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Tennessee History: 8 Events That Shaped the State

Image: Tennessee History: 8 Events That Shaped the State
Upscale town homes in Memphis, Tennessee. (Steven Frame/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 09 Mar 2015 01:27 PM

The pleasing sights of Tennessee history range from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River. Legendary blues and country music artists are also part of Tennessee history.

Here are eight events that helped shaped the state of Tennessee:

1. President George Washington signed a bill that admitted Tennessee as the nation's 16th state in 1796. Statehood occurred after North Carolina had ceded its western lands, now known as Tennessee, to the U.S. in 1790. The population grew to more than 70,000 by 1795 and the push to be recognized as a state resulted.

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2. According to History.com, Memphis, which means "place of good abode," was named after the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis. Andrew Jackson, a future president, was one of the founders of the city in 1819.

3. Tennessee was the last state to secede from the Union just as the Civil War began in 1861, but was the first state readmitted to the Union in 1866. Tennessee was the third state to ratify the 14th Amendment, which addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of laws, and was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1868.

4. Tennessee played a major role in women's right to vote in the early 20th century, as an outgrowth of the temperance movement that had swept through the state. The prohibition movement, which included women's groups, led to the promotion of women's suffrage. Tennessee legislators proposed a state constitutional amendment, giving women the right to vote in 1915. The proposal failed, but Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

5. The Scopes trial, also referred to as the "Scopes monkey trial," helped put Dayton, Tennessee, on the map in 1925. According to History.com, high school teacher John Scopes was arrested for teaching evolution, a violation of a Tennessee state law. Local officials encouraged the trial to garner national attention for the town. Scopes, defended by famous attorney Clarence Darrow, was found guilty and fined $100.

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6. The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville began as a radio music show in 1925. It is among the longest running radio programs in history. The stage concert at the Grand Ole Opry House features top country entertainers and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.

7. The Tennessee Valley Authority is considered one of the great achievements under the New Deal programs of the 1930s. It improved the livelihoods of people throughout the Tennessee River Valley. Residents lived in virtual poverty with little if any electricity before the TVA was created. Fewer than two percent of rural families had electricity in 1933, but nearly everyone had electricity by the end of the decade because of the power lines constructed.

8. The history of Tennessee includes the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which was dedicated in 1940 by President Franklin Roosevelt. More people visit the park than any other national park in America, attracting some nine million tourists a year.

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The pleasing sights of Tennessee history range from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River. Legendary blues and country music artists are also part of Tennessee history.
Tennessee History, Nashville, The Tennessee Valley Authority, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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2015-27-09
Monday, 09 Mar 2015 01:27 PM
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