State of Franklin
Existed for 4 years from 1785-1788 
Governor-John Sevier
Capital- Greeneville
Information for this page comes from an NPR interview of Dr. Michael Toomey. Click here to listen to the interview.
Other, information was taken from, Tennessee History for Kids: State of Franklin
After the American Revolution, the area known as the Lost State of Franklin was part of North Carolina. It was started in the idea that if anyone felt as if they were not being properly governed, then they could govern themselves. North Carolina had been the government over the people in this area that is now known as upper East Tennessee. It included lands within 8 current TN counties: Blount, Carter, Greene, Hamblen, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington. Shown in the maps below.
 
Franklin was declared a state by about 50 frontiersmen who met in Jonesborough and signed a document declaring their independence from North Carolina. These settlers felt the North Carolina government was not doing a very good job taking care of them. So the people of this area declared their independence of North Carolina in 1784. However, North Carolina refused to acknowledge these lands as a separate state. Franklin was never fully recognized as a state even though it had a capital building, governor, legislature, and court.

Replica of the capitol building for the State of Franklin. Greeneville, TN was the capitol city. The original building was lost while in transport back from the Tennessee Centenniel and International Exposition in Nashville in 1897. Only a single key remains to the original building.



The state was first called, Frankland, when the area began to look for support and acknowledgment. The spelling of the state was soon changed to Franklin
, as in Benjamin Franklin, in hopes that more people would support the state. Benjamin Franklin was asked to support the new state, but he politely declined.

John Sevier, hero of Kings Mountain, 
was the governor of the State of Franklin. Even though he was one of the most charismatic personalities on the frontier, his popularity did not succeed in gaining enough support for the state to be successful.

Even though the state of Franklin is not a major historical event in the history of the United States, it did cause the U.S. Congress at the time to decide how to handle new lands applying for statehood. This situation was addressed a couple of years later when the Federal Constitution was written included a provision that said, no state can be created unless it has the approval of the parent state. Which means, unless the United States congress approves the state, it will not be a state.
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