Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee

By Kent T. Dollar; Larry H. Whiteaker et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction

Larry H. Whiteaker

Kentucky and Tennessee. Tennessee and Kentucky. Sister states. Enemy states. From the 1770s, when settlers from Virginia and North Carolina began to move into the lush valleys of East Tennessee and central Kentucky, these two states would be linked—whether the residents wished this or not—in the national consciousness. Even with many similarities—terrain, climate, settlers’ background, and religion, to name a few—there would always be major differences. By the 1820s, for example, a huge political rift would develop, pitting the followers of Kentucky’s Henry Clay against the followers of Tennessee’s Andrew Jackson. The ultimate difference would come in 1861—a difference that constitutes a major theme of this essay collection—when Tennessee joined the Confederate States of America and, after a failed attempt to remain neutral in the Civil War, Kentucky remained in the Union.

Kentucky and Tennessee. Even the names had something in common. Anthropologists and historians believe that they came from Native American terms, but no agreement has been reached on what the terms meant. That the two areas were named by Indians does reveal, of course, that the first people to live in Kentucky and Tennessee were Native Americans, who probably moved into the region thousands of years before Europeans began to arrive in the sixteenth century. By the eighteenth century, powerful tribes such as the Cherokee and the Chickasaw had claimed the area all

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