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State of Tennessee

ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Probably derived from Indian name Tenase, which was the principal village of the Cherokee.

NICKNAME: The Volunteer State.

CAPITAL: Nashville.

ENTERED UNION: 1 June 1796 (16th).

SONG: "When It's Iris Time in Tennessee;" "The Tennessee Waltz;" "My Homeland, Tennessee;" "Rocky Top;" "My Tennessee;" "Tennessee;" The Pride of Tennessee."

MOTTO: Agriculture and Commerce.

FLAG: On a crimson field separated by a white border from a blue bar at the fly, three white stars on a blue circle edged in white represent the state's three main general divisionsEast, Middle, and West Tennessee.

OFFICIAL SEAL: The upper half consists of the word "Agriculture," a plow, a sheaf of wheat, a cotton plant, and the roman numeral XVI, signifying the order of entry into the Union. The lower half comprises the word "Commerce" and a boat. The words "The Great Seal of the State of Tennessee 1796" surround the whole. The date commemorates the passage of the state constitution.

BIRD: Mockingbird.

FLOWER: Iris (cultivated); Passion flower (wild flower).

TREE: Tulip poplar.

GEM: Freshwater pearl.

LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Presidents' Day, 3rd Monday in February; Good Friday, Friday before Easter, March or April; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October (sometimes observed the day after Thanksgiving at the governor's discretion); Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT; 6 AM CST = noon GMT.


Situated in the eastern south-central United States, Tennessee ranks 34th in size among the 50 states.

The total area of the state is 42,144 sq mi (109,152 sq km), of which land occupies 41,155 sq mi (106,591 sq km) and inland water 989 sq mi (2,561 sq km). Tennessee extends about 430 mi (690 km) e-w and 110 mi (180 km) n-s.

Tennessee is bordered on the n by Kentucky and Virginia; on the e by North Carolina; on the s by Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi; and on the w by Arkansas and Missouri (with the line formed by the Mississippi River). The boundary length of Tennessee totals 1,306 mi (2,102 km). The state's geographic center lies in Rutherford County, 5 mi (8 km) ne of Murfreesboro.


Long, narrow, and rhomboidal, Tennessee is divided topographically into six major physical regions: the Unaka Mountains, the Great Valley of East Tennessee, the Cumberland Plateau, the Highland Rim, the Central Basin, and the Gulf Coastal Plain. In addition, there are two minor physical regions: the Western Valley of the Tennessee River and the Mississippi Flood Plains.

The easternmost region is the Unaka Mountains, part of the Appalachian chain. The Unakas actually include several ranges, the most notable of which is the Great Smoky Mountains. The region constitutes the highest and most rugged surface in the state and covers an area of about 2,600 sq mi (6,700 sq km). Several peaks reach a height of 6,000 ft (1,800 m) or more: the tallest is Clingmans Dome in the Great Smokies, which rises to 6,643 ft (2,026 m) and is the highest point in the state. The mean elevation of the state is approximately 900 ft (275 m).

Lying due west of the Unakas is the Great Valley of East Tennessee. Extending from southwestern Virginia into northern Georgia, the Great Valley is a segment of the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian Highlands, which reach from New York into Alabama. This region, consisting of long, narrow ridges with broad valleys between them, covers more than 9,000 sq mi (23,000 sq km) of Tennessee. Since the coming of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1933, the area has been dotted with artificial lakes and dams, which supply electric power and aid in flood control.

The Cumberland Plateau, which extends in its entirety from southern Kentucky into central Alabama, has an area of about 5,400 sq mi (14,000 sq km) in Middle Tennessee. The plateau is a region of contrasts, including both the Cumberland Mountains, which rise to a height of 3,500 ft (1,100 m), and the Sequatchie Valley, the floor of which lies about 1,000 ft (300 m) below the surface of the adjoining plateau.

The Highland Rim, also in Middle Tennessee, is the state's largest natural region, consisting of more than 12,500 sq mi (32,400 sq km) and encircling the Central Basin. The eastern section is a gently rolling plain some 1,000 ft (300 m) lower than the Cumberland Plateau. The western part has an even lower elevation and sinks gently toward the Tennessee River.

The Central Basin, an oval depression with a gently rolling surface, has been compared to the bottom of an oval dish, of which the Highland Rim forms the broad, flat brim. With its rich soil, the region has attracted people from the earliest days of European settlement and is more densely populated than any other area in the state.

The westernmost of the major regions is the Gulf Coastal Plain. It embraces practically all of West Tennessee and covers an area of 9,000 sq mi (23,000 sq km). It is a broad plain, sloping gradually westward until it ends abruptly at the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi Flood Plains. In the northwest corner is Reelfoot Lake, the only natural lake of significance in the state, formed by a series of earthquakes in 1811 and 1812. The state's lowest point, 178 ft (54 m) above sea level, is on the banks of the Mississippi in the southwest.

Most of the state is drained by the Mississippi River system. Waters from the two longest riversthe Tennessee, with a total length of 652 mi (1,049 km), and the Cumberland, which is 687 mi (1,106 km) longflow into the Ohio River in Kentucky and join the Mississippi at Cairo, Illinois. Formed a few miles north of Knoxville by the confluence of the Holston and French Broad rivers, the Tennessee flows southwestward through the Great Valley into northern Alabama, then curves back into the state and flows northward into Kentucky. Other tributaries of the Tennessee are the Clinch, Duck, Elk, Hiwassee, and Sequatchie rivers. The Cumberland River rises in southeastern Kentucky, flows across central Tennessee, and then turns northward back into Kentucky; its principal tributaries are the Harpeth, Red, Obey, Caney Fork, and Stones rivers and Yellow Creek. In the western part of the state, the Forked Deer and Wolf rivers are among those flowing into the Mississippi, which forms the western border with Missouri and Arkansas.


Generally, Tennessee has a temperate climate, with warm summers and mild winters. However, the state's varied topography leads to a wide range of climatic conditions.

The warmest parts of the state, with the longest growing season, are the Gulf Coastal Plain, the Central Basin, and the Sequatchie Valley. In the Memphis area in the southwest, the average date of the last killing frost is 20 March, and the growing season is about 235 days. Memphis has an annual average temperature of 62°f (17°c), 40°f (4°c) in January, and 83°f (28°c) in July. In the Nashville area, the growing season lasts about 225 days. Nashville has an annual average of 60°f (15°c), ranging from 38°f (3°c) in January to 80°f (26°c) in July. The Knoxville area has a growing season of 220 days. The city's annual average temperature is 59°f (15°c), with averages of 38°f (3°c) in January and 78°f (25°c) in July. In some parts of the mountainous east, where the temperatures are considerably lower, the growing season is as short as 130 days. The record high temperature for the state is 113°f (45°c), set at Perryville on 9 August 1930; the record low, 32°f (36°c), was registered at Mountain City on 30 December 1917.

Severe storms occur infrequently. The greatest rainfall occurs in the winter and early spring, especially March; the early fall months, particularly September and October, are the driest. Average annual precipitation is about 52.4 in (133 cm) in Memphis and 48 in (122 cm) in Nashville. Snowfall varies and is more prevalent in East Tennessee than in the western section; Nashville gets about 10 in (25.4 cm) a year, Memphis only 5 in (12.7 cm).


With its varied terrain and soils, Tennessee has an abundance of flora, including at least 150 kinds of native trees. Tulip poplar (the state tree), shortleaf pine, and chestnut, black, and red oaks are commonly found in the eastern part of the state while the Highland Rim abounds in several varieties of oak, hickory, ash, and pine. Gum maple, black walnut, sycamore, and cottonwood grow in the west, and cypress is plentiful in the Reelfoot Lake area. In East Tennessee, rhododendron, mountain laurel, and wild azalea blossoms create a blaze of color in the mountains. More than 300 native Tennessee plants, including digitalis and ginseng have been utilized for medicinal purposes. In 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed 19 plant species as threatened or endangered in Tennessee, including the Blue Ridge goldenrod, Cumberland rosemary, Cumberland sandwort, Roan Mountain bluet, and Tennessee purple coneflower.

Tennessee mammals include the raccoon (the state animal), white-tailed deer, black bear, bobcat, muskrat, woodchuck, opossum, and red and gray foxes; the European wild boar was introduced by sportsmen in 1912. More than 250 bird species reside in Tennessee. Bobwhite quail, ruffed grouse, mourning dove, and mallard duck are the most common game birds. The state's 56 amphibian species include numerous frogs, salamanders, and newts; 58 reptile species include three types of rattlesnake. Of the 186 fish species in Tennessee's lakes and streams, catfish, bream, bass, crappie, pike, and trout are the leading game fish.

Tennessee's Wildlife Resources Agency conducts an endangered and threatened species protection program. Sixty-one animal species (vertebrates and invertebrates) were listed as endangered or threatened as of April 2006, including the seven species of darter, gray and Indiana bats, pallid sturgeon, bald eagle, Carolina northern flying squirrel, least tern, and white wartyback pearly mussel. The snail darter, cited by opponents of the Tellico Dam following the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, is probably Tennessee's most famous threatened species.


Tennessee is historically an agricultural state but is geologically varied with mountains in the east, rolling hills in the central part of the state, and the wide floodplain of the Mississippi in the west.

The Great Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee are sensitive to changes in air quality. In 1997 the state forged an agreement with the US National Park Service and the US Forest Service to ensure that the process for issuing permits for new industries in the area take into account both business and environmental concerns. In 2003, 142.5 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state.

The first conservationists were agricultural reformers who, even before the Civil War, recommended terracing to conserve the soil and curtail erosion. Such conservation techniques as crop rotation and contour plowing were discussed at county fairs and other places where farmers gathered. In 1854, the legislature established the State Agricultural Bureau, which sought primarily to protect farmlands from floods. The streams of west Tennessee were extensively channelized for flood control beginning in the late 1800s, with a negative impact on both habitat and cropland. As of 2003, the state was working with local citizens and the US Army Corps of Engineers to reverse this process by restoring the natural meandering flow to the tributaries of the Mississippi.

The Department of Environment and Conservation is responsible for air, land, and water protection in Tennessee. The department also manages the state park system and state natural areas. In 1996, Tennessee had approximately one million acres of wetlands. The Tennessee Wetland Act of 1986 authorized the acquisition of wetlands through the use of real estate taxes. In 1997, the state created four new natural areas.

When many of the first environmental laws were written in the 1970s, pollution of the air and water was widespread and severe. The early laws focused on tough enforcement tools and strict compliance measures to address this problem. In 1993, the Division of Pollution Prevention Assistance was established to provide information and support to industries attempting to reduce their pollution and waste. In 2003, Tennessee had 245 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 13 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including the Milan Army Ammunition Plant. In 2005, the EPA spent over $2.1 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $8.3 million for the drinking water state revolving fund and $15.7 million for loans on projects involving the waste water infrastructure.


Tennessee ranked 16th in population in the United States with an estimated total of 5,962,959 in 2005, an increase of 4.8% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Tennessee's population grew from 4,877,185 to 5,689,283, an increase of 16.7%. The population is projected to reach 6.5 million by 2015 and 7 million by 2025. The population density in 2004 was 143.2 persons per sq mi. In 2004 the median age was 37. Persons under 18 years old accounted for 23.6% of the population while 12.5% was age 65 or older.

The first permanent white settlements in the state were established in the 1760s, when people from North Carolina and Virginia crossed the Unaka Mountains and settled in the fertile valleys. Between 1790 and 1800, the population increased threefold, from 35,690 to 105,600, and it doubled during each of the next two decades. After the Civil War, the population continued to increase, though at a slower rate, tripling between 1870 and 1970.

A pronounced urban trend became apparent after World War II. In 1960, for the first time in the state's history, census figures showed slightly more people living in urban than in rural areas. In the 1990s, approximately 70% of all Tennesseans lived in metropolitan areas. Memphis is the state's largest city; in 2004, it had an estimated population of 671,929. Nashville-Davidson had a population of 546,719, followed by Knoxville, 178,118, and Chattanooga, 154,853. The Memphis metropolitan area, including parts of Arkansas and Mississippi, had an estimated 1,250,293 residents in 2004, while metropolitan Nashville had 1,395,879.


For nearly a century after the earliest white settlements, Tennessee was inhabited by three ethno-racial populations: whites of English and Scotch-Irish descent, Cherokee Indians, and black Americans. Settlers crossing the Appalachians met Indian resistance as early as the late 1700s. Eventually, however, nearly all the Cherokee were forced to leave; in 2000 there were an estimated 15,152 American Indians in Tennessee, up from 10,000, the number recorded by the 1990 census. In 2004, 0.3% of the population was American Indian.

Blacks, originally brought into the state as slaves to work in the cotton fields of West Tennessee, made up about 10% of the population in 1790. White Tennesseans were divided on the issue of slavery. The small farmers of the eastern region were against it, and in the late 1820s and 1830s there were more antislavery societies in Tennessee than in any other southern state except North Carolina. The planters and merchants of southwest Tennessee, however, linked their sentiments and interests with those of the proslavery planters of the Mississippi Valley. The introduction of the cotton gin gave impetus to the acquisition of more slaves; by 1840, blacks accounted for 26% of the population, and Memphis had become a major market for the shipment of black slaves to large plantations farther south.

Immediately after the Civil War, many blacks, now free, migrated from Virginia and North Carolina to East Tennessee to become farmers, artisans, and owners of small businesses. After 1880, however, the black proportion of the population declined steadily. In 2000, the estimated black population was 932,809 (16% of the state total), up from 778,000 in 1990. In 2004, 16.8% of the population was black. In 2000, there were an estimated 56,662 Asians residing in the state; 12,835 Asian Indians constituted the largest group. Pacific Islanders numbered 2,205. In 2004, the Asian population in the state was 1.2% of the state's total population.

Descendants of European immigrants make up about half the population of Tennessee, the largest groups being of English and German descent. In 2000, 159,004 residents2.8% of the populationwere foreign-born, more than twice the 1990 total of 59,114 (1.2%). In 2000, there were 123,838 Hispanics and Latinos, representing 2.2% of the total population, up from 62,000 (1.1%) in 1990. In 2004, 2.8% of the state's population was Hispanic or Latino. That year, 0.9% of the population reported origin of two or more races.


White settlers found Tennessee inhabited by Cherokee Indians in the eastern mountains, Shawnee in most of the eastern and central region, and Chickasaw in the westall of them speakers of Hokan-Siouan languages. Subsequently removed to Indian Territory, they left behind such place-names as Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and Chilhowee, as well as Tennessee itself.

Tennessee English represents a mixture of North Midland and South Midland features brought into the northeastern and north-central areas, of South Midland and Southern features introduced by settlers from Virginia and the Carolinas, and of a few additional Southern terms in the extreme western fringe, to which they were carried from Mississippi and Louisiana. Certain pronunciations exhibit a declining frequency from the Appalachians to the Mississippi River, such as /r/ after a vowel in the same syllable, as in form and short, and a rounded /aw/ before /r/ in arm and barbed. Others occur statewide, such as the /ah/ vowel in forest and foreign, coop and Cooper with the vowel of book, and simplification of the long /i/ vowel, so that lice sounds like lass. Common are such non-Northern terms as wait on (wait for), pully-bone (along with Northern wishbone), nicker (neigh), light bread (white bread), and snake feeder (dragonfly), as well as Jew's harp, juice harp, and French harp (all for harmonica). In eastern Tennes-see are found goobers (peanuts), tote (carry), plum peach (clingstone peach), ash cake (a kind of cornbread), fireboard (mantel), redworm (earthworm), branch (stream), and peckerwood (woodpecker). Appearing in western Tennessee are loaf bread, cold drink (soft drink), and burlap bag. In Memphis, a large, long sandwich is a poorboy.

In 2000, 5,059,404 Tennesseans five years old and over95.2% of the population in that age groupspoke only English at home, down from 97% in 1990.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "African languages" includes Amharic, Ibo, Twi, Yoruba, Bantu, Swahili, and Somali. The category "Other Indo-European languages" includes Albanian, Gaelic, Lithuanian, and Rumanian.

Population 5 years and over 5,315,920 100.0
  Speak only English 5,059,404 95.2
  Speak a language other than English 256,516 4.8
Speak a language other than English 256,516 4.8
  Spanlish, or Spanish Creole 133,931 2.5
  German 20,267 0.4
  French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 17,557 0.3
  Chinese 7,492 0.1
  Vietnamese 6,625 0.1
  Korean 6,550 0.1
  Arabic 6,482 0.1
  Laotian 4,496 0.1
  African languages 4,480 0.1
  Japanese 4,423 0.1
  Other Indo-European languages 4,250 0.1
  Tagalog 3,386 0.1
  Italian 3,134 0.1


Baptist and Presbyterian churches were organized on the frontier soon after permanent settlements were made. Many divisions have occurred in both groups. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which spread into other states, was organized near Nashville in 1810 because of differences within the parent church. Both the Baptists and the Presbyterians divided over slavery. Methodist circuit riders arrived with the early settlers, and they quickly succeeded in attracting many followers. Controversies over slavery and other sectional issues also developed within the Methodist Church and, as with the Baptists and Presbyterians, divisions emerged during the 1840s. The Methodists, however, were able to resolve their differences and regroup. The United Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in the United States finally ended their 122-year separation in 1983, reuniting to form the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Two other Protestant groups with large followings in the state had their origin on the Tennessee frontier in the first half of the 19th century: the Disciples of Christ and the Church of Christ. Both groups began with the followers of Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone, among others, who deplored formal creeds and denominations and sought to return to the purity of early Christianity. As their numbers grew, these followers divided into Progressives, who supported missionary societies and instrumental music in church, and Conservatives, who did not. In 1906, a federal census of religions listed the Conservatives for the first time as the Church of Christ and the Progressives as the Disciples of Christ. The latter, now the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) had 28,108 known adherents in 2000. The Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) was established in the state in 1886 as a result of the greater Pentecostal movement.

Tennessee has long been considered part of the Bible Belt because of the influence of fundamentalist Protestant groups that believe in the literal accuracy of the Bible. Evangelical Protestants still account for a majority of the religiously active population.

In 2000, the largest single religious group in the state was the Southern Baptist Convention with 1,414,199 adherents; there were 27,055 new baptized members reported in 2002. Other Evangelical groups in 2000 were the Churches of Christ, 216,648; the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), 66,136; Independent, Non-Charismatic Churches, 50,003; and Assemblies of God, 40,430. The major Mainline Protestant denominations (with 2000 figures) were the United Methodist Church, 393,994; the Presbyterian Church USA, 67,800; and the Episcopal Church, 35,037. In 2004, there were about 185,486 Roman Catholics in the state. In 2000, there were 18,464 Muslims and an estimated 18,250 Jews in the state. About 2.7 million people (48.9% of the population) were not counted as members of any religious organization that year.

The Gideons International, an organization known for its free distribution of Bibles, is based in Nashville. The World Convention of Churches of Christ is also based in Nashville.


Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga are the focal points for rail, highway, water, and air transportation. All are located on important rivers and interstate highways, and all have airports served by the major airlines.

Railroad building began in Tennessee as early as the 1820s. During the 1850s, the basis for 20th-century rail transportation was laid: the Louisville and Nashville Railroad linked Tennessee to the northern states, and the Memphis and Charleston line established ties with the East Coast. In 2003, Tennessee had 2,821 rail mi (4,541 km) of track, of which 2,097 mi (3,376 km) were Class I track. As of 2006, Amtrak provided north-south passenger train service to Memphis and Newbern, Tennessee via its Chicago to New Orleans City of New Orleans train.

The first roads, such as the Natchez Trace, which connected Nashville with the southwestern part of the state, often followed Indian trails. Many roads in the early 1800s were constructed by private individuals or chartered turnpike companies. The introduction of the automobile shortly after the beginning of the 20th century brought the development of modern roads and highways. After 1916, the federal government began to share the high cost of highway construction, and the 1920s were a decade of extensive road building.

In 2004, Tennessee had 88,988 mi (143,270 km) of roads. The major interstate highway is I-40, crossing east-west from Knoxville to Nashville and Memphis. In that same year, some 5.049 million motor vehicles were registered in the state, while 4,247,884 Tennesseans held drivers' licenses.

The principal means of transportation during Tennessee's early history was water, and all the early settlements were built on or near streams. The introduction of steamboats on the Cumberland River in the early 19th century helped make Nashville the state's largest city and its foremost trading center. By mid-century, how-ever, Memphis, on the Mississippi River, had surpassed Nashville in population and trade, largely because of cotton. Tennessee in 2004 had 946 mi (1,523 km) of navigable inland waterways. The completion in 1985 of the 234-mi (377-km) Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway gave Tennessee shippers a direct north-south route for all vessels between the Tennessee River and the Gulf of Mexico via the Black Warrior River in Alabama. Although none of the waterway runs through Tennessee, the northern terminus is on the Tennessee River near the common borders of Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. In 2004, the ports of Memphis and Nashville handled 17.520 million tons and 3.941 million tons of freight, respectively. In 2003, waterborne shipments totaled 27.811 million tons.

In 2005, Tennessee had a total of 305 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 195 airports, 100 heliports, 8 STOLports (Short Take-Off and Landing), and 2 seaplane bases. As of 2004, Memphis International Airport was among the world's busiest cargo-handling facilities and was also the state's major air terminal in terms of passenger traffic, with 5,295,062 passengers enplaned, making it the 36th busiest airport in the United States. Nashville International in that same year was the state's second busiest, with 4,298,703 passengers enplaned, making it the 44th busiest airport in the United States.


The lower Tennessee Valley was heavily populated with hunter-gatherers some 10,000 years ago. Their descendants, called Paleo-Indians, were succeeded by other native cultures, including the Archaic Indians, Woodland Indians, and Early Mississippians. When the first Spanish arrived in the early 16th century, Creek Indians were living in what is now East Tennessee, along with the Yuchi. About 200 years later, the powerful Cherokeethe largest single tribe south of the Ohio River, occupying parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and East Tennesseedrove the Creek and Yuchi out of the area and established themselves as the dominant tribe. Their settlements, varying in size from a dozen families to more than 200, were known as the Upper or Over-hill Towns. The Cherokee retained their tribal dominance until they were forced out by the federal government in the 1830s. In West Tennessee, the Chickasaw were the major group. They lived principally in northern Mississippi but used Tennessee lands as a hunting ground. Shawnee occupied the Cumberland Valley in Middle Tennessee until driven north of the Ohio River by the Cherokee and Chickasaw.

Explorers and traders from continental Europe and the British Isles were in Tennessee for well over 200 years before permanent settlements were established in the 1760s. Hernando de Soto, a Spaniard, came from Florida to explore the area as early as 1540. He was followed during the 17th century by the French explorers Jacques Marquette, Louis Jolliet, and Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. Englishmen were not far behind: by the mid-1700s, hundredsperhaps thousandshad crossed the Appalachian barrier and explored the transmontane country beyond, which was claimed first by the colony of Virginia and later assigned to North Carolina. They came in search of pelts, furs, and whatever else of value they might find. A fiercely independent breed, they were accustomed to hardship and unwilling to settle in a civilized community. Perhaps the best known was Daniel Boone, who by 1760 had found his way into present-day Washington County.

With the conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763, many people from North Carolina and Virginia began to cross the Alleghenies. Elisha Walden was among those who first led groups of "long hunters" into the wilderness. By 1770, small pockets of white settlement were developing in the valley between the Unaka and Cumberland mountains. In the two decades that followed, more than 35,000 people settled on soil soon to become the State of Tennessee.

Two major areas of settlement developed. The larger one-in the northeast along the Holston, Nolichucky, and Watauga rivers-was organized as the Watauga Association in 1791. The second major area was in the Cumberland Basin, where James Robertson, under the sponsorship of the Transylvania Company (formed by eastern land speculators), established a settlement he called Nashborough (now Nashville) in 1779. There more than 250 adult males signed the Cumberland Compact, which established a government. They pledged to abide by the will of the majority and expressed their allegiance to North Carolina.

The Revolutionary War did not reach as far west as Tennessee, but many of the frontiersmen fought in the Carolinas and Virginia. The most famous battle involving these early Tennesseans was that of Kings Mountain, in South Carolina, where Colonel John Sevier and others defeated a superior force of British soldiers and captured more than 1,000 prisoners. Hardly was the Revolution over when Tennesseans began to think about statehood for themselves. As early as 1784, leaders in three mountain countiesGreene, Sullivan, and Washingtonestablished the Free State of Franklin. John Sevier was chosen as governor, and an assembly was formed. Only after border warfare developed and factionalism weakened their cause did Franklin's leaders abandon their plans and return their allegiance to North Carolina. But the spirit of independenceindeed, defiancepersisted.

In 1790, less than two years after Franklin collapsed, North Carolina ceded its western lands to the United States. Tennessee became known as the Southwest Territory, with William Blount, a prominent North Carolina speculator and politician, as its governor. During his six-year tenure, a government was organized and a capital established at Knoxville. The population doubled to more than 70,000 in 1795, and steps were taken to convert the territory into a state. When the territorial legislature presented Congress with a petition for statehood, a lively debate ensued in the US Senate between Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans, who urged immediate admission, and Federalists, who opposed it. The Jeffersonians triumphed, and on 1 June 1796, President George Washington signed a bill admitting Tennessee as the 16th state. Sevier became governor of the new state, Blount was elected to the US Senate, and Andrew Jackson became the state's first US representative.

Sevier dominated state politics for the first two decades of state-hood, and he had little difficulty in thwarting the ambitions of Andrew Jackson and others who sought to challenge his leadership. Tennessee's population, about 85,000 when Sevier became governor, was more than 250,000 when he left the statehouse in 1809. Under Sevier's governorship, Nashville, Knoxville, and other early settlements became thriving frontier towns. Churches and schools were established, industry and agriculture developed, and Tennessee became a leading iron producer.

Andrew Jackson's rise to prominence came as a result of the Battle of New Orleans, fought at the conclusion of the War of 1812. Jackson, who had little difficulty raising troops in a state where volunteers for military service have always been abundant, lost only about a half dozen of his men, while British casualties exceeded 2,000. He returned to Nashville a hero, built a fine house that he named The Hermitage, received thousands of congratulatory messages, and conferred with friends about his political and military future. In 1823, Jackson was elected to the US Senate. Defeated the following year in a four-man race for the presidency, he ran again, this time successfully, in 1828, serving in that office for eight years.

Jackson alienated himself from many people in the state after 1835, when he announced his support of Martin Van Buren for president instead of Knoxvillian Hugh Lawson White, an avowed candidate. A majority of Tennesseans joined the new Whig Party, which arose in opposition to Jackson's Democratic Party, and voted in the 1836 presidential election for White instead of for Van Buren. The Whigs won every presidential election in Tennessee from 1836 to 1852, including the election of 1844, which sent Tennessean James Knox Polk, a Democrat, to the White House. Polk's term (184549) brought another war, this one with Mexico. Although Tennessee's quota was only 2,800, more than 25,000 men volunteered for service. Among the heroes of that war were William Trousdale and William B. Campbell, both of whom later were elected governor.

Social reform and cultural growth characterized the first half of the 19th century. A penitentiary was built, and the penal code made somewhat more humane. Temperance newspapers were published, temperance societies formed, and laws passed to curtail the consumption of alcoholic beverages. In 1834, a few women, embracing the feminist cause, were influential in giving the courts, rather than the legislature, the right to grant divorces. Many important schools were established, including the Nashville Female Academy, the University of Nashville, and more than two dozen colleges.

More than most other southern states, antebellum Tennessee was divided over the issue of slavery. Slaves had accompanied their owners into Tennessee in the 18th century, and by 1850, they constituted about one-fourth of the state's population. Although slaveholders lived in all sections of the state, they predominated in the west, where cotton was grown profitably, as well as in Middle Tennessee. In East Tennessee, where blacks made up less than 10% of the population, antislavery sentiment thrived. Most of those who supported emancipation urged that it be accomplished peacefully, gradually, and with compensation to the slave owners. Frances Wright, the Scottish reformer, founded the colony of Nashoba near Memphis in the 1820s as a place where freed blacks could learn self-reliance. After a few years the colony failed, however, and Wright took her colonists to Haiti. At the constitutional convention of 1834, hundreds of petitions were presented asking that the legislature be empowered to free the slaves. But while the convention endorsed several measures to democratize the constitution of 1796abolishing property qualifications as a condition for holding office, for exampleit decided against emancipation.

Considerable economic growth took place during this period. West Tennessee became a major cotton-growing area immediately after it was purchased form the Chickasaw in 1818, and Memphis, established in 1821, became the principal cotton-marketing center. The Volunteer State's annual cotton crop grew from less than 3,000 bales in 1810 to nearly 200,000 bales by midcentury. The counties of the Highland Rim produced tobacco in such abundance that, by 1840, Tennessee ranked just behind Kentucky and Virginia in total production. East Tennessee farmers practiced greater crop diversification, growing a variety of fruits and vegetables for market. Silk cultivation flourished briefly in the 1830s and 1840s.

Tennessee became a major battleground during the Civil War, as armies from both North and South crossed the state several times. Most Tennesseans favored secession. But the eastern counties remained staunchly Unionist, and many East Tennesseans crossed over into Kentucky to enlist in the Union Army. General Albert Sidney Johnston, the Confederate commander of the western theater, set up lines of defense across the northern border of the state and built forts on both the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. In February 1862, Ft. Donelson and Ft. Henry were taken by General Ulysses S. Grant and naval Captain Andrew H. Foote, thereby opening the state to Union armies. Within two weeks Nashville was in the hands of the enemy. Northern troops pushed farther south and west, taking key positions on the Mississippi River. Less than two months later, on 6 April, Union forces near the Mississippi state line engaged Johnston's army in the Battle of Shiloh. Both sides suffered tremendous losses, including Johnston himself, who bled to death after sustaining a thigh wound. In the meantime President Abraham Lincoln had established a military government for the conquered state and appointed Andrew Johnson to head it. Johnson, who had served two terms as governor a decade earlier, had been elected to the US Senate in 1858; he remained there in 1861, the only southern senator to do so, refusing to follow his state into the Confederacy. In 1864, he was elected vice president under Lincoln.

Johnson's governorship did not mean the end of Confederate activities in Tennessee. Late in December 1862, Confederate forces made the first of two vigorous attempts to rid the state of the invader. General Braxton Bragg, who replaced Johnston as Confederate commander, established himself at Murfreesboro, 30 mi (48 km) southwest of Nashville, and threatened to retake the capital city. But at the Battle of Stones River, Union troops under General William S. Rosecrans forced Bragg to retreat to the southeast. Fighting did not resume until 19-20 September 1863, when the Confederates drove Union troops back to Chattanooga in the Battle of Chickamauga, one of the bloodiest engagements of the war. The second major Confederate drive occurred in November and December 1864, when General John B. Hood, commanding the Confederate Army of Tennessee, came out of Georgia and attacked the Union forces at Franklin and Nashville. Hood's army was destroyed, and these battles were the last major engagements in the state.

Returning to the Union in 1866, Tennessee was the only former Confederate state not to have a military government during Reconstruction. Economic readjustment was not as difficult as elsewhere in the South, and within a few years agricultural production exceeded antebellum levels. Extensive coal and iron deposits in East Tennessee attracted northern capital, and by the early 1880s, flour, woolen, and paper mills were established in all the urban areas. By the late 1890s, Memphis was a leading cotton market and the nation's foremost producer of cottonseed oil. Politically, the Democratic Party became firmly entrenched, and would remain so until the 1950s.

As the 20th century dawned, the major issue in Tennessee was the crusade against alcohol, a movement with deep roots in the 19th century. Though the major cities still were "wet," earlier legislation had dried up the rural areas and small towns, and the Tennessee Anti-Saloon League and Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) kept the matter in the public eye. In 1908, with "wet" forces controlling the state government, Edward Ward Carmacka rabid prohibitionist, powerful politician, newspaper editor, and former US senatorwas shot and killed in the street of Nashville. His assailants were convicted but pardoned immediately by the governor. In the following year, with Carmack as a martyr to their cause, "dry" forces enacted legislation that, in effect, imposed prohibition on the entire state. The dominant Democratic Party was divided and demoralized to such an extent that a Republican governor was electedonly the second since Reconstruction. The prohibition movement helped promote the cause of women's suffrage. A proposed state constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote failed in 1915, but in 1919, they were granted the franchise in municipal elections. One year later, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, thereby granting women the right to vote nationwide.

The 1920s brought a resurgence of religious fundamentalism. When, in 1925, the legislature enacted a measure that prohibited the teaching of the theory of evolution in the public schools, a high school teacher named John T. Scopes decided to challenge the law. Three-time presidential candidate and fundamentalist spokesman William Jennings Bryan arrived in the tiny town of Dayton to aid in Scopes's prosecution, while the great civil liberties lawyer Clarence Darrow came from Chicago to lead the defense. The Scopes trial gave the Volunteer State unwanted notoriety throughout the civilized world. Scopes was convicted, and it was not until 1967 that the law was repealed.

The 1930s brought depression, but they also brought the Tennessee Valley Authority. Before TVA, residents of the Tennessee River Valley could boast of the beauty of the landscape, but of little else. The soil was so thin that little other than subsistence agriculture was possible, and many people lived on cash incomes of less than $100 a year. There were some senators, such as George Norris of Nebraska and Tennessee's own Kenneth D. McKellar, who saw great possibilities in valley development. Harnessing the Tennessee River with dams could not only generate electricity inexpensively but also greatly improve navigation; aid flood control, soil conservation, and reforestation; and produce nitrate fertilizer. Efforts to establish such a program failed, however, until Franklin D. Roosevelt included it in his New Deal. The law establishing the TVA was passed a few weeks after Roosevelt's inauguration in 1933, and dam construction began almost immediately. Before TVA, people in the valley consumed only 1.5 billion kWh of electricity annually; but consumption increased to 11.5 billion kWh by 1945 and to 57.5 billion kWh by 1960. Fewer than 2% of rural families in Tennessee had electricity in 1933; but by the late 1930s, power lines were being strung into remote areas, bringing to practically everyone the advantages that hitherto only urban residents had enjoyed. Inexpensive power became a magnet for industry, and industrial employment in the region nearly doubled in two decades. The building of a plant for the production of nuclear weapons at Oak Ridge in 1942 was due in large measure to the availability of TVA power.

The TVA notwithstanding, the depression caused many manufacturers to close or curtail operations, and farm prices declined drastically. Cotton, which had earlier brought farmers more than 30 cents a pound, declined to 5.7 cents, and the prices of corn, tobacco, and other crops fell proportionately. The state still was in the grip of financial depression when World War II began. Thousands of men volunteered for service before conscription was introduced; when the United States entered the war in 1941, several training posts were established in Tennessee. Tennessee firms manufacturing war materiel received contracts amounting to $1.25 billion and employed more than 200,000 people during the war. Industrial growth continued during the postwar period, while agriculture recovered and diversified. The chemical industry, spurred by high demand during and after World War II, became a leading sector, along with textiles, apparel, and food processing. Cotton and tobacco continued to be major crops, but by the early 1970s, soybeans had taken the lead, accounting for 22% of estimated farm income in 1980. Beef and dairy production also flourished.

Democratic boss Edward H. Crump, who ran an efficient political machine in Memphis, dominated state politics for most of the period between 1910 and the early 1950s, an era that saw the elevation of many Tennessee Democrats to national prominence. Considerable progress was made toward ending racial discrimination during the postwar years, although the desegregation of public schools was accomplished only after outbursts of violence at Clinton, Nashville, and Memphis. The killing of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., in Memphis in 1968 resulted in rioting by blacks in that city, and in urban centers nationwide. The most notable political development during the 1970s was the resurgence of the Republican Party, making Tennessee one of the few true two-party states in the South.

The early 1980s saw the exposure of corruption in high places: former governor Ray Blanton and several aides were convicted for conspiracy to sell liquor licenses, and banker and former gubernatorial candidate Jacob F. "Jake" Butcher was convicted for fraud in the aftermath of the collapse of his banking empire. On the brighter side, there was a successful World's Fair in 1982, the Knoxville International Energy Exposition, and a fairly resilient state economy, bolstered by the much-heralded openings of the Nissan truck-assembly plant in Smyrna in 1983 and the General Motors Saturn plant in Spring Hill in 1990.

Manufacturing in Tennessee continued to grow throughout the 1980s, aided by the completion of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in 1985. The state gained nearly 45,000 manufacturing jobs between 1982 and 1992, many of them in the automotive and other transport-related industries. Tennessee's unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.7% in 1994.

The state legislature passed school reform laws in 1992 and, in 1993, a health-care package mandating the creation of TennCare, an insurance program designed to replace Medicaid coverage for 1.5 million uninsured residents of the state.

Democratic governor Phil Bredesen, elected in 2002, served two terms as Nashville mayor and hoped in 2003, despite the state's budget problems, to repeat statewide the significant economic growth he spearheaded in Nashville. The state was a leader in the nation in attempting to collect Internet and mail-order sales taxes. Tennessee officials estimated the state could lose up to $300 million in uncollected Internet and mail-order sales taxes in 2003.

Bredesen by 2005 had issued executive orders establishing tough ethics rules in the executive branch; managed the state through its fiscal crisis without raising taxes or cutting funds for education; raised teachers' pay to levels above the Southeastern average; expanded Tennessee's pre-kindergarten program; reformed the state's workers' compensation program and invested in retraining programs to help out-of-work employees develop new skills in the growing, competitive economy; launched a war on meth-amphetamine; and reformed TennCare, the state health-insurance program.


Tennessee's first constitution was adopted in 1796, just before the state was admitted to the Union. It vested executive authority in a governor, elected for two years, who had to be at least 25 years old and own at least 500 acres (202 hectares) of land. The governor could approve or veto bills adopted by the legislature, as commander-in-chief of the militia, and could grant pardons and reprieves, among other powers. Legislative power was placed in a General Assembly, consisting of a house and Senate, whose members served terms of two years. Candidates for the legislature were required to fulfill residence and age requirements and to own at least 200 acres (81 hectares). Property qualifications were not required for voting, and all freemenincluding free blackscould vote.

The basic governmental structure established in 1796 remains the fundamental law today. The constitution has been amended 36 times as of January 2005, however. The spirit of Jacksonian democracy prompted delegates at the constitutional convention of 1834 to remove property qualifications as a requirement for public office, reapportion representation, transfer the right to select county officials from justices of the peace to the voters, and reorganize the court system. At the same time, though, free blacks were disfranchised. In 1870, another constitutional convention confirmed the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of black men but imposed a poll tax as a requirement for voting. Membership of the House was fixed at 99 and the Senate at 33-numbers, these numbers are retained today. Assembling each January, regular sessions are limited to 90 legislative days. Special sessions, limited to 30 legislative days, may be called by petition of two-thirds of each house. All legislators must be US citizens, qualified voters in their districts, citizens of the state, and must have lived in the state for at least 3 years and in the district for one year. Further, senators are required to be at least 30 years old and representatives 21. The legislative salary in 2004 was $16,500, unchanged from 1999.

In the constitutional convention held in 1953, delegates increased the gubernatorial term from two to four years, gave the governor item-veto, eliminated the poll tax, authorized home rule for cities, and provided for the consolidation of county and city functions. Later conventions extended the term of state senators from two to four years, sought to improve and streamline county government, and placed a constitutional limit on state spending. A limited convention in 1965 required the apportionment of the legislature according to population. This change greatly increased the weight of urban, and particularly black, votes.

The governor, the only executive elected statewide, appoints a cabinet of 21 members. The speaker of the state Senate automatically becomes lieutenant governor; the secretary of state, treasurer, and comptroller of the treasury are chosen by the legislature. The governor is limited to serving two consecutive terms. A candidate for governor must be at least 30 years old, a US citizen, and must have been a state citizen for at least seven years prior to election. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $85,000, unchanged from 1999.

Legislation is enacted after bills are read and approved three times in each house and signed by the governor. If the governor vetoes a measure, the legislature may override the veto by majority vote of the elected members of each house. If the governor does not act on a bill, it becomes law after 10 days. Not more often than once every six years the legislature may submit to the voters the question of calling a convention to amend the constitution. If the vote is favorable, delegates are chosen. Changes proposed by the convention must be approved by a majority vote in a subsequent election. To amend the constitution, a majority of the members elected to both houses must first approve the proposed change. A second (two-thirds) vote by the legislature is required before the measure is put before the state's voters for majority approval.

Voters must be US citizens, at least 18 years old, and state residents. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.


The major political groups are the Democratic and Republican parties. Minor parties have seldom affected the outcome of an election in Tennessee.

When Tennessee entered the Union in 1796, it was strongly loyal to the Democratic-Republican Party. The Jacksonian era brought a change in political affiliations, and for more than 20 years, Tennessee had a vibrant two-party system. Jackson's followers formed the Democratic Party, which prevailed for a decade over the National Republican Party led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay. But by 1835, Tennesseans had become disillusioned with Jackson, and they joined the new Whig Party in large numbers. A Whig governor was elected in that year, and Whig presidential nominees consistently garnered Tennessee's electoral votes until the party foundered over the slavery issue in the 1850s.

After the Civil War and Reconstruction, Tennessee was part of the solid Democratic South for nearly a century. Only three Republican governors were elected during that period, and only then because bitter factionalism had divided the dominant party. East Tennessee remained a Republican stronghold. However, the 2nd Congressional district, which includes Knoxville, was the only district in the country to elect a Republican continuously from 1860 on. Republicans Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover carried the state in the presidential elections of 1920 and 1928. But whereas the 1920s saw a tendency away from one-party domination, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal brought the Vol-unteer State decisively back into the Democratic fold. Tennesseans voted overwhelmingly Democratic in the four elections that Roosevelt won (193244).

After World War II, the one-party system in Tennessee was shaken anew. Dwight D. Eisenhower narrowly won the state in 1952 and 1956, although Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in the latter year. Tennesseans chose Richard Nixon all three times he ran for president. In fact, between 1948 and 1976, the only Democratic nominees to carry the state came from the South (Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter) or from a border state (Harry Truman).

In state elections, the Republicans made deep inroads into Democratic power during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1966, Howard Baker became the first popularly elected Republican US senator in the state history. In 1970, voters elected Winfield Dunn as the first Republican governor in more than 50 years, and in the same year, they sent Republican Bill Brock to join Baker in the Senate. The Democrats regained the governorship in 1974 and Brock's seat in 1976, but Republicans again won the governorship in 1978 when Lamar Alexander defeated Jacob F. "Jake" Butcher. In 1982, Alexander became the first Tennessee governor to be elected to two successive four-year terms. Ned McWherter, a Democrat, was elected governor in 1990. Republican Don Sundquist became governor in 1994 and was reelected in 1998. Democrat Phil Bredesen was elected governor in 2002.

In 1994, Bill Frist, a heart surgeon, was elected to the US Senate on the Republican ticket, defeating Democrat James Sasser. He was reelected in 2000, and elected Senate Majority Leader in December 2002 after former Majority Leader Trent Lott aroused controversy by praising the 1948 presidential candidacy of segregationist Strom Thurmond. Democrat Harlan Matthews was appointed to

Tennessee Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 19482004
*Won U.S presidential election.
1948 11 *Truman (D) 270,402 202,914 73,815 1,288 1,864
1952 11 *Eisenhower (R) 443,710 446,147 379 887 1,432
1956 11 *Eisenhower (R) 456,507 462,288 19,820 789
1960 11 Nixon (R) 481,453 556,577 11,298 2,450
1964 11 *Johnson (D) 635,047 508,965
1968 11 *Nixon (R) 351,233 472,592 424,792
1972 10 *Nixon (R) 357,293 813,147 30,373
1976 10 *Carter (D) 825,897 633,969 2,303 5,769 1,375
1980 10 *Reagan (R) 783,051 787,761 5,0211 1,112 7,116
1984 11 *Reagan (R) 711,714 990,212 978 3,072
1988 11 *Bush (R) 679,794 947,233 1,334 2,041
IND. (Perot)
1992 11 *Clinton (D) 933,521 841,300 199,968 1,356 727 1,847
1996 11 *Clinton (D) 909,146 863,530 105,918 5,020
IND. (nader) IND. (Buchanan)
2000 11 *Bush, G. W. (R) 981,720 1,061,949 19,781 4,250 4,284
WRITE-IN (Cobb) IND. (Peroutka) IND. (Badnarik)
2004 11 *Bush, G. W. (R) 1,036,477 1,384,375 8,992 33 2,570 4,866

fill the seat vacated by Al Gore in 1992 when Gore became vice president. In 1994, Republican Fred Thompson defeated Jim Cooper for the remaining two years of Gore's term. Thompson was elected to his first full term in 1996, but retired in 2002. That November, former Governor Lamar Alexander was elected US Senator from Tennessee. US representatives included four Republicans and five Democrats after the November 2004 elections. There were 16 Democrats and 17 Republicans in the state Senate and 53 Democrats and 46 Republicans in the state House in mid-2005.

Tennessee voters, who gave Republican George Bush 57.4% of the vote in 1988, chose Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. In 2000, Republican George W. Bush received 51% of the vote to Democrat Al Gore's 48%. In 2004, support for incumbent President Bush had increased to 56.8% to Democratic challenger John Kerry's 42.5%. In 2004 there were 3,532,000 registered voters; there is no party registration in the state. The state had 11 electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election.


In 2005, local government in Tennessee was exercised by 95 counties and 349 municipalities. The county, a direct descendant of the Anglo-Saxon shire, has remained remarkably unaltered in Tennessee since it was brought from Virginia and North Carolina in frontier days. The constitution specifies that county officials must include at least a register, trustee (the custodian of county funds), sheriff, and county clerk, all of whom hold office for four years. Other officials have been added by legislative enactment: county commissioners, county executives (known for many years as county judges or county chairmen), tax assessors, county court clerks, and superintendents of public schools.

City government is of more recent origin than county government. There are three forms of municipal government: mayor-council (or mayor-alderman), council-manager, and commission. The mayor-council system is the oldest and by far the most widely employed. There were 138 school districts and 475 special districts in 2005.

In 2005, local government accounted for about 239,168 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.


To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Tennessee operates under executive order; a homeland security director oversees the state's homeland security activities.

The commissioner of education oversees the public schools as well as special and vocational-technical education; the higher education commission oversees higher education. Highways, aeronautics, mass transit, and waterways are the responsibility of the Department of Transportation. The Department of Safety and the State Highway Patrol are charged with enforcing the safety laws on all state roads and interstate highways. Public protection services are provided by the Military Department, which includes the Army and Air National Guard. The Department of Correction maintains prisons for adult offenders, a work-release program, and correctional and rehabilitation centers for juveniles. The Department of Environment and Conservation concerns itself with the environment.

The Department of Health licenses medical facilities, provides medical care for the indigent, operates tuberculosis treatment centers, and administers pollution control programs. The Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities supervises mental hospitals, mental health clinics, and homes for the developmentally disabled. The Department of Human Services administers aid to the blind, aged, disabled, and families with dependent children, and determines eligibility for families receiving food stamps. The Department of Employment Security administers unemployment insurance and provides job training and placement services. State laws governing workers' compensation, occupational and mine safety, child labor, and wage standards are enforced by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.


The Tennessee Supreme Court is the highest court in the state. It consists of five justices, not more than two of whom may reside in any one grand division of the stateEast, Middle, or West Tennessee. The justices are elected by popular vote for terms of eight years and must be at least 35 years of age. The court has appellate jurisdiction only, holding sessions in Nashville, Knoxville, and Jackson. The position of chief justice rotates every 19 months.

Immediately below the Supreme Court are two appellate courts (each sitting in three divisions), established by the legislature to relieve the crowded high court docket. The Court of Appeals has appellate jurisdiction in most civil cases. The Court of Criminal Appeals hears cases from the lower courts involving criminal matters. Judges on both appellate courts are elected for eight-year terms.

Circuit courts have original jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases. Tennessee still has chancery courts, vestiges of the English courts designed to hear cases where there was no adequate remedy at law. They administer cases involving receiverships of corporations, settle disputes regarding property ownership, hear divorce cases, and adjudicate on a variety of other matters. In some districts, judges of the circuit and chancery courts, all of whom are elected for eight-year terms, have concurrent jurisdiction.

At the bottom of the judicial structure are general sessions courts. A comprehensive juvenile court system was set up in 1911. Other courts created for specific services include domestic relations courts and probate courts.

As of 31 December 2004, a total of 25,884 prisoners were held in Tennessee's state and federal prisons, an increase from 25,403 of 1.9% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 1,905 inmates were female, up from 1,826 or 4.3% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Tennessee had an incarceration rate of 437 per 100,000 population in 2004.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 695.2 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 41,024 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 254,123 reported incidents or 4,306.5 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Tennessee has a death penalty, of which lethal injection is the sole method of execution for those sentenced after 1 January 1999. Those sentenced prior to that date can select electrocution over lethal injection. From 1976 through 5 May 2006, the state has carried out only one execution, in April 2000. As of 1 January 2006, Tennessee had 108 inmates on death row.

In 2003, Tennessee spent $186,916,752 on homeland security, an average of $31 per state resident.


Tennessee supplied so many soldiers for the War of 1812 and the Mexican War that it became known as the Volunteer State. During the Civil War, more than 100,000 Tennesseans fought for the Confederacy and about half that number for the Union. In World War I, some 91,000 men served in the armed forces, and in World War II, 316,000 Tennesseans saw active duty.

In 2004, there were 2,430 active-duty military personnel and 5,390 civilian personnel stationed in Tennessee, most of whom were at Millington Naval Air Station near Memphis. Tennessee firms were awarded defense contracts totaling more than $2.1 billion in 2004. In addition, there was another $1.6 billion in payroll outlays by the Department of Defense.

On 2003, 540,778 veterans were living in Tennessee, of whom 62,502 served in World War II; 55,605 in the Korean conflict; 169,911 during the Vietnam era; and 87,253 during the Persian Gulf War. In 2004, the Veterans Administration expended more than $1.4 billion in pensions, medical assistance, and other major veterans' benefits.

As of 31 October 2004, the Tennessee Department of Public Safety employed 935 full-time sworn officers.


The first white settlers in Tennessee, who came across the mountains from North Carolina and Virginia, were almost entirely of English extraction. They were followed by an influx of Scotch-Irish, mainly from Pennsylvania. About 3,800 German and Irish migrants arrived during the 1830s and 1840s. In the next century, Tennessee's population remained relatively stable, except for an influx of blacks immediately following the Civil War. There was a steady out-migration of blacks to industrial centers in the North during the 20th century. The state suffered a net loss through migration of 462,000 between 1940 and 1970 but gained over 465,000 between 1970 and 1990. Between 1990 and 1998, Tennessee had net gains of 338,000 in domestic migration and 27,000 in international migration. In 1998, 2,806 foreign immigrants arrived in the state, the greatest concentrations coming from Mexico (300) and India (291). Tennessee's overall population increased 11.3% between 1990 and 1998.

The major in-state migration has been away from rural areas and into towns and cities. Blacks, especially, have tended to cluster in large urban centers. The population of metropolitan Memphis, for example, was more than 42% black in 1997. In the period 200005, net international migration was 49,973 and net internal migration was 109,707, for a net gain of 159,680 people.


Tennessee participates in such interstate agreements as the Appalachian Regional Commission, Interstate Mining Compact Commission, Southeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact, Southern Regional Education Board, Southern Growth Policies Board, and the Southern States Energy Board. There are boundary accords with Arkansas, Kentucky, and Virginia, and an agreement with Alabama, Kentucky, and Mississippi governing development of the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway. Federal grants to Tennessee amounted to $8.086 billion in fiscal year 2005, an estimated $7.890 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $8.114 billion in fiscal year 2007.


Tennessee's economy is based primarily on industry. Since the 1930s, the number of people employed in industry has grown at a rapid rate, while the number of farmers has declined proportionately. The principal manufacturing areas are Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Kingsport-Bristol. With the construction in the 1980s of a Nissan automobile and truck plant and a General Motors automobile facility, both in the area southeast of Nashville, Tennessee has become an important producer of transportation equipment. Since 1995, however, employment in Tennessee's manufacturing sector has fallen, and since 1999, total output from the sector has fallen 3.2% between 1999 and 2001. The pace of job loss in manufacturing accelerated in the 2001 national recession and slowdown, with 36,000 jobs lost during the year, 42% higher than any previous year. Manufacturing as a share of the state gross product fell from 21.5% in 1997 to 18.7% in 2001. The influx of new residents, from which Tennessee's economy benefited throughout the 1990s, fell to an eleven-year low with the fall in job growth in 2001. As of 2002, manufacturing jobs made up 17% of total employment in Tennessee, still above the national average of 13%. Income from agricultural products currently comes more from dairy and beef cattle, and soybeans than from traditional crops, tobacco, cotton, and corn. Coming into the 21st century (1997 to 2001) the strongest growth in terms of contributions to state gross product has been in the various services sectors. Output from general services increased 27.4%, with financial services rising 29.5%, transportation and utilities sector up by 27.4%, government up by 22.8%, and trade up by 17.8%.

In 2004, Tennessee's gross state product (GSP) was $217.626 billion, of which manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $38.142 or 17.5% of GSP, followed by the real estate sector at $23.219 (10.6% of GSP), and health care and social assistance at $17.985 billion (8.2% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 471,316 small businesses in Tennessee. Of the 109,853 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 106,729 or 97.2% were small companies. An estimated 17,415 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, down 1.6% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 16,520, up 1.3% from 2003. There were 548 business bankruptcies in 2004, down 8.2% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 1,117 filings per 100,000 people, ranking Tennessee as first in the nation.


In 2005 Tennessee had a gross state product (GSP) of $227 billion which accounted for 1.8% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 18 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Tennessee had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $29,844. This ranked 35th in the United States and was 90% of the national average of $33,050. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.0%. Tennessee had a total personal income (TPI) of $175,880,336,000, which ranked 19th in the United States and reflected an increase of 5.9% from 2003. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 5.2%. Earnings of persons employed in Tennessee increased from $133,081,409,000 in 2003 to $141,576,558,000 in 2004, an increase of 6.4%. The 200304 national change was 6.3%.

The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 200204 in 2004 dollars was $38,550 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 14.9% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Tennessee 2,960,500, with approximately 161,200 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 5.4%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 2,780,300. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Tennessee was 12.4% in December 1982. The historical low was 3.8% in March 2000. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 4.5% of the labor force was employed in construction; 14.6% in manufacturing; 21.9% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 5.2% in financial activities; 11.3% in professional and business services; 12% in education and health services; 9.7% in leisure and hospitality services; and 15% in government.

The BLS reported that in 2005, a total of 128,000 of Tennessee's 2,368,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal mem-bers of a union. This represented 5.4% of those so employed, down from 6.7% in 2004, and well below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 156,000 workers (6.6%) in Tennessee were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. Tennessee is one of 22 states with a right-to-work law.

As of 1 March 2006, Tennessee did not have a state-mandated minimum wage law. Employees in that state however, were covered under federal minimum wage statutes. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 47.1% of the employed civilian labor force.


Tennessee ranked 32d among the 50 states in 2005 with farm receipts of over $2.5 billion. There were 85,000 farms in 2004.

From the antebellum period to the 1950s, cotton was the leading crop, followed by corn and tobacco. But during the early 1960s, soybeans surpassed cotton as the principal source of income. In 2004, 48.4 million bushels of soybeans, valued at $251.6 million, were harvested. Tobacco production in 2004 was 67.9 million lb. The main types of tobacco are burley, a fine leaf used primarily for cigarettes, and eastern and western dark-fired, which are used primarily for cigars, pipe tobacco, and snuff. The corn harvest in 2004 was about 86.1 million bushels, valued at $180.8 million. In 2004, cotton production was 990,000 bales, valued at $225.1.9 million. In 2004, soybeans, greenhouse/nursery products, and cotton together accounted for 30% of state farm receipts.


Cattle are raised throughout the state, but principally in middle and east Tennessee. In 1930, fewer than a million cattle and calves were raised on Tennessee farms; by 2005, there were an estimated 2.17 million cattle and calves, valued at $1.67 billion. During 2004, hogs and pigs numbered around 215,000 and were valued at $18.9 million. In 2003, Tennessee poultry farmers produced 948 million lb (431 million kg) of broilers, worth $322.3 million, and 290 million eggs, valued at $31.9 million. Tennessee dairy farmers produced 1.2 billion lb (0.5 billion kg) of milk from some 79,000 milk cows.


Fishing is a major attraction for sport but plays a relatively small role in the economic life of Tennessee. There are 17 TVA lakes and 7 other lakes, all maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers; 10 of these lakes span an area of 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) or more, and there are thousands of miles of creeks and mountain streams, all of which attract anglers. Tennessee has no closed season, except on trout.

In the 1970s, pollution from industrial waste dumping killed millions of fish and seriously endangered sport fishing. By the 1980s, however, industrial establishments in the state were complying more fully with the 1974 Water Pollution Act. In 2004, the state issued 1,028,386 sport fishing licenses. In 2004, Tennessee had 14 trout farms, selling 54,000 lb (24,500 kg). There are two national fish hatcheries in the state (Dale Hollow and Erwin), which together stock more than 1.9 million fish and produce more than 12 million trout eggs annually to support fishery mitigation efforts.


Forests covered 14,404,000 acres (5,827,000 hectares) in 2004, or more than 50% of the state's total land area. Commercial timber-lands in 2004 totaled 12,396,000 acres (5,017,000 hectares). In 2004, 86% of the forested area was privately owned, 10% federally owned, 3% state-owned, and 1% municipally owned. The counties of the Cumberland Plateau and Highland Rim are the major sources of timber products, and in Lewis, Perry, Polk, Scott, Sequatchie, Unicoi, and Wayne counties, more than 75% of the total area is commercial forest.

About 96% of Tennessee's timber is in hardwoods, and nearly one-half of that is in white and red oak. Of the soft woods, pineshortleaf, loblolly, Virginia, pitch, and whiteaccounts for 80%. Red cedar accounts for about 5% of the soft wood supply. Total lumber production in 2004 was 891 million board ft.

Wood products manufacturing is among the state's largest basic industries. The wood products industry in Tennessee falls into three main categories: paper and similar products, lumber and similar products, and furniture. Manufacturing uses only about a third of the wood grown by forests in Tennessee each year. The remaining two-thirds continues to accumulate on aging trees or is lost through decomposition of diseased and dead trees. The most common method of cutting timber in Tennessee has long been "high-grading," that is, cutting only the most valuable trees and leaving those of inferior quality and value. Clearcutting, patch cutting, and group selection are silviculturally preferable, but, with the exception of clearcutting on industry lands, are rarely practiced.


According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by Tennessee in 2003 was $606 million, a decrease from 2002 of about 6.5%. The USGS data ranked Tennessee as 23rd among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for over 1.5% of total US output.

According to the preliminary data for 2003 crushed stone was the state's top nonfuel mineral commodity, accounting for over 50% of all nonfuel minerals produced, by value. In second place was cement (portland and masonry), followed by construction sand and gravel, zinc and ball clay. By volume, Tennessee in 2003, was the nation's leading producer of ball clay and gemstones. The state also ranked third in zinc and was ninth in the production of industrial stone and gravel.

Preliminary data for 2003 showed production of crushed stone to total 53.5 million metric tons, with a value of $321 million, while construction sand and gravel output that year totaled 9.7 million metric tons, valued at $54.8 million. Ball clay production in 2003 totaled 660,000 metric tons, with a valued of $28.1 million, with industrial sand and gravel output at 1.04 million metric tons, valued at $22.5 million.. In 2003, gemstone production consisted largely of cultured freshwater pearls and mother-of-pearl derived from freshwater mussel shells. The state was home to the nation's only freshwater pearl farm.


The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is the principal supplier of power in the state, providing electricity to more than 100 cities and 50 rural cooperatives. As of 2003, Tennessee had 94 electrical power service providers, of which 62 were publicly owned and 25 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, three were investor owned, one was federally operated and three were owners of independent generators that sold directly to customers. As of that same year there were 2,923,615 retail customers. Of that total, 45,628 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 848,844 customers, while publicly owned providers had 2,029,100 customers. There were 40 federal customers and three were independent generator or "facility" customers.

Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 20.893 million kW, with total production that same year at 92.221 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 96.2% came from electric utilities, with the remainder coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 54.921 billion kWh (59.6%), came from coal-fired plants, with nuclear plants in second place at 24.152 billion kWh (26.2%) and hydroelectric plants in third at 12.003 billion kWh (13%). Other renewable power sources, natural gas, pumped storage and petroleum fired plants accounted for the remaining output.

As of 2006, Tennessee had two operating nuclear power plants: the Sequoyah plant near Chattanooga and the Watts Bar plant between Chattanooga and Knoxville. Both plants are operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Tennessee in 2004, had 32 producing coal mines, 20 of which were surface operations and 12 were underground. Coal production that year totaled 2,887,000 short tons, up from 2,564,000 short tons in 2003. Of the total produced in 2004, surface mines accounted for 2,061,000 short tons. Recoverable coal reserves in 2004 totaled 26 million short tons. One short ton equals 2,000 lb (0.907 metric tons). Surface mine operators are now required to reclaim mined land. Most of the coal mined in the state is used for producing electricity, although some is used for home heating.

As of 2004, Tennessee had proven crude oil reserves of under 1% of all proven US reserves, while output that same year averaged 1,000 barrels per day. Including federal offshore domains, the state that year ranked 28th (27th excluding federal offshore) in production among the 31 producing states. In 2004 Tennessee had 400 producing oil wells and accounted for less than 1% of all US production. As of 2005, the state had one refinery with a crude oil distillation capacity of 180,000 barrels per day.

In 2004, Tennessee had 280 producing natural gas and gas condensate wells. In 2003 (the latest year for which data was available), marketed gas production (all gas produced excluding gas used for repressuring, vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed) totaled 1.803 billion cu ft (.051 billion cu m). There was no data available on the state's proven reserves of natural gas.


On the eve of the Civil War, only 1% of Tennessee's population was employed in manufacturing, mostly in the iron, cotton, lumber, and flour-milling industries. Rapid industrial growth took place during the 20th century, however, and by 1981, Tennessee ranked third among the southeastern states and 15th in the United States in value of shipments. Tennessee's four major metropolitan areas, Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, and collectively employ the largest share of all the state's industrial workers.

According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, Tennessee's manufacturing sector covered some 21 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $125.530 billion. Of that total, transportation equipment manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $26.256 billion. It was followed by computer and electronic equipment manufacturing at $14.584 billion; food manufacturing at $13.293 billion; chemical manufacturing at $12.858 billion; and machinery manufacturing at $8.926 billion.

In 2004, a total of 384,152 people in Tennessee were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 286,806 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the transportation equipment manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 58,023, with 45,837 actual production workers. It was followed by food manufacturing at 36,361 employees (25,980 actual production workers); plastics and rubber products manufacturing at 31,118 employees (24,628 actual production workers); machinery manufacturing at 30,169 employees (22,892 actual production workers); and chemical manufacturing with 25,918 employees (13,339 actual production workers).

ASM data for 2004 showed that Tennessee's manufacturing sector paid $14.808 billion in wages. Of that amount, the transportation equipment manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $2.698 billion. It was followed by chemical manufacturing at $1.489 billion; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $1.248 billion; food manufacturing at $1.217 billion; and plastics and rubber products manufacturing at $1.159 billion.


Tennessee has been an important inland commercial center for some 60 years. According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, Tennessee's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $97.7 billion from 7,566 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 4,886 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 2,166 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 514 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $44.2 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $42.4 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $11.07 billion.

In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Tennessee was listed as having 24,029 retail establishments with sales of $60.1 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: gasoline stations (3,339); clothing and clothing accessories stores (3,017); motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (2,974); miscellaneous store retailers (2,783); and food and beverage stores (2,676). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $16.2 billion, followed by general merchandise stores at $10.2 billion; food and beverage stores at $7.4 billion; and gasoline stations at $5.5 billion. A total of 304,652 people were employed by the retail sector in Tennessee that year.

Exporters located in Tennessee exported $19.06 billion in merchandise during 2005. Major exports included transportation equipment, chemicals, and non-electric machinery.


The Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs is a division of the state's Department of Commerce and Insurance. Its mission is to serve and protect consumers from deceptive business practices. The Division's activities include consumer complaint mediation, litigation for violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, consumer education, investigation, registration of health clubs, and advise the legislature on legislation.

Because the Division of Consumer Affairs is under the state's Department of Commerce, the Tennessee Attorney General's Office has limited authority in regards to consumer affairs, although the office does have a Consumer Advocate and Protection Division. While the Attorney General's Office can initiate civil proceedings, its ability to initiate criminal proceedings is limited and must be done in conjunction with a local district attorney. In addition, the Office's ability to represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies is also limited, and it has no authority to administer consumer protection and education programs, or to handle formal consumer complaints. However, the Office can exercise broad subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office cannot act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own, but is authorized to: initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; initiate criminal proceedings; and represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.

The offices of the Division of Consumer Affairs and the Consumer Advocate and Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney general are located in Nashville.


The first bank in Tennessee was the Bank of Nashville, chartered in 1807. Four years later, the Bank of the State of Tennessee was chartered at Knoxville. Branches were established at Nashville, Jonesboro, Clarksville, and Columbia. In 1817, nearly a dozen more banks were chartered in various frontier towns. The Civil War curtailed banking operations, but the industry began again immediately after cessation of hostilities.

As of June 2005, Tennessee had 202 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, in addition to 121 state-chartered and 85 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Memphis market area, which includes portions of Mississippi and Arkansas accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 52 institutions and $26.946 billion in deposits, followed by the Nashville-Davidson-Murfeesboro market area, with 49 institutions and $25.208 billion in deposits. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 11.9 of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $10.877 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 88.1% or $80.600 billion in assets held.

The median percentage of past-due/nonaccrual loans to total loans stood at 1.71% as of fourth quarter 2005, down from 1.77% in 2004 and 2.43% in 2003. The median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates offered to savers and the higher rates charged on loans) for insured institutions stood at 4.24% as of fourth quarter 2005, up from 4.23% in 2004 and 4.19% in 2003.

Regulation of Tennessee's state-chartered banks and other state-chartered financial institutions is the responsibility of the state's Department of Financial Institutions.


In 2000, 34 property and casualty and 20 life insurance companies had home offices in Tennessee. Some 4.4 million individual life insurance policies worth over $245.8 billion were in force in 2004; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was about $421 billion. The average coverage amount is $55,400 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled at over $1.2 billion.

As of 2003, there were 17 property and casualty and 15 life and health insurance companies domiciled in the state. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled over $7.9 billion. That year, there were 17,623 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $2.45 billion.

In 2004, 50% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 6% held individual policies, and 28% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 14% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 21% for single coverage and 28% for family coverage. The state offers a three-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.

In 2003, there were over 3.8 million auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Insurance is not required, but motorists are expected to hold financial responsibility in the event of an accident. Liability limits in the state include bodily injury liability of up to $25,000 per individual and $50,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $10,000. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $649.71.


There are no securities exchanges in Tennessee. In 2005, there were 870 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 2,650 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 106 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 38 NASDAQ companies, 39 NYSE listings, and 5 AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had seven Fortune 500 companies; Caremark Rx (based in Nashville) ranked first in the state and 60th in the nation with revenues of over $32.9 billion, followed by FedEx (Memphis), HCA-The Healthcare Company (Nashville), UnumProvident (Chattanooga), and Dollar General (Goodlettsville). All five of these top companies are listed on the NYSE.


The state budget is prepared annually by the Budget Division of the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration and submitted by the governor to the legislature every January. The fiscal year (FY) lasts from l July through 30 June.

Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $10.2 billion for resources and $9.8 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Tennessee were $9.8 billion.


In 2005, Tennessee collected $10,007 million in tax revenues or $1,678 per capita, which placed it 45th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Sales taxes accounted for 61.1% of the total; selective sales taxes, 15.3%; individual income taxes, 1.6%; corporate income taxes, 8.1%; and other taxes, 14.0%.

As of 1 January 2006, Tennessee state income tax was limited to dividends and interest income only. The state taxes corporations at a flat rate of 6.5%.

In 2004, local property taxes amounted to $3,585,440,000 or $608 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state 41st highest nationally. Tennessee has no state level property taxes.

Tennessee taxes retail sales at a rate of 7%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 2.75%, making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 9.75%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is taxable, but at a lower rate. The tax on cigarettes is 20 cents per pack, which ranks 48th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Tennessee taxes gasoline at 21.4 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Tennessee citizens received $1.30 in federal spending.


Since World War II, Tennessee has aggressively sought new business and industry. The Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) helps prospective firms locate industrial sites in communities throughout the state, and its representatives work with firms in Canada, Europe, and the Far East, as well as with domestic businesses. The department also administers special Appalachian regional programs in 50 counties and directs the state Office of Diversity Business Enterprise.

Tennessee's right-to-work law and relatively weak labor movement constitute important industrial incentives, as well as a low state tax burden. The counties and municipalities, moreover, offer tax exemptions on land, capital improvements, equipment, and machinery.


The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 8.7 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 13.5 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 15.2 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 83.4% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 82% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.

The crude death rate in 2003 was 9.8 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 279.9; cancer, 215.9; cerebrovascular diseases, 68.7; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 51.9; and diabetes, 30.2. The mortality rate from HIV in-

TennesseeState Government Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)
Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue 23,920,818 4,059.19
  General revenue 20,901,310 3,546.80
    Intergovernmental revenue 9,016,698 1,530.07
    Taxes 9,529,171 1,617.03
      General sales 5,845,206 991.89
      Selective sales 1,499,456 254.45
      License taxes 1,045,665 177.44
      Individual income tax 139,991 23.76
      Corporate income tax 694,798 117.90
      Other taxes 304,055 51.60
    Current charges 1,537,571 260.91
    Miscellaneous general revenue 817,870 138.79
  Utility revenue - -
  Liquor store revenue - -
  Insurance trust revenue 3,019,508 512.39
Total expenditure 22,164,577 3,761.17
  Intergovernmental expenditure 5,301,665 899.65
  Direct expenditure 16,862,912 2,861.52
    Current operation 13,268,720 2,251.61
    Capital outlay 1,297,615 220.20
    Insurance benefits and repayments 1,566,111 265.76
    Assistance and subsidies 548,261 93.04
    Interest on debt 182,205 30.92
Exhibit: Salaries and wages 2,979,900 505.67
Total expenditure 22,164,577 3,761.17
  General expenditure 20,593,636 3,494.59
    Intergovernmental expenditure 5,301,665 899.65
    Direct expenditure 15,291,971 2,594.94
  General expenditures, by function:
    Education 6,477,758 1,099.23
    Public welfare 8,357,217 1,418.16
    Hospitals 342,944 58.20
    Health 962,310 163.30
    Highways 1,545,491 262.26
    Police protection 142,127 24.12
    Correction 596,095 101.15
    Natural resources 224,643 38.12
    Parks and recreation 119,821 20.33
    Government administration 495,428 84.07
    Interest on general debt 182,205 30.92
    Other and unallocable 1,147,597 194.74
  Utility expenditure 4,830 .82
  Liquor store expenditure - -
  Insurance trust expenditure 1,566,111 265.76
Debt at end of fiscal year 3,580,940 607.66
Cash and security holdings 31,003,166 5,261.02

fection was 6 per 100,000 population. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 13.1 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 59% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 26.1% of state residents were smokers, representing the third-highest percentage in the nation (following Kentucky and West Virginia).

In 2003, Tennessee had 125 community hospitals with about 20,300 beds. There were about 813,000 patient admissions that year and 10 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 12,400 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,187. Also in 2003, there were about 337 cer-tified nursing facilities in the state with 37,958 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 88.3%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 71.5% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. Tennessee had 262 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 874 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there were a total of 3,027 dentists in the state.

Tennessee has four medical schools: two in Nashville (Vanderbilt University and Meharry Medical School), one at Johnson City (East Tennessee State University), and one at Memphis (University of Tennessee). The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is well-know for its ongoing work in developing new treatments for genetic and terminal diseases among children.

With 28% of residents enrolled in Medicaid programs in 2004, Tennessee ranked with California and the District of Columbia as having the second highest percentage of residents on Medicaid (following Maine). About 15% were enrolled in Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 14% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $8 million.


In 2004, about 168,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $209. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 849,703 persons (374,011 households); the average monthly benefit was about $92.35 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $941.6 million.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. Tennessee's TANF program is called Families First. In 2004, the state program had 190,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $165 million in fiscal year 2003.

In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 1,069,600 Tennessee residents. This number included 627,080 retired workers, 112,330 widows and widowers, 171,850 disabled workers, 55,900 spouses, and 102,440 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 18% of the total state population and 94.2% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $929; widows and widowers, $843; disabled workers, $862; and spouses, $459. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $472 per month; children of deceased workers, $593; and children of disabled workers, $255. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 160,521 Tennessee residents, averaging $377 a month.


In 2004, there were an estimated 2,595,060 housing units in the state, 2,314,688 of which were occupied; 70% were owner-occupied. About 68.4% of all units were single-family, detached homes. Electricity and utility gas were the most common energy sources for heating. It was estimated that 111,374 units lacked telephone service, 11,294 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 10,036 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.48 members.

In 2004, 44,800 new privately owned housing units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $110,198. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $954. Renters paid a median of $564 per month. In September 2005, the state received grants of over $1.6 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $26.9 million in community development block grants.


The state assumed responsibility for education in 1873, when the legislature established a permanent school fund and made schools free to all persons between the ages of 6 and 21. In 1917, an eight-year elementary and four-year secondary school system was set up. Thirty years later, enactment of the state sales and use tax enabled state authorities to increase teachers' salaries by about 100% and to provide capital funds for a variety of expanded educational programs. In the early 1980s, Tennessee further improved its educational system by offering incentive pay to its teachers.

The 21st Century Schools Program adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1992 provided K-12 public schools with nearly $1 billion in new state dollarsan increase of 90%. The program repealed 3,700 state rules and regulations, gave communities wide discretion over education decision-making, made local school systems more accountable for results, and funded 5,450 high-tech classrooms in Tennessee's public schools. In 1996/97, Tennessee pioneered a statewide network connecting every public school to museums, libraries, and databases available on the World Wide Web. Tennessee's Literacy 2000 initiative (begun in 1987) improved the adult literacy rate by 24% in its first four years.

In 2004, 82.9% of Tennessee residents age 25 and older were high school graduates; 24.3% had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher. The total enrollment for fall 2002 in Tennessee's public schools stood at 928,000. Of these, 674,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 254,000 attended high school. Approximately 70.7% of the students were white, 25% were black, 2.8% were Hispanic, 1.3% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.2% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 925,000 in fall 2003 and expected to be 929,000 by fall 2014, an increase of 0.1% during the period 200214. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $6.7 billion, or $6,504 per student, the seventh-lowest among the 50 states. There were 87,055 students enrolled in 551 private schools in fall 2003. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in Tennessee scored 271 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.

As of fall 2002, there were 261,899 students enrolled in college or graduate school; minority students comprised 21.4% of total postsecondary enrollment. In 2005 Tennessee had 95 degree-granting institutions. The University of Tennessee system has principal campuses at Knoxville, Memphis, Martin, and Chattanooga. Components of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee include Memphis State University (the largest), Tennessee Technological University at Cookeville, East Tennessee State University at Johnson City, Austin Peay State University at Clarksville, Tennessee State University at Nashville, and Middle Tennessee State University at Murfreesboro, along with 13 two-year community colleges located throughout the state. Well-known private colleges are Vanderbilt University at Nashville, the University of the South at Sewanee, and Rhodes College at Memphis. Vanderbilt has schools of medicine, law, divinity, nursing, business, and education, as well as an undergraduate program. Loan and grant programs are administered by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation.


The Tennessee Arts Commission was created in 1967 and offers several grant opportunities for programs including Arts Education, the Individual Artist Fellowship, and Arts Build Communities. As of 2005, the Greater Memphis Arts Council was the eighth-largest United Arts Fund. Active in promoting the cultural and economic growth of the city, members help to encourage new businesses to relocate in Memphis based on the city's cultural advantages. In 2005, the Tennessee Arts Commission and other Tennessee arts organizations received 19 grants totaling $822,800 from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Humanities Tennessee, founded in 1973, sponsors a number of annual programs. As of 2005, annual programs included the Southern Festival of Books, the Tennessee Young Writers' Workshop, the Tennessee Community History Program, and Letters About Literature. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed $1,461,572 for 25 state programs.

Each of Tennessee's major cities has a symphony orchestra. The best known are the Memphis Symphony and the Nashville Symphony, the latter of which makes its home in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. The Nashville Symphony began in 1920 as The Symphony Societya group of amateur and professional musical artists. In 2005, the symphony's Principal Conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn passed away; he had conducted the symphony for over 20 years. Other buildings included in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center are three performing arts theaters and the State Museum. As of 2005, the Tennessee State museum was considered to be one of the largest state museums in the United States. The museum houses permanent collections highlighting the state's history, as well hosts special exhibits such as the 2006 Old Glory: An American Treasure Comes Home, an exhibition celebrating the return of the Civil War Old Glory flag to Tennessee after more than 100 years. The major operatic troupes are Nashville Opera, Knoxville Opera, and Opera Memphis. Opera Memphis celebrated 50 years of performing in 2006.

Nashville is known as "Music City, USA," the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, and numerous recording studios are located there. Among the leading art galleries are the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art in Nashville, the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, and the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis founded in 1916the oldest and largest fine arts museum in the state. The Brooks Museum's permanent collection highlights a variety of genres and eras including the Italian Renaissance and Baroque, French Impressionists, and a number of 20th century artists.

There are several state and local festivals reflecting the music and arts of the state. Elvis Week, in August, is celebrated each year in Memphis. Graceland is the site of the annual Elvis Presley Birthday Celebration (January) and Christmas at Graceland. The Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Force, created by singer Dolly Parton, presents several festivals and musical events each year. The Tennessee Association of Craft Artists presents three annual fairs. The Memphis in May International Festival includes the following programs: the Beale Street Music Festival, International Week, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and Sunset Symphony (featuring the Memphis Symphony).


For the fiscal year ending in June 2001, Tennessee had 184 public library systems, with a total of 285 libraries, of which 101 were branches. In that same year, the state's public libraries had 10,080,000 volumes of books and serial publications, and a total circulation of 21,227,000. The system also had 335,000 audio and 299,000 video items, 9,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and two bookmobiles. Libraries and library associations were formed soon after Tennessee became a state. The Dickson Library at Charlotte was founded in 1811, and the Nashville Library Company in 1813. Not until 1854, however, was the first state-maintained library established. Andrew Johnson, the governor, requested a library appropriation of $5,000, telling legislators that he wanted other Tennesseans to have the opportunities that had been denied him.

Today, the institution he founded, the State Library at Nashville, with more than 637,371 volumes, has a renowned collection of state materials and is the repository for state records. In all, there are 16 public library systems in Tennessee. Their combined book stock exceeds 9.6 million volumes, and their total circulation is over 21 million. The largest libraries are the Vanderbilt University Library at Nashville (2,512,072 volumes), Memphis-Shelby County Library (1,938,685), Memphis State University Libraries (1,067,624), University of Tennessee at Knoxville Library (2,013,273), Knoxville-Knox County Library (865,088), and Chattanooga-Hamilton County Library (806,285). In fiscal year 2001, operating income for the state's public library system totaled $75,791,000 and included $438,000 in federal funds and $1,483,000 in state funds.

Tennessee has more than 127 museums and historic sites. The Tennessee State Museum in Nashville displays exhibits on pioneer life, military traditions, evangelical religion, and presidential lore. The Museum of Appalachia, near Norris, attempts an authentic replica of early Appalachian life, with more than 20,000 pioneer relics on display in several log cabins. Displays of solar, nuclear, and other energy technologies are featured at the American Museum of Science and Energy, at Oak Ridge. There are floral collections at the Goldsmith Civic Garden Center in Memphis, and the Tennessee Botanical Gardens and Fine Arts Center in Nashville.


The first postal service across the state, by stagecoach, began operations in the early 1790s.

As of 2004, 92.8% of Tennessee's occupied housing units had telephones. Additionally, by June of that same year there were 2,337,367 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 54.9% of Tennessee households had a computer and 45.6% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 464,917 high-speed lines in Tennessee, 414,608 residential and 50,309 for business.

Tennessee had 30 major AM stations and 80 major FM stations in 2005. There were 31 television stations in operation in 2005. In 1999, the Nashville area had 826,090 television households, 63% of which received cable. The Memphis area had 623,110 television homes, 64% of which ordered cable.

About 81,858 Internet domain names were registered in the state as of 2000.


In 2005, there were 14 morning newspapers, 12 evening dailies, and 18 Sunday papers.

The following table lists leading Tennessee newspapers with their approximate daily circulation in 2005:

Chattanooga Times Free Press (m,S) 86,968 99,775
Knoxville News-Sentinel (m,S) 113,994 153,278
Memphis Commercial Appeal (m,S) 179,468 235,889
Nashville Tennessean (m,S) 170,361 238,126

Several dozen trade publications, such as Southern Lumberman, appear in Nashville, the state's major publishing center, where there is also a thriving religious publishing industry.


In 2006, there were over 4,525 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 3,275 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations.

Nashville is a center for Tennessee cultural and educational organizations. Among them are the American Association for State and Local History, the International Bluegrass Music Association, the Western Music Association, the Country Music Association, the Tennessee Historical Commission, and the Gospel Music Association. The Center for Southern Folklore is based in Memphis. The Tennessee Folklore Society is in Murfreesboro.

Professional and business associations include the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, the Southern Cotton Association, National Cotton Council of America, the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainers' Association, and National Hardwood Lumber Manufacturing Association.

Several Christian denominations and organizations have their headquarters or major departmental offices in Tennessee. These include AMG International, Church of God World Missions, Gideons International, the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the National Baptist Convention-USA, the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, the United Methodist Youth Organization, and the World Convention of Churches of Christ.


The natural beauty of Tennessee, combined with the activities of the Department of Tourist Development, has made tourism a major industry in the state. Tennessee was the first state to create a government department devoted solely to the promotion of tourism. In 2003, Tennessee employed 141,200 people in tourism related jobs.

Leading tourist attractions include Fort Loudoun, built by the British in 1757; the American Museum of Science and Energy at Oak Ridge; the William Blount Mansion at Knoxville; the Beale Street Historic District in Memphis, home of W. C. Handy, the "father of the blues"; Graceland, the Memphis estate of Elvis Presley, the Sun Music Co. which produced Elvis' records, the National Civil Rights Museum; and Opryland USA and the Grand Ole Opry at Nashville. There are three presidential homesAndrew Johnson's at Greeneville, Andrew Jackson's Hermitage near Nashville, and James K. Polk's at Columbia. Pinson Mounds, near Jackson, offers outstanding archaeological treasures and the remains of an Indian city. Reservoirs and lakes attract thousands of anglers and water sports enthusiasts. The top attractions in 1998 included (with annual attendance records): Dollywood (2,200,000), Tennessee Aquarium (1,150,148), Bristol Motor Sports (1,050,000), Ober Gatlinburg (1,004,659), and Casey Jones Village (840,000). Memphis hosts the Memphis in May Festival which features jazz, barbecue, art and entertainment throughout the month. The Memphis Zoo is one of three zoos in the United States to feature pandas. Memphis is also home to Federal Express.

There are 33 state parks, almost all of which have camping facilities. Altogether, they cover 88,160 acres (35,678 hectares). Among the most visited state parks are the Meeman-Shelby Forest in Shelby County, Montgomery Bell in Dickson County, Cedars of Lebanon in Wilson County, and Natchez Trace in Henderson and Carroll counties. Cherokee National Park is the most visited national park in Tennessee (10,500,000). Extending into North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers 241,207 acres (97,613 hectares) in Tennessee and receives approximately nine million visitors annually. Dollywood Amusement Park is in Pigeon Forge in the Great Smoky Mountains. Other popular national parks include the TVA's Land Between the Lakes National Historic Park (2,081,053), Cumberland Gap National Historic Park (1,500,000), and Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park (1,022,500).


Tennessee has three major professional sports teams, the Titans of the National Football League, who relocated to Nashville from Houston before the 1997 season; the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League, who began play in 1999; and the Memphis Grizzlies, who relocated to Memphis from Vancouver in 2001. Minor league baseball teams play throughout the state including cities such as Chattanooga, Memphis, Elizabethton, Johnson City, Jackson, Kingsport, Knoxville, Greeneville, and Nashville.

Tennessee's colleges and universities provide the major fall and winter sports. The University of Tennessee Volunteers and Vanderbilt University Commodores, in the Southeastern Conference, compete nationally in football, basketball, and baseball. Austin Peay and Tennessee Technological universities belong to the Ohio Valley Conference. The University of Tennessee won the Sugar Bowl in 1943, 1971, 1986, and 1991, the Fiesta Bowl in 1999, and the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1996 and 1997. The Volunteers were named national champions in 1951 and then again in 1999. The University of Tennessee's women's basketball team, the Lady Vols, won National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) titles in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, and 1998. They have won more games than any other NCAA basketball team in the country. Other annual sporting events include the Iroquois steeplechase in Nashville in May and two NASCAR races at the Bristol Motor Speedway, one in March and one in August. Basketball Hall of Fame member Oscar Robertson and track and field legend Wilma Rudolph were both born and raised in Tennessee.


Andrew Jackson (b.South Carolina, 17671845), the seventh president, moved to Tennessee as a young man. He won renown in the War of 1812 and became the first Democratic president in 1828. Jackson's close friend and associate, James Knox Polk (b.North Carolina, 17951849), came to Tennessee at the age of 10. He was elected the nation's 11th president in 1844 and served one term. Andrew Johnson (b.North Carolina, 180875) also a Democrat, remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War and was elected vice president with Abraham Lincoln in 1864. He became president upon Lincoln's assassination in 1865 and served out his predecessor's second term. Impeached because of a dispute over Reconstruction policies and presidential power, Johnson escaped conviction by one vote in 1868. Albert Gore Jr. (b.Washington, DC, 1948), was elected vice president in 1992 and 1996 on the Democratic ticket with Bill Clinton; Gore, whose father was a prominent US senator from Tennessee, had previously served in the Senate as well.

Supreme Court justices from Tennessee include John Catron (b.Pennsylvania, 17861865), Howell Jackson (183295), James C. McReynolds (b.Kentucky, 18621946), and Edward T. Sanford (18651930). Tennesseans who became cabinet officials include Secretary of State Cordell Hull (18711955), secretaries of war John Eaton (17901856) and John Bell (17971869), Secretary of the Treasury George Campbell (b.Scotland, 17691848), and attorneys general Felix Grundy (b.Virginia, 17771840) and James C. McReynolds.

Other nationally prominent political figures from Tennessee are Cary Estes Kefauver (190363), two-term US senator who ran unsuccessfully for vice president in 1956 on the Democratic ticket; Albert Gore Sr. (190798), three-term member of the US Senate; and Howard Baker (b.1925), who in 1966 became the first popularly elected Republican senator in Tennessee history. Three Tennesseans have been speaker of the US House of Representatives: James K. Polk, John Bell, and Joseph W. Byrns (18691936). Nancy Ward (17381822) was an outstanding Cherokee leader, and Sue Shelton White (18871943) played a major role in the campaign for women's suffrage.

Tennessee history features several military leaders and combat heroes. John Sevier (b.Virginia, 17451815), the first governor of the state, defeated British troops at Kings Mountain in the Revolution. David "Davy" Crockett (17861836) was a frontiersman who fought the British with Jackson in the War of 1812. Sam Houston (b.Virginia, 17931863) also fought in the War of 1812 and was governor of Tennessee before migrating to Texas. Nathan Bedford Forrest (182177) and Sam Davis (184263) were heroes of the Civil War. Sergeant Alvin C. York (18871964) won the Medal of Honor for his bravery in World War I.

Cordell Hull was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945 for his work on behalf of the United Nations. In 1971, Earl W. Sutherland Jr. (b.Kansas 191575), a biomedical scientist at Vanderbilt University, won a Nobel Prize for his discoveries concerning the mechanisms of hormones. Outstanding educators include Philip Lindsey (17861855), a Presbyterian minister and first president of the University of Nashville, and Alexander Heard (b.Georgia, 1917), nationally known political scientist and chancellor of Vanderbilt University.

Famous Tennessee writers are Mary Noailles Murfree (18501922), who used the pseudonym Charles Egbert Craddock; influential poet and critic John Crowe Ransom (18881974); author and critic James Agee (190955), posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his novel A Death in the Family; poet Randall Jarrell (191465), winner of two National Book Awards; and Wilma Dykeman (b.1920), novelist and historian. Peter Taylor (Trenton, Tenn., 191794) won a Pulitzer in 1987 for A Summons to Memphis. Sportswriter Grantland Rice (18801954) was born in Murfreesboro.

Tennessee has long been a center of popular music. Musician and songwriter William C. Handy (18731958) wrote "St Louis Blues" and "Memphis Blues," among other classics. Bessie Smith (1898?1937) was a leading blues singer. Elvis Presley (b.Mississippi, 193577) fused rhythm-and-blues with country-and-western styles to become one of the most popular entertainers in US history. Other Tennessee-born singers are Dinah Shore (19171994), Aretha Franklin (b.1942), and Dolly Parton (b.1946). Morgan Freeman, star of movies including Driving Miss Daisy, was born in Memphis in 1937.


Atkins, Jonathan M. Parties, Politics, and the Sectional Conflict in Tennessee, 18321861. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1997.

Ballard, Michael B. U. S. Grant: The Making of a General, 18611863. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.

Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.

Feeney, Kathy. Tennessee Facts and Symbols. Mankato, Minn.: Bridgestone Books, 2000.

Hsiung, David C. Two Worlds in the Tennessee Mountains: Exploring the Origins of Appalachian Stereotypes. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1997.

Kosser, Michael. How Nashville Became Music City, U.S.A.: 50 Years of Music Row. Milwaukee, Wis.: Hal Leonard, 2006.

Lepa, Jack H. Breaking the Confederacy: The Georgia and Tennessee Campaigns of 1864. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2005.

Lovett, Bobby L. The Civil Rights Movement in Tennessee: A Narrative History. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2005.

Norman, Corrie E., and Don S. Armentrout (eds.). Religion in the Contemporary South: Changes, Continuities, and Contexts. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2005.

Olmstead, Marty. Hidden Tennessee. Berkeley, Calif.: Ulysses Press, 1999.

Patterson, Christine P. Haunting Memories: Echoes and Images of Tennessee's Past. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1996.

US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Tennessee, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.

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TENNESSEE. Since its founding, Tennessee has traditionally been divided into three sections: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. East Tennessee includes part of the Appalachian Mountains, which stretch from Alabama and Georgia northward through East Tennessee to New England; the Great Valley, which is to the west of the Appalachians, slanting north-eastward from Georgia through Tennessee into Virginia; and the Cumberland Plateau, which is to the west of the Great Valley, slanting from northeastern Alabama through Tennessee into southeastern Kentucky. The people of East Tennessee are often called "Overhills," because Tennessee was once part of North Carolina and was west over the mountains from the rest of North Carolina. Both the Cumberland Plateau and the Great Valley are fertile and ideal for growing many different crops; the Great Valley is well watered. The Tennessee Appalachian Mountains are rugged, with numerous small valleys occupied by small farms. The people of East Tennessee were from their first settlement an independent-minded group who valued hard work and self-reliance.

Middle Tennessee extends from the Cumberland Plateau westward to the Highland Rim. The people who live on the Highland Rim are often called "Highlanders." The lowlands include the Nashville Basin, are well watered, and are noted for their agriculture, especially for cotton and tobacco. The Highland Rim features many natural wonders, including many caves and underground streams.

Situated between East Tennessee and West Tennessee, Middle Tennessee has sometimes seemed to be a divided culture. Before the Civil War, it had more slaves than East Tennessee, but fewer than West Tennessee, and it tended to favor the small farm tradition of the east rather than the plantation system of the west. It was divided on its support for outlawing slavery, but after Reconstruction its politics were controlled by a political spoils system run by Democrats who controlled Tennessee until the 1970s.

West Tennessee lies in the Gulf Coastal Plain, a region that stretches northward from the Gulf of Mexico to Illinois along the Mississippi River. It was in this region that many local Native Americans made their last efforts to retain their remaining lands by petitioning the federal government for help. Land speculators of the early 1800s created towns and plantations throughout the area, and they brought with them the slave culture of North Carolina. Historians differ on the exact numbers, but between 40 percent and 60 percent of the people who lived in West Tennessee were slaves during the antebellum period. The plantations were notoriously cruel.

Tennessee is nicknamed the "Big Bend State" because of the unusual course of the Tennessee River. It flows southwest from the Appalachian Mountains through the Great Valley into Alabama. There, it bends north-westward, reenters Tennessee at Pickwick Lake, and flows north along the western edge of the Highland Rim into Kentucky, eventually joining the Ohio River. During the 1930s, the United States government established the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a project to provide jobs for people who had lost their jobs during the Great Depression and intended to control flooding and to provide hydroelectricity to Tennessee and its neighbors. It was controversial, with many criticizing it as a waste of money, and others insisting that it was destroying Tennessee's environment. The TVA built dams on the Tennessee River and the Cumberland River, creating new lakes and reservoirs, as well as a system of over 650 miles of waterways that boats used to ship products around the state.

Tennessee is bordered on the north by Kentucky; along its northeastern border is Virginia. Its eastern boundary is along the western border of North Carolina. Its southern border extends along the northern borders of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Its western border is met by Arkansas in the south and Missouri in the north.


Tennessee has a complex ancient past; there is evidence throughout the state of numerous cultures that have come and passed in the regions now within its borders. Over 100,000 years ago, people crossed into North America from northeastern Asia. Traces of these earliest peoples are hard to find, partly because the glaciers of an ice age about 11,000 years ago would have destroyed their remains. Tennessee offers tantalizing hints as to what some of these migrants were like, because in some of Tennessee's caves are the remains of ancient cave dwellers. In West Tennessee there are caves that hold evidence of ancient fishermen. This evidence may represent several different

cultures, but each seems to have practiced a religion. Their cave dwellings contain spearheads as well as fishhooks, and they may have hunted the big game of the Great Plains such as mammoths, camels, and giant bison.

About 9000 b.c., nomadic peoples known as Paleo-Indians began crossing North America. They were primarily hunters; in the Great Plains they hunted the large land mammals that roved in herds across grasslands. In Tennessee they would have hunted the same animals until the great forests covered much of Tennessee around 7000 b.c. They likely hunted bison and deer in these forests. Their spear points suggest that several different cultural groups of Paleo-Indians crossed the Mississippi into and through Tennessee.

Around 5000 b.c., another group of people, who archaeologists call Archaic Indians, may have begun migrating into Tennessee. The first Archaic Indians of the Midwest made a significant technological advance over the Paleo-Indians by developing the atlatl, a handheld device with a groove in which to hold a spear. It enabled a person to throw a spear with far greater force and accuracy than by throwing a spear with a bare hand. Archaeological remains from about 2000 b.c. show signs of people settling throughout Tennessee. They began making pottery that increased in sophistication over the next few thousand years.

Homes were made of log posts with walls of clay. Communities enlarged and engaged in public works projects to clear land, plant crops, and build places of worship. Pottery was commonplace and was used for cooking, carrying, and storage.

These ancient peoples began a practice that has puzzled and fascinated archaeologists: they built mounds, sometimes seven stories high. Few of the mounds that survive have been explored by scientists, but those that have reveal people to have been buried in them, sometimes just one, sometimes many. They have been mummified and have carved animals and people, as well as food, placed around them, indicating a belief in an afterlife in which game and food would be wanted, at least symbolically. That the different cultures who built these mounds had priests is clear, and clear also is that they had a highly developed government that would have included many villages and towns.

By about a.d. 800, maize had become a crop, probably brought to Tennessee from central Mexico. By this time, the people in Tennessee were ancestors of modern Native Americans. They continued the mound-building tradition and were farmers. They lived in villages consisting of people related by blood, but they may have insisted that people marry outside their villages much as the Native Americans did when the first Europeans explored Tennessee. Their governments probably consisted of federations of villages, governed by a high chief.

When Hernando de Soto explored southern and western Tennessee in 1540, the peoples had undergone much turmoil for more than a century. The Mound Builders had been driven away, exterminated, or absorbed into invading tribes. Three language groups were represented in the area: Algonquian, Iroquoian, and Muskogean. Among the Iroquoian group were the Cherokees, who had probably migrated from the north into Tennessee. They had a settled society that claimed East and Middle Tennessee as their territory. The Iroquois Confederacy to the north claimed the Cherokees' territory, but the Cherokees resisted them. The Muskogean cultural tribes, Creeks and Chickasaws, claimed the rest of Tennessee, with the Creeks contesting the Cherokees for some of Middle Tennessee. The Chickasaws of western Tennessee were very well organized, with strong leadership and excellent military skills. The capital of the Cherokees was Echota (aka Chota), a city that was declared "bloodless," meaning no fighting was allowed. Weapons were not allowed either. It was a place created by the Native Americans to settle their disputes through diplomacy, and in the Cherokee and Creek tribes, in particular, skilled diplomats were awarded honors equal to those of skilled warriors.

Each village had a main house ("town house") where religious ceremonies took place. Villages consisted of clay houses, usually gathered around the main house. By the late 1600s, the Native Americans had horses, cattle, pigs, and chickens, imports from Europe. They farmed their lands and hunted wild game in their forests, but the Cherokees were fast developing livestock farming. Some of the Shawnees, of the Algonquian language group, had moved into the Cumberland Valley to escape the Iroquois Confederacy. The Cherokees and Creeks viewed them as interlopers, but the Shawnees had little choice; the Iroquois Confederacy sometimes settled its differences with its neighbors with genocide. In 1714, the Cherokee, Creek, and Iroquois Confederates drove the Shawnees out; the Shawnees sought sanctuary in the Ohio Valley. War with the Iroquois Confederacy often seemed imminent for the Cherokees, Creeks, and Chickasaws, but during the 1700s new threats came to preoccupy those Native Americans.


By 1673, the French were trading to the north of Tennessee and had antagonized the Chickasaws to the point that the Chickasaws killed Frenchmen on sight. That year, a Virginian, Abraham Wood, commissioned explorer John Needham to visit the Cherokees west of the Appalachian Mountains in what is now Tennessee. John Needham visited the Cherokees twice, and he was murdered by them. His servant Gabriel Arthur faced being burned alive so bravely that his captors let him live.

In 1730, Alexander Cuming of North Carolina led an expedition across the Appalachians to make the acquaintance with the Cherokees of the Great Valley. He impressed the Native Americans with his boldness and eloquence, as well as his numerous weapons, and the chiefs agreed to affiliate themselves with England. Cuming took Cherokee representatives to England, where they were well treated. Among them was Attakullakulla (meaning "Little Carpenter"), who, upon returning home, became a great diplomat who several times prevented bloodshed.

In 1736, the French, having nearly wiped out the Natchez tribe, invaded West Tennessee with intention of eradicating the Chickasaws. The Chickasaws were fore-warned by English traders and decisively defeated the French invaders. The French built Fort Assumption where Memphis now stands, as part of their effort to control the Chickasaws. They failed. In another war in 1752, the Chickasaws again beat the French. These victories of the Chickasaws were important for all the Native Americans in Tennessee, because a 1738 epidemic had killed about 50 percent of the Cherokees, leaving them too weak to guarantee the safety of their neighbors. From that time on, Cherokee politics were chaotic, with different chiefs gaining ascendancy with very different views at various times, making Cherokee policies wildly swing from one view to another.

During the Revolutionary War (1775–1783), some Cherokees allied themselves with Shawnees, Creeks, and white outlaws, and tried to retake East Tennessee. They were defeated by American forces under the command of Colonel Evan Shelby, who drove them into West Tennessee. In 1794, the Native Americans of Tennessee united in a war against the United States and were utterly defeated; they became subject to American rule. These battles had been over possession of land, and in 1794, the land belonged to the United States. On 1 July 1796, Tennessee became the sixteenth state of the United States, taking its name from Tenasie, the name of a Cherokee village.

Civil War

In the 1850s, the matter of slavery was a source of much conflict in Tennessee. The settlers in the east wanted it outlawed. Slave owners ignored laws regulating slavery and turned West Tennessee into a vast land of plantations worked by African American slaves. Literacy was forbidden to the slaves, and they were not even allowed to worship God, although they often did in secret. Newspapers and politicians campaigned against slavery in Tennessee, but others defended slavery with passion.

On 9 February 1861, Tennessee held a plebiscite on the matter of secession, with the results favoring remaining in the Union 69,387 to 57,798. The governor of Tennessee, Isham G. Harris, refused to accept the results and committed Tennessee to the Confederacy. He organized another plebiscite on whether Tennessee should become an independent state, with independence winning 104,913 to 47,238. He declared that the result meant Tennessee should join the Confederacy. The Confederacy made its intentions clear by executing people accused of sympathizing with the Union. Over 135,000 Tennesseans joined the Confederate army; over 70,000 joined the Union army, with 20,000 free blacks and escaped slaves. The surprise attack at Shiloh on 6–7 April 1862 seemed to give the Confederacy the upper hand in Tennessee, but the Union troops outfought their attackers. After the Stone's River Battle (near Murfreesboro) from 31 December 1862–2 January 1863, the Union dominated Tennessee. Over 400 battles were fought in Tennessee during the Civil War. The lands of Middle and West Tennessee were scourged. Fields became massive grounds of corpses, farms were destroyed, trees were denuded, and Tennessean refugees clogged roads by the thousands.

On 24 July 1866, Tennessee, which had been the last state to join the Confederacy, became the first former Confederate state to rejoin the United States. Prior to readmission, on 25 February 1865, Tennessee passed an amendment to its constitution outlawing slavery. Schools were soon accepting African Americans as well as whites and Native Americans, but in December 1866, the Ku Klux Klan was founded at Pulaski, Tennessee. Directed by "Grand Cyclops" Nathan Bedford Forrest, it murdered African Americans and white people who were sympathetic to them, raped white female schoolteachers for teaching African Americans, burned schools, and terrified voters, in resistance to Reconstruction.

Segregated Society

By 1900, Tennessee had a population of 2,020,616. It was racially segregated. In a decades-long effort to deny education to African Americans, the state managed to create an illiteracy rate among whites and blacks that was the third worst in the nation. Under the direction of Governor Malcolm R. Patterson (1907–1911), in 1909, the state enacted a general education bill.

When the United States entered World War I (1914–1918), thousands of Tennesseans volunteered, and Tennessee contributed the greatest American hero of the war, Sergeant Alvin York from Fentress County in northern Middle Tennessee. In 1918, the soft-spoken farmer and his small squad captured 223 Germans in the Argonne Forest; the sight of a few Americans leading hundreds of captured Germans to American lines was said to have been astonishing.

By 1920, the state population was 2,337,885. On 18 August of that year Tennessee ratified the Twenty-First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which gave women the vote. In 1923, Governor Austin Peay reorganized state government, eliminating hundreds of patronage positions, while consolidating government enterprises into eight departments. In 1925, the infamous Scopes "Monkey Trial" was held in Dayton, Tennessee. A new state law said that evolution could not be taught in Tennessee schools, but John Scopes taught it anyway and was charged with violating the law. Two outsiders came to try the case, atheist Clarence Darrow for the defense and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryant for the prosecution. The trial was broadcast to the rest of the country by radio, and when Scopes was convicted and fined, the impression left was that Tennessee was home to ignorance and bigotry enforced by law, an image it had not completely escaped even at the turn of the twenty-first century. A man who did much to counter the image was statesman Cordell Hull, from Overton County, west of Fentress, in northern Middle Tennessee. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and was Franklin Roosevelt's secretary of state. He helped create the "Good Neighbor Policy" that helped unify the nations of the New World, and he was important to the development of the United Nations. He received the 1945 Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

Civil Rights

By 1950, Tennessee's population was 55 percent urban. The cities controlled most of the state's politics, and they were becoming more cosmopolitan. Getting a bit of a head start in desegregating schools, the University of Tennessee admitted four African Americans to its graduate school in 1952. On the other hand, Frank Clement was elected governor on the "race platform," insisting that there would be no racial integration in Tennessee. Many other politicians would "play the race card" during the 1950s and 1960s, and many of these politicians would change their minds as Clement would as the civil rights movement changed the way politics were conducted. Memphis State University began desegregating in 1955, after the United States Supreme Court ruling in 1954 that segregating the races was unconstitutional. In 1956, Clement called out the National Guard to enforce desegregation of schools in Clinton. Even so, schools elsewhere here bombed or forced to close by white supremacists.

By 1959, African Americans were staging well-organized nonviolent protests in Nashville in an effort to have stores and restaurants desegregate. Meanwhile, the U.S. government, under a 1957 civil rights law, sued Democratic Party local organizations for their exclusion of African Americans from voting and holding office. Slowly, desegregation took hold in Tennessee; it took until 1965 for Jackson to begin desegregating its restaurants. In 1968, in Memphis, sanitation workers went on strike and Martin Luther King Jr., the preeminent figure in the civil rights movement, came to the city to help with negotiations. On 4 April 1968, King was shot to death by James Earl Ray.

Modern Era

In the 1970s, Tennessee made a remarkable turnaround in its image. With the election of Winfield Dunn as governor in 1971, the state for the first time since Reconstruction had a Republican governor and two Republican senators. This notable shift in political fortunes marked the coming of the two-party system to Tennessee, which had a positive effect on the politics and society of the state. If Democrats were to hold on to power, they needed African Americans as new allies. In 1974, the state's first African American congressman, Harold Ford of Memphis, was elected. The Democrats remained dominant in the state, but the competition with Republicans was lively and encouraged the participation of even those who had been disenfranchised, poor whites as well as African Americans, as recently as 1965.

Among the most notable politicians of the 1980s and 1990s was Albert Gore Jr., son of a powerful United States Senator, and widely expected to be a powerful politician himself. In 1988 and 1992, he ran for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, and he served from 1993–2001 as vice president of the United States under his longtime friend President Bill Clinton. His cosmopolitan views and his work for environmental causes helped to change how outsiders viewed Tennesseans.

By 2000, Tennessee's population was just under 5,500,000, an increase from 1990's 4,896,641. Although the urban population was larger than the rural one, there were 89,000 farms in Tennessee. The TVA had doubled the amount of open water in Tennessee from 1930 to 1960, and the several artificial lakes and streams became prime attractions for recreation in the 1990s; the state also had some of the most beautiful woodlands in the world. Memphis became a regional center for the arts, as well as a prime retail center for northern Mississippi, in addition to Tennessee; Nashville developed the potential for its music industry to be a magnet for tourists, and by the 1990s many a young musician or composer yearned to live there.


Alderson, William T., and Robert H. White. A Guide to the Study and Reading of Tennessee History. Nashville: Tennessee Historical Commission, 1959.

Corlew, Robert E. Revised by Stanley J. Folmsbee and Enoch Mitchell. Tennessee: A Short History. 2d edition Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1981.

Dykeman, Wilma. Tennessee: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1975.

Hull, Cordell, and Andrew H. T. Berding. The Memoirs of Cordell Hull. New York: Macmillan, 1948.

Kent, Deborah. Tennessee. New York: Grolier, 2001.

State of Tennessee home page. Available at

Van West, Carroll. Tennessee History: The Land, the People, and the Culture. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1998. A wealth of information and opinion.

Vanderwood, Paul J. Night Riders of Reelfoot Lake. Memphis, Tenn.: Memphis State University Press, 1969.

Kirk H.Beetz

See alsoAppalachia ; Cherokee ; Creek ; Cumberland Gap ; Iroquois ; Shawnee .

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Tennessee (state, United States)

Tennessee (tĕn´əsē´, tĕn´əsē´), state in the SE central United States. It is bordered by Kentucky and Virginia (N), North Carolina (E), Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi (S), and, across the Mississippi River, Arkansas and Missouri (W).

Facts and Figures

Area, 42,244 sq mi (109,412 sq km). Pop. (2010) 6,346,105, an 11.5% increase since the 2000 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.

Government, Politics, and Higher Education

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. Republican Bill Haslam was elected governor in 2010 and 2014.

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.


Early History

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).

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Chattanooga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 467

Knoxville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 481

Memphis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 495

Nashville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 509

The State in Brief

Nickname: Volunteer State

Motto: Agriculture and commerce

Flower: Iris

Bird: Mockingbird

Area: 42,143 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 36th)

Elevation: Ranges from 178 feet to 6,643 feet above sea level

Climate: Continental; mild weather with abundant rainfall in the east; hot humid summers in the western region; severe winters in mountains

Admitted to Union: June 1, 1796

Capital: Nashville

Head Official: Governor Phil Bredesen (D) (until 2007)


1980: 4,591,000

1990: 4,877,185

2000: 5,689,262

2004 estimate: 5,900,962

Percent change, 19902000: 3.7%

U.S. rank in 2004: 16th

Percent of residents born in state: 64.7% (2000)

Density: 138 people per square mile (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 290,961

Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)

White: 4,563,310

Black or African American: 932,809

American Indian and Alaska Native: 15,152

Asian: 56,662

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 2,205

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 123,838

Other: 56,036

Age Characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 374,880

Population 5 to 19 years old: 1,186,152

Percent of population 65 years and over: 12.4%

Median age: 35.9 years (2000)

Vital Statistics

Total number of births (2003): 78,811

Total number of deaths (2003): 56,909 (infant deaths, 717)

AIDS cases reported through 2003: 5,817


Major industries: Construction, chemicals, textiles, apparel, electrical machinery, furniture, leather goods, food processing, tobacco, leather, agriculture, automobiles, aluminum, tourism Unemployment rate: 5.2% (December 2004) Per capita income: $28,565 (2003; U.S. rank: 34th) Median household income: $37,529 (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Percentage of persons below poverty level: 14.3% (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Income tax rate: Limited to dividends and interest income

Sales tax rate: 7.0%

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Tennessee State in se central USA between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. The capital is Nashville. Other cities include Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville. In the e are the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau. Central Tennessee is a bluegrass region famed for its horse breeding and livestock rearing; West Tennessee has fertile floodplains, drained by the Tennessee River, which produce cotton, tobacco, and soybeans. The first European discovery was by Hernando De Soto in 1540. The French followed a century later, but their claim was ceded to Britain in 1763, and the first permanent settlement was established in 1769. In 1796, Tennessee became the 16th State of the Union. Tennessee's enthusiastic response to the request for volunteers during the Mexican War (1846–48) earned it the nickname of the Volunteer State. During the American Civil War, the State was the site of some of the bloodiest battles, including Shiloh (1862) and Chattanooga (1863). In 1866, it became the first southern state to be readmitted to the Union. Christian fundamentalism exerts a powerful influence, and the teaching of evolution was banned from 1925 to 1967. Mineral deposits include zinc and coal. Industries: chemicals, electrical equipment, foods, tourism. Area: 109,411sq km (42,244sq mi). Pop. (2001) 5,740,021.

Statehood :

June 1, 1796

Nickname :

The Volunteer State

State bird :


State flower :


State tree :


State motto :

Agriculture and commerce

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Admitted to the Union as the sixteenth state on June 1, 1796, Tennessee is located in the eastern south central United States. It shares borders with Arkansas and Missouri in the west, Kentucky and Virginia in the north, North Carolina in the east, and Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia in the south. Geographically, Tennessee is the country's thirty-fourth largest state, spreading across 42,000 square miles. Its population of approximately 5 million people ranks seventeenth among the 50 states. Memphis is the state's most populous city, and Nashville is its capital.

The eastern and western valleys of the Tennessee River separate the state into three regions: east Tennessee, middle Tennessee, and west Tennessee. Forming just east of Knoxville, the river loops 350 miles south into Alabama, and then streams north to join the Ohio River at Paducah, Kentucky. The Appalachian Mountains and its Blue Ridge range dominate the landscape of east Tennessee. Middle Tennessee is a broad and fertile area that covers about half the state, rolling gradually toward the rich bottomlands and hardwood forest of west Tennessee.

The most industrialized part of the state is east Tennessee, where motor vehicles, boats, and aircraft parts are manufactured by businesses that derive power from hydroelectric dams created by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The federal government's atomic energy research and development center is also located in east Tennessee at Oak Ridge. Middle Tennessee largely consists of farmland for the harvesting of tobacco, corn, and hay; the raising of cattle; and the production of dairy goods. Mining is also a major source of income for residents of both east and middle Tennessee. West Tennessee is home to some of the biggest cotton farms in the South.

Tennessee's early history was intertwined with that of the Cherokee peoples. In fact, the name "Tennessee" derives from the word Tanasi, a name the Cherokee gave to a village on the Little Tennessee River. In the eighteenth century the Cherokee allied themselves with Great Britain, fighting alongside British forces against the 13 colonies during the American Revolution (17751783). When America won its independence, most Cherokee settled in the area of what became modern-day Chattanooga. The Cherokee prospered in this area, owning plantations and developing an 85-character table of syllables that was used to print a weekly newspaper. But seven years after the 1828 gold rush in Tennessee, the Cherokee were coerced into signing a treaty under which they surrendered all legal claims to land in the region. In 1838 federal troops forcibly uprooted the Cherokee from their Tennessee homelands and drove them into the Arkansas Territory. Thousands of Cherokee were killed during the relocation, and thousands more suffered great hardship in what has been called the Trail of Tears.

The demise of the Cherokee in Tennessee coincided with the rise of Andrew Jackson (18291837) to the U.S. presidency. A former Democratic Congressman and Superior Court judge from Tennessee, Jackson served two full terms. In 1844 another former Democratic Congressman from Tennessee, James K. Polk (18451849), was elected president. Although Polk served only one term in office, his administration was responsible for increasing the amount of territory held by the United States by about 50 percentacquiring the Oregon Territory from Britain and annexing Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming from Mexico.

A third former Tennessee Congressman, Andrew Johnson served as vice president in 1864. A year later he assumed the duties of chief executive following President Abraham Lincoln's (18611865) assassination. Johnson's first two years in office were consumed by the aftermath of the American Civil War (18611865). The war had left the South in ruins. Tennessee, which was the site of more Civil War battles than any other state except Virginia, was particularly devastated, and recovery was slow. Nonetheless, Tennessee was the first state to return to the Union when the war ended, and several northern investors fed capital into the state's industries and cities.

The Civil War ended slavery in the South, but it did not resolve race problems in Tennessee. Turmoil between African Americans and whites in the state continued well into the next century. In the 1860s six former Confederate Army officers from Pulaski, Tennessee, founded a terroristic white-supremacist organization called the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). In the 1870s the state adopted a constitutional provision requiring public schools to be segregated by race. Over the next 50 years the Tennessee legislature enacted a series of so-called Jim Crow laws that segregated the races in other sectors of society. Although the system of state-sponsored racial segregation would be dismantled by the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. the Board of Education and in the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, white vigilantes continued terrorizing blacks in the South. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (19291968) was slain by one such gunman on April 4, 1968, while doing civil rights work in Memphis.

Although much of the history of the state is tragic, Tennessee had become a popular tourist attraction by the late twentieth century. Forty million tourists spent approximately $8 billion each year while visiting the state in the 1990s. Native American exhibits, Civil War battlefields, and a national civil rights museum are among the sites frequented by visitors to the state. Smokey Mountain National Park, the Graceland mansion of Elvis Presley, TVA recreational areas, and bluegrass music festivals are also popular. The Grand Ole Opry nationally broadcasts country-and-western music from Nashville.

Tennessee's unofficial nickname is the Volunteer State, which recognizes the many residents who have served in America's armed forces during times of war and international conflict. Tennessee has also been called the Monkey State, a reference to a 1925 trial. A high school biology teacher from Dayton was convicted and fined $100 for teaching Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in violation of a state law mandating that schools teach the Bible 's story of creation. The case attracted nationwide attention, featuring three-time presidential candidate and fundamentalist preacher William Jennings Bryan (18601925) as prosecutor against celebrated defense attorney and avowed atheist Clarence Darrow (18571938). During the 1990s Tennessee became widely known as the home of Vice President Albert Gore (1993), whose family owns a farm in Carthage.

See also: Appalachain Mountains, Tennessee Valley Authority, Trail of Tears


Dykeman, Wilma. Tennessee: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1975.

Patterson, Christine P. Haunting Memories: Echoes and Images of Tennessee's Past. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1996.

Smith, Samuel B., ed. Tennessee History: A Bibliography. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1974.

"State of Tennessee Home Page" [cited May 1, 1999], available from the World Wide Web @

Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. Detroit: The Gale Group, 1998, s.v. "Tennessee."

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Tennesseeabsentee, addressee, adoptee, agree, allottee, amputee, appellee, appointee, appraisee, après-ski, assignee, attendee, bailee, bain-marie, Bangui, bargee, bawbee, be, Bea, bee, bootee, bouquet garni, bourgeoisie, Brie, BSc, buckshee, Capri, cc, chimpanzee, cohabitee, conferee, consignee, consultee, Cree, debauchee, decree, dedicatee, Dee, degree, deportee, dernier cri, detainee, devisee, devotee, divorcee, draftee, dree, Dundee, dungaree, eau-de-vie, emcee, employee, endorsee, en famille, ennui, enrollee, escapee, esprit, evacuee, examinee, expellee, fee, fiddle-de-dee, flea, flee, fleur-de-lis, foresee, franchisee, free, fusee (US fuzee), Gardaí, garnishee, gee, ghee, glee, goatee, grandee, Grand Prix, grantee, Guarani, guarantee, he, indictee, inductee, internee, interviewee, invitee, jamboree, Jaycee, jeu d'esprit, key, knee, Lea, lee, legatee, Leigh, lessee, Ley, licensee, loanee, lychee, manatee, Manichee, maquis, Marie, marquee, me, Midi, mortgagee, MSc, nominee, obligee, Otomi, parolee, Parsee, parti pris, patentee, Pawnee, payee, pea, pee, permittee, plc, plea, pledgee, pollee, presentee, promisee, quay, ratatouille, referee, refugee, releasee, repartee, retiree, returnee, rupee, scot-free, scree, sea, secondee, see, settee, Shanxi, Shawnee, shchi, she, shea, si, sirree, ski, spree, standee, suttee, tant pis, tea, tee, tee-hee, Tennessee, testee, the, thee, three, thuggee, Tiree, Torquay, trainee, Tralee, transferee, tree, Trincomalee, trustee, tutee, twee, Twi, undersea, vestee, vis-à-vis, wagon-lit, Waikiki, warrantee, we, wee, whee, whoopee, ye, yippee, Zuider Zee

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