Hernando de Soto
, in 1540, and
, in 1567, traveled inland from North America's eastern coast and passed through a Native American village named "
A century and a half later, British traders encountered a
After the Revolutionary War, attempts were made to turn the area into the "
State of Franklin
" in honor of Ben Franklin.
At the State's Constitutional Convention, it is said General
suggested the Indian name "
In 1796, President
signed Congress' bill
accepting Tennessee as the 16th State,
which is significant as the
Tennessee Constitution acknowledged God
Article XI, Section
III...All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship
according to the dictates of their own consciences."
Article XI, Section IV
"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this State..."
also stated in
Article VIII, Section II
No person who denies the being of God
, or a future state of rewards and punishments,
shall hold any office in the civil department of this State.
not a 'religious test
was the birthplace of Congressman
who died at the Alamo, Texas, February 23-March 6, 1836, fighting Santa Ana.
, who helped Texas gain its independence at San Jacinto April 21, 1836.
who fought in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and who won the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay, was
born in Tennessee
, being the son of a Spanish naval officer who helped in the American Revolution.
Matthew Fontaine Maury
, whose grandfather taught young Thomas Jefferson, grew up in
. He became the famous U.S. Navy oceanographer who mapped ocean currents.
, creator of the Cherokee written language, was born in Tuskegee (Knoxville),
General Andrew Jackson
, who fought in the War of 1812, served as military Governor of Florida. He was elected a U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senator from
, as well as a serving as a
State Supreme Court Judge.
was the first Democrat President, serving from 1829-1837 as the 7th U.S. President.
founder of the Democrat Party
was the only President to completely pay off the national debt, stating December 5, 1836:
"The experience of other nations admonished us to
hasten the extinguishment of the public debt
... An improvident expenditure of money is the parent of profligacy...
to perpetuate their liberties
who long acquiesce in a policy which
taxes them for objects not necessary
to the legitimate and real wants of their Government..."
"To require the people to pay taxes to the Government merely that they may be paid back again...
Nothing could be gained by it even if each individual who contributed a portion of the tax could receive back promptly the same portion..."
"Congress is only authorized to levy taxes 'to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.'
There is no such provision as would authorize Congress to collect together the property of the country, under the name of revenue, for the purpose of dividing it equally or unequally among the States or the people.
it is not probable that such an idea ever occurred to the States when they adopted the Constitution...
There would soon be but one taxing power,
and that vested in a body of men far removed from the people, in which the farming and mechanic interests would scarcely be represented..."
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The States would gradually lose their purity as well as their independence
; they would not dare to murmur at the proceedings of the General Government, lest they should lose their supplies;
all would be
merged in a practical consolidation, cemented by widespread corruption
, which could only be eradicated by one of those bloody revolutions which occasionally overthrow the despotic systems of the Old World."
President Andrew Jackson
wrote to William B. Lewis, August 19, 1841:
THE PEOPLE are the government,
administering it by their agents; they are the government,
the SOVEREIGN POWER."
President James K. Polk
, who had been Governor of
(1839-41), issued General Order No. 27, June 16, 1845:
...with heartfelt sorrow announces...the death of
... He resigned his spirit to his Heavenly Father... Heaven gave him length of days and he filled them with deeds of greatness...
He believed the liberties of his country imperishable...
He departed from this life in a full hope of a blessed immortality through the merits and atonement of the Redeemer.
Officers of the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps will wear crape on the left arm and on their swords, and the colors of the several regiments will be put in mourning for the period of six months."
On June 24, 1861,
became the last State to join the Confederacy.
During the Civil War,
more battles were fought in Tennessee
than any other State except Virginia.
Among them were:
Capture of Fort Donelson
, Feb. 11-16, 1862 - 16,537 casualties;
Capture of Memphis
, Jun. 6, 1862 - 181 causalties;
Battle of Shiloh
, Apr. 6-7, 1862 - 23,656 casualties;
Battle of Murfreesboro
, Dec. 31, 1862-Jan. 1863 - 23,515 casualties;
Chickamauga Campaign & Battle
, Sept. 19-20, 1863 - 34,624 casualties, highest number of casualties behind Battle of Gettysburg;
Chattanooga Campaign with Battles of Orchard Knob, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Rossville Gap, Ringgold Gap
, Oct.-Nov., 1863 - 12,491 casualties;
Battle of Franklin
, Nov. 30, 1864 - 9,578 casualties;
Battle of Nashville
, Dec. 15-16, 1864 - 9,061 casualties.
After the Civil War,
was the first State readmitted to the Union, JULY 24, 1866.
, who had served as
(1853-57; 1862-65), issued a Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon to Confederates, September 7, 1867, which included acknowledgement of God in the oath to be restored to U.S. citizenship:
"I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby...declare that the full pardon...shall henceforth be...extended to all persons who, directly or indirectly, participated in the late rebellion,
with the restoration of all privileges, immunities, and rights of property, except as to property with regard to slaves...
Every person who shall seek to avail himself of this proclamation shall take and subscribe the following oath...
'I, ____ , do solemnly swear (or affirm),
in the presence of
, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder,
and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the late rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves.
So help me God
On March 9, 1956, the
Tennessee Supreme Court
issued the decision in
Carden v. Bland
"The reading of
a verse in the Bible
without comment, the same verse not to be repeated more often than once every thirty days, the
singing of some inspiring song
, and repeating
the Lord's Prayer
is NOT a violation of the constitutional mandate
which guarantees to all men 'a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences.'
We find it more or less difficult to conceive that these simple ceremonies amount to 'establishment of a religion'...
Bible reading in the public schools is NOT in violation of one's constitutional rights...
The Bible is not a sectarian or denominational book..."
The Tennessee Supreme Court
"Great stress is laid upon the need of maintaining the doctrine of
'Separation of Church and State'
... But it
should not be tortured into a meaning that was never intended by the Founders of this Republic
, with the result that the
system of the several states is to be made
a Godless institution
as a matter of law...
The Court cites Thomas Jefferson as being the author of the 'Separation of Church and State'...
Jefferson had favored religious instruction at the University of Virginia
, of which he was the founder, and which was supported by the State...
One can hardly respect a system of education that would leave the student wholly ignorant of the currents of religious thought that move the world..."
Tennessee Supreme Court
ended its 1956
Carden v. Bland
"In Conclusion we think that
the highest duty of those
who are charged with the responsibility of
training the young people of this State
is in teaching both by precept and example that in the conflicts of life
they should not forget God.
In 1975, the
Tennessee Supreme Court
asserted in the case of
Swann v. Pack
, 527 S.W. 2d 99, 101 (Sup. Ct. Tn. 1975):
"The scales are always weighted in favor of
free exercise of religion
In 1979, the
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee
, stated in the case of
Wiley v. Franklin
, 468 F.Supp. 133, 149-150 (E.D. Tenn. 1979):
The Bible is replete with writings relevant to such secular subjects and interests
as history, both ancient and modern, literature, poetry, music, art, government, social customs and practices, values, behavioral sciences, and, more generally speaking that broad range of subjects, values, interests, and activities encompassed within the generalized phrase 'Western Civilization.'
To ignore the role of the Bible
in the vast area of secular subjects such as herein above referred to
is to ignore a keystone in the building of an arch, at least in so far as Western history
, values and culture are concerned."
On June 21, 1993,
Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter
signed a Proclamation:
The Constitution of the State of Tennessee
states that 'All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship
according to the dictates of their own conscience'... and
WHEREAS... truly great men and women of America, giants in the structuring of American history, were
of calibre and integrity who did not hesitate to express their faith;
NOW, THEREFORE, I,
Ned McWherter, as Governor of the State of Tennessee
do hereby proclaim August 29 through September 4, 1993, as
"CHRISTIAN HERITAGE WEEK" in Tennessee
and urge all citizens to join me in this worthy observance.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Tennessee to be affixed at Nashville on this 21st Day of June, 1993."
On November 15, 1995,
Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist
issued the Proclamation:
"WHEREAS, Thanksgiving week is an appropriate time to center attention on thanks to
for the 'Blessings of Liberty', to ask His help in reinsuring 'domestic Tranquility', and to recognize our national need to reaffirm our 'reliance on the protection of divine Providence' in keeping America a free and independent Nation,
NOW, THEREFORE, I,
Don Sundquist, Governor of the State of Tennessee
, do hereby proclaim November 19 through November 25, 1995, as
America's Christian Heritage Week in Tennessee
, and do
urge all Tennesseans to acknowledge, appreciate, and celebrate, each in their own way, America's Christian heritage
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the official seal of the
State of Tennessee
to be affixed at Nashville on this 15th day of November, 1995."
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