee and the Mississippi rivers. The average annual rainfall ranges from 40 to 50 in. (101.6-127 cm), and the climate ranges from humid continental in the north of the state to humid subtropical in the south; the rigors of a northern winter usually affect only the most mountainous parts of East Tennessee.
Twenty-three state parks, covering some 132,000 acres (53,420 hectares) as well as parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park are in Tennessee. Sportsmen and visitors are attracted to Reelfoot Lake, originally formed by an earthquake; stumps and other remains of a once dense forest, together with the lotus bed covering the shallow waters, give the lake an eerie beauty.
The state also has many sites of historic interest, including the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson; the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site; Shiloh National Military Park; and Fort Donelson and Stones River national battlefields. Part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is also in Tennessee (see National Parks and Monuments, table). The Natchez Trace National Parkway generally follows the old Natchez Trace. Nashville is the capital and the second largest city. The largest city is Memphis.
Although Tennessee is now primarily industrial, with most of its people residing in urban areas, many Tennesseans still derive their livelihood from the land. The state's leading crops are cotton, soybeans, and tobacco; cattle, dairy products, and hogs are also principal farm commodities. Tennessee's leading mineral, in dollar value, is stone; zinc ranks second (Tennessee leads the nation in its production). Industry is being continually diversified; the state's leading manufactures are chemicals and related products, foods, electrical machinery, primary metals, automobiles, textiles and apparel, and stone, clay, and glass items. Aluminum production has been important since World War I.
Tennessee has long been a major tourist destination, owing largely to its beautiful scenery. Many lakes were built here by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Army Corps of Engineers. The TVA also developed the Land Between the Lakes, an enormous Kentucky-Tennessee recreation area. Visitors are also drawn by Tennessee's famed music capitals, the country-music mecca of Nashville and the blues and jazz hub of Memphis.
Tennessee has had three constitutions, drafted in 1796, 1834, and the present one in 1870. Its executive branch is headed by a governor, elected for a four-year term. The state's legislature has a senate with 33 members and a house with 99. The state elects 2 senators and 9 representatives to the U.S. Congress and has 11 electoral votes.
Democrats dominated Tennessee politics from the Civil War onward, but their power has declined in recent years. Republican Don Sundquist, elected governor in 1994, was reelected in 1998. In 2002 a Democrat, Phil Bredesen, was elected to the office; he was reelected in 2006.
Among the state's many institutions of higher learning are the Univ. of Tennessee, chiefly at Knoxville; East Tennessee State Univ., at Johnson City; Fisk Univ. and Vanderbilt Univ., at Nashville; Tennessee Technological Univ., at Cookeville; Univ. of Memphis, at Memphis; and the Univ. of the South, at Sewanee.
W Tennessee abounds with artifacts of the prehistoric Mound Builders, who were the earliest inhabitants of the area. Cherokee, Chickasaw, Shawnee, and Creek were in the region when it was first visited by a European expedition under De Soto in 1540. French explorers came down the Mississippi River, claiming both sides for France, and c.1682 La Salle built Fort Prudhomme, possibly on the site of present-day Memphis. The French established additional trading posts in the area, but they suffered continual harassment from the Chickasaw. Meanwhile, English fur traders and long hunters (frontiersmen who spent long periods hunting in this area) came over the mountains from the Carolinas and Virginia, prevailed over the Cherokee, and made ineffectual the French claims to the area, which in any event was lost (1763) by the French in the French and Indian Wars.
The first permanent settlement was made (1769) in the Watauga River valley of E Tennessee by Virginians; they were soon joined by North Carolinians, including perhaps a few refugees of the Regulator movement. In 1772 these hardy settlers living beyond the frontier formed the Watauga Association, the first attempt at government in Tennessee, and in 1777, at their request, North Carolina organized those settlements into Washington co.; Jonesboro, the county seat and oldest town in Tennessee, was founded two years later.The American Revolution and Statehood
In the American Revolution, John Sevier was among the notable Tennesseans who served with distinction. When, after the war, North Carolina ceded its western lands to the federal government, the E Tennessee settlers, incensed at being transferred without their consent, formed a short-lived independent government (1784-88) under Sevier (see Franklin, State of). The cession was reenacted in 1789, and in 1790 the federal government created the Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio (Southwest Territory), with William Blount as governor. This act disposed of various schemes to place the area under the control of Spanish Louisiana. In 1796 Tennessee, with substantially its present boundaries, was admitted to the Union as a slave state, with its capital at Knoxville. It was the first state to be carved out of national territory.
Tennessee's constitution, which provided for universal male suffrage (that is, including free blacks), was described by Thomas Jefferson as "the least imperfect and most republican" of any state. Armed with land grants awarded for service in the American Revolution, veterans and speculators (who had acquired the grants from veterans, sometimes fraudulently) swarmed in from the Carolinas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and even from New England via such overland routes as the Wilderness Road and Cumberland Gap. Others poled keelboats from the Ohio up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers.The Early Nineteenth Century
For the most part a rough and ready people, numbering over 100,000 by 1800, the settlers of Tennessee were nevertheless strongly influenced by the Great Revival, a wave of religious hysteria that swept the state that year. The virtues and vices of their strongly egalitarian society were exemplified by Andrew Jackson, who was prominent in the faction-ridden politics of Tennessee. By 1829 when Jackson became president, the state was prospering. The first steamboat had reached Nashville in 1819, the year in which Memphis, soon to become the metropolis of a fast-growing cotton kingdom, was platted.
Internal improvement projects—canals and then railroads—were pushed, and a new, smaller wave of immigrants (predominantly Irish and German) arrived after the Cherokee and the Chickasaw were banished West in the late 1830s. Insatiable land hunger, the spirit of adventure, and personal considerations carried many white Tennesseans beyond the state; among them were Gov. Samuel Houston and David Crockett, both of whom had been conspicuous in the fight for Texan independence. A decade later the response of Tennessee to the request for volunteers to fight in the Mexican War was so overwhelming that it has since been known as the Volunteer State. Tennessee's James K. Polk, a Jackson protégé, was the President of the United States during that war.The Civil War and Reconstruction
Although slaves were numerous in W Tennessee, and to a lesser extent in Middle Tennessee, and free blacks were subjected to a series of discriminatory regulations, the state was pro-Union; it voted in the presidential election of 1860 for its own John Bell, candidate of the moderate Constitutional Union party. Secession was rejected in a popular referendum on Feb. 9, 1861. However, after the firing on Fort Sumter and Lincoln's call for troops, the pro-Confederate element, led by Gov. Isham G. Harris, canvassed the state, and on June 8, 1861, a second referendum approved secession by a two-thirds majority. The one third opposed represented mainly E Tennessee, where slavery was a negligible factor and where Andrew Johnson (then U.S. Senator) and William G. Brownlow had strengthened the natural Union loyalties of the people.
In the Civil War Tennessee was, after Virginia, the biggest and bloodiest battleground. The rivers served as Union invasion routes. Nashville was occupied by Gen. D. C. Buell in Feb., 1862, after the victories of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on the lower Tennessee and Cumberland rivers (see Fort Henry and Fort Donelson). In April one of the bloodiest battles of the war was fought near the Mississippi state line (see Shiloh, battle of), and Memphis fell to a Union fleet in June. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, defeated at Perryville, Ky. in Oct., 1862, retreated further in Jan., 1863, after the battle of Murfreesboro, and Grant, successful in the Vicksburg campaign, completely routed him (Nov., 1863) in the Chattanooga campaign.
The Confederates did manage to hold on to Knoxville until Sept., 1863, and their cavalry, particularly the forces of Gen. N. B. Forrest and Gen. J. H. Morgan, remained active. An army under Gen. J. B. Hood made a last desperate attempt to regain the state late in 1864 but was defeated at Franklin (Nov. 30) and annihilated at Nashville (Dec. 15-16) by federal troops under G. H. Thomas. The Union military government that had been set up under Andrew Johnson in 1862 was succeeded in Apr., 1865, by a civil government headed by Brownlow. An amendment to the state constitution of 1834 freed the slaves, and, with ex-Confederates disfranchised and radical Republicans in control, the state was readmitted to the Union in Mar., 1866.
As the first Confederate state to be readmitted, Tennessee was spared the worst aspects of Congressional Reconstruction, but the postwar years were nonetheless bitter. The organization formed largely to reestablish "white supremacy" in the South, the Ku Klux Klan, was founded (1866) in Tennessee, at Pulaski. The situation improved after Brownlow left (1869) the governorship for the U.S. Senate, to which the state also returned (1875) Andrew Johnson in vindication of his record as Lincoln's successor in the presidency. Brownlow's successor, Gov. De Witt C. Senter, although nominally a Republican, encouraged the calling of a new state constitutional convention. In 1870 the delegates drew up a constitution that rejected the reforms of the radical Republicans; African-American suffrage was limited by means of the poll tax and former Confederates were reenfranchised.Industrialization, Prohibition, and the Scopes Trial
Economically, the farm-tenancy system, which had replaced the plantation system, brought much misery; industry, however, made advances after the Civil War. The iron- and steelworks of E Tennessee were unable to meet the competition of Birmingham, Ala., but coal mining continued and textile production increased. The use of convict labor in the mines precipitated the state's first major labor disturbance (1891-92), but not until 1936 was the convict-leasing system abolished.
A statewide Prohibition bill (not repealed until 1939) was passed over a governor's veto in 1909, and this question so divided the Democratic party that in 1910 a Republican was elected governor for the first time since 1880. In World War I the thousands of Tennessean volunteers in the U.S. armed forces included Sgt. Alvin C. York, who became one of the nation's most highly publicized heroes. In 1925 the state attracted international attention with the famous Scopes trial at Dayton. The fact that the state law banning the teaching of evolution was not repealed until 1967 is indicative of the strong role that Protestant fundamentalism played in the lives of many Tennesseans. Its further influence was reflected in the passing of a 1973 bill prohibiting the teaching of evolution as a fact rather than a theory.The TVA and an Expanded Economy
One of the most important events in Tennessee since the Civil War was the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1933. Although opposed by private power companies, the TVA succeeded in providing hydroelectric power cheaply and in abundance, bringing modern comforts to thousands. Over the years its programs expanded and were supplemented by other projects for water-resources development. Most important, the TVA was chiefly responsible for the basic change in the state's economy from agriculture to industry and for the significant growth and diversification of industry, especially during and after World War II. The TVA also came to be associated with atomic energy, for it provides the power for Oak Ridge, one of the sources of production of the constituents for the first atomic bombs.
Since the late 1970s there has been significant growth in the service, trade, and finance sectors of the state economy and Tennessee has been very aggressive in attracting new industry. Many of the firms that have been setting up new factories and distribution centers in Tennessee come from America's northern industrial states and from Japan.
See S. J. Folmsbee et al., History of Tennessee (1961, repr. 1969); J. Clark, Tennessee Hill Folk (1972); Federal Writers' Project, Tennessee: A Guide to the State (1939, repr. 1972); R. E. Corlew, Tennessee: A Short History (2d ed. 1981); J. Cimprich, Slavery's End in Tennessee, Eighteen Sixty-One to Eighteen Sixty-Five (1985); R. E. Corlew, Tennessee: The Volunteer State: An Illustrated History (1989).
An eloquently symbolic poet of the theater, Williams is noted for his scenes of high dramatic tension and for his brilliant, often lyrical dialogue. Williams is perhaps most successful in his portraits of the hypersensitive and lonely Southern woman, such as Blanche in Streetcar, clutching at life, particularly at her memories of a grand past that no longer exists. His later plays, which never quite achieve the poignant immediacy of his first two successes, include Summer and Smoke (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1950), Camino Real (1953), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955; Pulitzer Prize), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), Period of Adjustment (1959), Night of the Iguana (1961), The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Any More (1963), The Seven Descents of Myrtle (1968), In the Bar of the Tokyo Hotel (1969), and Small Craft Warnings (1972).
A number of Williams's one-act plays were collected in 27 Wagons Full of Cotton (1946) and The American Blues (1948). He also wrote four collections of short fiction: One Arm and Other Stories (1948), Hard Candy (1954), The Knightly Quest (1969), and Eight Mortal Ladies Possessed (1974); a novel, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1950); two volumes of verse, In the Winter of Cities (1956) and Androgyne, Mon Amour (1977); and a number of film scripts, including one, Baby Doll (1956), based on two of his short plays.
See his Memoirs (1974, repr. 2006) and Notebooks (2007), ed. by M. B. Thornton; D. Windham, ed., Tennessee Williams's Letters to Donald Windham, 1940-1965 (1976) and A. J. Devlin and N. M. Tischler, ed., The Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams (2 vol., 2000-2004); A. J. Devlin, ed., Conversations with Tennessee Williams (1986); D. Spoto, The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams (1985, repr. 1997), D. Windham, As If: A Personal View of Tennessee Williams (1985), R. Boxill, Tennessee Williams (1987), R. Hayman, Tennessee Williams: Everyone Else Is an Audience (1993), and L. Leverich, Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams (1995); critical studies by S. L. Falk (1962), F. Donahue (1964), E. M. Jackson (1965), I. Rogers (1976), J. Tharpe, ed. (1977), H. Rasky (1986), G. W. Crandell, ed. (1996), R. A. Martin, ed. (1997), O, C. Kolin, ed. (2002), R. F. Voss, ed. (2002), M. Paller (2005), and H. Bloom, ed. (rev. ed. 2007).
The state of Tennessee is geographically and constitutionally divided into three Grand Divisions: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. Tennessee features six principal physiographic regions: the Blue Ridge, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region, the Cumberland Plateau, the Highland Rim, the Nashville Basin, and the Gulf Coastal Plain. Tennessee is home to the most caves in the United States, with over 8,350 caves registered to date.
The Blue Ridge area lies on the eastern edge of Tennessee, bordering North Carolina. This region of Tennessee is characterized by high mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountains, Chilhowee Mountain, the Unicoi Range, and the Iron Mountains range. The average elevation of the Blue Ridge area is 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level. Clingman's Dome is located in this region.
Stretching west from the Blue Ridge for approximately 55 miles (88 km) is the Ridge and Valley region, in which numerous tributaries join to form the Tennessee River in the Tennessee Valley. This area of Tennessee is covered by fertile valleys separated by wooded ridges, such as Bays Mountain and Clinch Mountain. The western section of the Tennessee valley, where the depressions become broader and the ridges become lower, is called the Great Valley. In this valley are numerous towns and the region's two urban areas, Knoxville, the 3rd largest city in the state, and Chattanooga, the 4th largest city in the state.
To the west of East Tennessee lies the Cumberland Plateau; this area is covered with flat-topped mountains separated by sharp valleys. The elevation of the Cumberland Plateau ranges from 1,500 to 1,800 feet (450 to 550 m) above sea level. West of the Cumberland Plateau is the Highland Rim, an elevated plain that surrounds the Nashville Basin. The northern section of the Highland Rim, known for its high tobacco production, is sometimes called the Pennyroyal Plateau and is located in primarily in Southwestern Kentucky. The Nashville Basin is characterized by rich, fertile farm country and high natural wildlife diversity.
Middle Tennessee was a common destination of settlers crossing the Appalachians in the late 1700s and early 1800s. An important trading route called the Natchez Trace, first used by Native Americans, connected Middle Tennessee to the lower Mississippi River town of Natchez. Today the route of the Natchez Trace is a scenic highway called the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Many biologists study the area's salamander species because the diversity is greater there than anywhere else in the U.S. This is thought to be because of the clean Appalachian foothill springs that abound in the area. Some of the last remaining large American Chestnut trees still grow in this region and are being used to help breed blight resistant trees.
West of the Highland Rim and Nashville Basin is the Gulf Coastal Plain, which includes the Mississippi embayment. The Gulf Coastal Plain is, in terms of area, the predominant land region in Tennessee. It is part of the large geographic land area that begins at the Gulf of Mexico and extends north into southern Illinois. In Tennessee, the Gulf Coastal Plain is divided into three sections that extend from the Tennessee River in the east to the Mississippi River in the west. The easternmost section, about 10 miles (16 km) in width, consists of hilly land that runs along the western bank of the Tennessee River. To the west of this narrow strip of land is a wide area of rolling hills and streams that stretches all the way to Memphis; this area is called the Tennessee Bottoms or bottom land. In Memphis, the Tennessee Bottoms end in steep bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. To the west of the Tennessee Bottoms is the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, less than 300 feet (90 m) above sea level. This area of lowlands, flood plains, and swamp land is sometimes referred to as the Delta region.
Most of West Tennessee remained Indian land until the Chickasaw Cession of 1818, when the Chickasaw ceded their land between the Tennessee River and the Mississippi River. The portion of the Chickasaw Cession that lies in Kentucky is known today as the Jackson Purchase.
Fifty-four state parks, covering some 132,000 acres (534 km²) as well as parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest, and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park are in Tennessee. Sportsmen and visitors are attracted to Reelfoot Lake, originally formed by an earthquake; stumps and other remains of a once dense forest, together with the lotus bed covering the shallow waters, give the lake an eerie beauty.
See also: List of Tennessee state parks
Summers in the state are generally hot, with most of the state averaging a high of around 90 °F (32 °C) during the summer months. Summer nights tend to be cooler in East Tennessee. Winters tend to be mild to cool, increasing in coolness at higher elevations and in the east. Generally, for areas outside the highest mountains, the average overnight lows are near freezing for most of the state.
While the state is far enough from the coast to avoid any direct impact from a hurricane, the location of the state makes it likely to be impacted from the remnants of tropical cyclones which weaken over land and can cause significant rainfall. The state averages around 50 days of thunderstorms per year, some of which can be quite severe. Tornadoes are possible throughout the state, with West Tennessee slightly more vulnerable. On average, the state has 15 tornadoes per year. Tornadoes in Tennessee can be severe, and Tennessee leads the nation in the percentage of total tornadoes which have fatalities. Winter storms are an occasional problem—made worse by a lack of snow removal equipment and a population which might not be accustomed or equipped to travel in snow—although ice storms are a more likely occurrence. Fog is a persistent problem in parts of the state, especially in much of the Smoky Mountains.
|Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Tennessee Cities (F) strstrst|
The area now known as Tennessee was first inhabited by Paleo-Indians nearly 12,000 years ago. The names of the cultural groups that inhabited the area between first settlement and the time of European contact are unknown, but several distinct cultural phases have been named by archaeologists, including Archaic (8000-1000 B.C.), Woodland (1000 B.C. - 1000 A.D.), and Mississippian (1000-1600 A.D.), whose chiefdoms were the cultural predecessors of the Muscogee people who inhabited the Tennessee River Valley prior to Cherokee migration into the river's headwaters.
When Spanish explorers first visited the area, led by Hernando de Soto in 1539–43, it was inhabited by tribes of Muscogee and Yuchi people. Possibly because of European diseases devastating the Native tribes, which would have left a population vacuum, and also from expanding European settlement in the north, the Cherokee moved south from the area now called Virginia. As European colonists spread into the area, the native populations were forcibly displaced to the south and west, including all Muscogee and Yuchi peoples, the Chickasaw, and Choctaw.
The first British settlement in what is now Tennessee was Fort Loudoun, near present- day Vonore, Tennessee. Fort Loudoun became the westernmost British outpost to that date. The fort was designed by John William Gerard de Brahm and constructed by forces under British Captain Raymond Demeré. After its completion, Captain Raymond Demeré relinquished command on 14 August 1757 to his brother, Captain Paul Demeré. Hostilities erupted between the British and the neighboring Overhill Cherokees, and a siege of Fort Loudoun ended with its surrender on 7 August 1760. The following morning, Captain Paul Demeré and many of his men were killed in an engagement nearby.
Early during the American Revolutionary War, Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals (in present day Elizabethton) was attacked in 1776 by Dragging Canoe and his warring faction of Cherokee (also referred to by settlers as the Chickamauga) opposed to the Transylvania Purchase and aligned with the British Loyalists. The lives of many settlers were spared through the warnings of Dragging Canoe's cousin Nancy Ward. The frontier fort on the banks of the Watauga River later served as a 1780 staging area for the Overmountain Men in preparation to trek over the Appalachian Mountains, to engage, and to later defeat the British Army at the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.
Eight counties of western North Carolina (and now part of Tennessee) broke off from that state in the late 1780s and formed the abortive State of Franklin. Efforts to obtain admission to the Union failed, and the counties had re-joined North Carolina by 1790. North Carolina ceded the area to the federal government in 1790, after which it was organized into the Southwest Territory. In an effort to encourage settlers to move west into the new territory of Tennessee, in 1787 the mother state of North Carolina ordered a road to be cut to take settlers into the Cumberland Settlements—from the south end of Clinch Mountain (in East Tennessee) to French Lick (Nashville). The Trace was called the “North Carolina Road” or “Avery’s Trace,” and sometimes “The Wilderness Road.” It should not be confused with Daniel Boone's road through Cumberland Gap.
During the administration of U.S. President Martin Van Buren, nearly 17,000 Cherokees were uprooted from their homes between 1838 and 1839 and were forced by the U.S. military to march from "emigration depots" in Eastern Tennessee (such as Fort Cass) toward the more distant Indian Territory west of Arkansas. During this relocation an estimated 4,000 Cherokees died along the way west. In the Cherokee language, the event is called Nunna daul Isunyi—"the Trail Where We Cried." The Cherokees were not the only Native Americans forced to emigrate as a result of the Indian removal efforts of the United States, and so the phrase "Trail of Tears" is sometimes used to refer to similar events endured by other Native American peoples, especially among the "Five Civilized Tribes." The phrase originated as a description of the earlier emigration of the Choctaw nation.
Confederates held East Tennessee despite the strength of Unionist sentiment there, with the exception of extremely pro-Confederate Sullivan County. The Confederates besieged Chattanooga in early fall 1863, but were driven off by Grant in November. Many of the Confederate defeats can be attributed to the poor strategic vision of General Braxton Bragg, who led the Army of Tennessee from Perryville, Kentucky to Confederate defeat at Chattanooga.
The last major battles came when the Confederates invaded Middle Tennessee in November 1864 and were checked at Franklin, then totally destroyed by George Thomas at Nashville in December. Meanwhile the civilian Andrew Johnson was appointed military governor of the state by President Abraham Lincoln.
When the Emancipation Proclamation was announced, Tennessee was mostly held by Union forces. Thus, Tennessee was not among the states enumerated in the Proclamation, and the Proclamation did not free any slaves there. Nonetheless, enslaved African Americans escaped to Union lines to gain freedom without waiting for official action. Old and young, men, women and children camped near Union troops. Thousands of former slaves ended up fighting on the Union side, nearly 200,000 in total across the South.
Tennessee's legislature approved an amendment to the state constitution prohibiting slavery on February 22, 1865. Voters in the state approved the amendment in March. It also ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (abolishing slavery in every state) on April 7, 1865.
In 1864, Andrew Johnson (a War Democrat from Tennessee) was elected Vice President under Abraham Lincoln. He became President after Lincoln's assassination in 1865. Under Johnson's lenient re-admission policy, Tennessee was the first of the seceding states to have its elected members readmitted to the U.S. Congress, on July 24, 1866. Because Tennessee had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, it was the only one of the formerly seceded states that did not have a military governor during the Reconstruction period.
After the formal end of Reconstruction, the struggle over power in Southern society continued. Through violence and intimidation against freedmen and their allies, white Democrats regained political power in Tennessee and other states across the South in the late 1870s and 1880s. Over the next decade, the white-dominated state legislature passed increasingly restrictive laws to control African Americans. In 1889 the General Assembly passed four laws described as electoral reform, with the cumulative effect of essentially disfranchising most African Americans in rural areas and small towns, as well as many poor whites. Legislation included implementation of a poll tax, timing of registration, and recording requirements. Tens of thousands of taxpaying citizens were without representation for decades into the 20th century. Disfranchising legislation accompanied Jim Crow laws passed in the late 19th century, which imposed segregation in the state. In 1900, African Americans made up nearly 24% of the state's population, and numbered 480,430 citizens who lived mostly in the central and western parts of the state.
In 1897, Tennessee celebrated its centennial of statehood (though one year late of the 1896 anniversary) with a great exposition in Nashville. A full scale replica of the Parthenon was constructed for the celebration, located in what is now Nashville's Centennial Park.
The need to create work for the unemployed during the Great Depression, a desire for rural electrification, the need to control annual spring flooding and improve shipping capacity on the Tennessee River were all factors that drove the Federal creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1933. Through the power of the TVA projects, Tennessee quickly became the nation's largest public utility supplier.
During World War II, the availability of abundant TVA electrical power led the Manhattan Project to locate one of the principal sites for production and isolation of weapons-grade fissile material in East Tennessee. The planned community of Oak Ridge was built from scratch to provide accommodations for the facilities and workers. These sites are now Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex, and the East Tennessee Technology Park.
Despite recognized effects of limiting voting by poor whites, successive legislatures expanded the reach of the disfranchising laws until they covered the state. In 1949 political scientist V. O. Key Jr. argued that "the size of the poll tax did not inhibit voting as much as the inconvenience of paying it. County officers regulated the vote by providing opportunities to pay the tax (as they did in Knoxville), or conversely by making payment as difficult as possible. Such manipulation of the tax, and therefore the vote, created an opportunity for the rise of urban bosses and political machines. Urban politicians bought large blocks of poll tax receipts and distributed them to blacks and whites, who then voted as instructed.
In 1953 state legislators amended the state constitution, removing the poll tax. In many areas both blacks and poor whites still faced subjectively applied barriers to voter registration that did not end until after passage of national civil rights legislation, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2006, Tennessee has an estimated population of 6,038,803, which is an increase of 83,058, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 349,541, or 6.1%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 142,266 people (that is 493,881 births minus 351,615 deaths) and an increase from net migration of 219,551 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 59,385 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 160,166 people.
6.6% of Tennessee's population were reported as under 5 years of age, 24.6% under 18, and 12.4% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.3% of the population.
The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Southern Baptist Convention with 1,414,199; the United Methodist Church with 393,994; the Churches of Christ with 216,648; and the Roman Catholic Church with 183,161.
Tennessee is home to several Protestant denominations, such as the Church of God in Christ, the Church of God and The Church of God of Prophecy, both located in (Cleveland, Tennessee), and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The Free Will Baptist denomination is headquartered in Antioch, and its main bible college is in Nashville. The Southern Baptist Convention maintains its general headquarters in Nashville. Publishing houses of several denominations are located in Nashville.
Major outputs for the state include textiles, cotton, cattle, and electrical power. As proof of interest in beef production, Tennessee has over 82,000 farms, and beef cattle are found in roughly 59 percent of the farms in the state. Although cotton was an early crop in Tennessee, large-scale cultivation of the fiber did not begin until the 1820s with the opening of the land between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. The upper wedge of the Mississippi Delta extends into southwestern Tennessee, and it was in this fertile section that cotton took hold. Currently West Tennessee is also heavily planted in soybeans, focusing on the northwest corner of the state.
Major corporations with headquarters in Tennessee include FedEx Corporation, AutoZone Incorporated and International Paper, all based in Memphis; Pilot Corporation, based in Knoxville; Eastman Chemical Company, based in Kingsport; and the North American headquarters of Nissan, based in Franklin.
The Tennessee income tax does not apply to salaries and wages, but most income from stocks, bonds and notes receivable is taxable. All taxable dividends and interest which exceed the $1,250 single exemption or the $2,500 joint exemption are taxable at the rate of 6%. The state's sales and use tax rate for most items is 7%. Food is taxed at a lower rate of 5.5%, but candy, dietary supplements and prepared food are taxed at the full 7% rate. Local sales taxes are collected in most jurisdictions, at rates varying from 1.5% to 2.75%, bringing the total sales tax to between 8.5% and 9.75%, one of the highest levels in the nation. Intangible property is assessed on the shares of stock of stockholders of any loan company, investment company, insurance company or for-profit cemetery companies. The assessment ratio is 40% of the value multiplied by the tax rate for the jurisdiction. Tennessee imposes an inheritance tax on decedents' estates that exceed maximum single exemption limits ($1,000,000 for deaths 2006 and after; ).
Tennessee is a right to work state, as are most of its Southern neighbors. Unionization has historically been low and continues to decline as in most of the U.S. generally.
In a north-south orientation are highways I-55, I-65, I-75, and I-81. Interstate 65 crosses the state through Nashville, while Interstate 75 serves Knoxville and Interstate 55 serves Memphis. Interstate 81 enters the state at Bristol and terminates at its junction with I-40 near Dandridge. I-155 is a branch highway from I-55.
Tennessee's governor holds office for a four-year term and may serve a maximum of two terms. The governor is the only official who is elected statewide, making him one of the more powerful chief executives in the nation. The state does not elect the lieutenant-governor directly, contrary to most other states; the Tennessee Senate elects its Speaker who serves as lieutenant governor.
The Tennessee General Assembly, the state legislature, consists of the 33-member Senate and the 99-member House of Representatives. Senators serve four-year terms, and House members serve two-year terms. Each chamber chooses its own speaker. The speaker of the state Senate also holds the title of lieutenant-governor. Most executive officials are elected by the legislature.
The highest court in Tennessee is the state Supreme Court. It has a chief justice and four associate justices. No more than two justices can be from the same Grand Division. The Supreme Court of Tennessee also appoints the Attorney General, which is not found among any of the other 49 states in the Union. The Court of Appeals has 12 judges. The Court of Criminal Appeals has 12 judges.
Tennessee's current state constitution was adopted in 1870. The state had two earlier constitutions. The first was adopted in 1796, the year Tennessee joined the union, and the second was adopted in 1834. The Tennessee Constitution outlaws martial law within its jurisdiction. This may be a result of the experience of Tennessee residents and other Southerners during the period of military control by Union (Northern) forces of the U.S. government after the American Civil War.
While the Republicans control slightly more than half of the state, Democrats have strong support in the cities of Memphis and Nashville and in parts of Middle Tennessee (although declining, due to the growth of suburban Nashville) and in West Tennessee north of Memphis. The latter area includes a large rural African-American population. Historically, Republicans had their greatest strength in East Tennessee prior to the 1960s. Tennessee's 1st / 2nd congressional districts based in East Tennessee are one of the few ancestrally Republican districts in the South; the 1st has been in Republican hands continuously since 1881, and the 2nd district has been held continuously by Republicans since 1873.
In contrast, long disfranchisement of African Americans and their proportion as a minority (16.45% in 1960) meant that white Democrats generally dominated politics in the rest of the state until the 1960s. The GOP in Tennessee was essentially a sectional party. Former Gov. Winfield Dunn and former U.S. Sen. Bill Brock wins in 1970 built the Tennessee Republican Party into a competitive party for the statewide victory. Tennessee has selected governors from different parties since 1966.
In the 2000 Presidential Election, the majority of Tennessee voters voted for Republican George W. Bush rather than Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senator from Tennessee. Tennessee support for Bush increased in 2004, with his margin of victory in the state increasing from 4% in 2000 to 14% in 2004. Southern Democratic nominees (e.g., Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton) usually fare better in Tennessee, especially among split-ticket voters outside the metropolitan areas.
Tennessee sends nine members to the US House of Representatives, of whom there are five Democrats and four Republicans. Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey is the first Republican speaker of the state Senate in 140 years.
The Baker v. Carr (1962) decision of the US Supreme Court, which established the principle of one man, one vote, was based on a lawsuit over rural-biased apportionment of seats in the Tennessee legislature. The significant ruling led to an increased (and proportional) prominence in state politics by urban and, eventually, suburban, legislators and statewide officeholders in relation to their population within the state. The ruling also applied to numerous other states long controlled by rural minorities, such as Alabama.
The Highway Patrol is the primary law enforcement entity that concentrates on highway safety regulations and general non-game state law enforcement and is under the jurisdiction of the Tennessee Department of Safety. The TWRA is an independent agency tasked with enforcing all wild game, boating, and fisheries regulations outside of state parks. The TBI maintains state-of-the-art investigative facilities and is the primary state-level criminal investigative department. Tennessee State Park Rangers are responsible for all activities and law enforcement inside the Tennessee State Parks system.
|Memphis Redbirds||Baseball||Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)|
|Nashville Sounds||Baseball||Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)|
|Chattanooga Lookouts||Baseball||Southern League (Double-A)|
|Tennessee Smokies||Baseball||Southern League (Double-A)|
|West Tenn Diamond Jaxx||Baseball||Southern League (Double-A)|
|Elizabethton Twins||Baseball||Appalachian League (Rookie)|
|Greeneville Astros||Baseball||Appalachian League (Rookie)|
|Johnson City Cardinals||Baseball||Appalachian League (Rookie)|
|Kingsport Mets||Baseball||Appalachian League (Rookie)|
|Memphis Grizzlies||Basketball||National Basketball Association|
|Tennessee Titans||Football||National Football League|
|Nashville Predators||Ice hockey||National Hockey League|
|Knoxville Ice Bears||Ice hockey||Southern Professional Hockey League|
|Nashville Metros||Soccer||USL Premier Development League|
The earliest variant of the name that became Tennessee was recorded by Captain Juan Pardo, the Spanish explorer, when he and his men passed through a Native American village named "Tanasqui" in 1567 while traveling inland from South Carolina. European settlers later encountered a Cherokee town named Tanasi (or "Tanase") in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee. The town was located on a river of the same name (now known as the Little Tennessee River). It is not known whether this was the same town as the one encountered by Juan Pardo, although recent research suggests that Pardo's "Tanasqui" was located at the confluence of the Pigeon River and the French Broad River, near modern Newport.
The meaning and origin of the word are uncertain. Some accounts suggest it is a Cherokee modification of an earlier Yuchi word. It has been said to mean "meeting place", "winding river", or "river of the great bend". According to James Mooney, the name "can not be analyzed" and its meaning is lost (Mooney, pg. 534).
The modern spelling, Tennessee, is attributed to James Glen, the governor of South Carolina, who used this spelling in his official correspondence during the 1750s. In 1788, North Carolina created "Tennessee County", the third county to be established in what is now Middle Tennessee. (Tennessee County was the predecessor to current-day Montgomery County and Robertson County). When a constitutional convention met in 1796 to organize a new state out of the Southwest Territory, it adopted "Tennessee" as the name of the state.