Tennessee

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Posted by pompos 03/10/2009 @ 12:23

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News headlines
Tennessee: Exoneration After 22 Years on Death Row - New York Times
By ROBBIE BROWN Prosecutors dropped charges against a former Tennessee inmate who spent 22 years on death row before new evidence cast doubt on his guilt. The district attorney said DNA tests presented “a reasonable doubt” about whether the former...
Norwalk teen gives himself up to police in Tennessee - Sandusky Register
By CORY FROLIK | Thursday, May 14, 2009 2:15 AM EDT Register photo/LUKE WARK Norwalk Catholic Schools closed Wednesday after threats of violence against students, teachers and faculty were found Tuesday in a makeshift diary by runaway seventh-grader...
Haywood County could land $62.5M Tennessee solar farm - Bizjournals.com
A $62.5 million solar project in Tennessee could develop Haywood County's industrial megasite into the West Tennessee Solar Farm with a proposed initiative from Gov. Phil Bredesen. The push would use some of Tennessee's economic stimulus funds to build...
RealtyTrac: Tennessee foreclosure ranking drops to No. 24 in April - Bizjournals.com
Foreclosures on residential properties continued at historical levels in April nationwide although Tennessee's national foreclosure ranking improved from a month ago, according to RealtyTrac Inc. In April, Tennessee had 3470 foreclosure filings,...
Pa. rejects TVA coal ash as too contaminated - Forbes
By DUNCAN MANSFIELD , 05.13.09, 09:34 PM EDT Coal ash recovered from a major spill last December at a Tennessee power plant is too contaminated for use in Pennsylvania's reclaimed coal mines, officials from that state said Wednesday....
AAA predicts small increase of Tennessee Memorial Day travelers - Bizjournals.com
About 813000 Tennessee residents will likely travel, including 679000 by car, 28000 by plane and 106000 by other modes of travel, AAA estimates. Although gas prices have increased significantly in recent weeks, the national average along with state...
uga's Swansey transferring to Tennessee Tech - Atlanta Journal Constitution
Tennessee Tech is coached by Mike Sutton, a longtime Tubby Smith assistant who was with him at Georgia. The Eagles, who were 12-18 last year, will graduate two senior guards after next season. Swansey announced his plans to transfer shortly after the...
Online Post Vowing Killings at High School Is Traced to Tenn. Teenager - Washington Post
Montgomery County police identified the writer only as a Tennessee juvenile who once attended Whitman and have asked Tennessee authorities to take him into custody. "Then they will conduct an interview and decide what they will charge him with," said...
Baseball: Vanderbilt hosts Tennessee - DawgsBite.com
By Official Releases The Vanderbilt baseball team faces another critical conference series this weekend when they host rival Tennessee. Vanderbilt needs a solid performance in order to ensure their place in next week's SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover...
Reports: Florida QB looking at Tennessee - Journal and Courier
Quarterback Robert Marve is now considering walking on at Tennessee, instead of accepting a scholarship offer from Purdue, according to two media outlets. The Tampa Tribune and espn.com cited sources familiar with Marve's situation in a pair of...

Tennessee

Map of the United States with Tennessee highlighted

Tennessee ( /tɛnɨˈsiː/ (help·info)) is a state located in the Southern United States. In 1796, it became the sixteenth state to join the Union. The capital city is Nashville, and the largest city is Memphis.

Tennessee borders eight other states: Kentucky and Virginia to the north; North Carolina to the east; Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi on the south; Arkansas and Missouri on the Mississippi River to the west. Tennessee ties Missouri as the state bordering the most other states. The state is trisected by the Tennessee River. The highest point in the state is Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet (2,025 m). Clingmans Dome, which lies on Tennessee's eastern border, is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail. The state line between Tennessee and North Carolina crosses the summit. The lowest point is the Mississippi River at the Mississippi state line. The geographical center of the state is located in Murfreesboro.

The state of Tennessee is geographically and constitutionally divided into three Grand Divisions: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. Tennessee features six principal physiographic regions: the Blue Ridge, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region, the Cumberland Plateau, the Highland Rim, the Nashville Basin, and the Gulf Coastal Plain. Tennessee is home to the most caves in the United States, with over 8,350 caves registered to date.

The Blue Ridge area lies on the eastern edge of Tennessee, bordering North Carolina. This region of Tennessee is characterized by the high mountains and rugged terrain of the western Blue Ridge Mountains, which are subdivided into several subranges, namely the Great Smoky Mountains, the Bald Mountains, the Unicoi Mountains, the Unaka Mountains and Roan Highlands, and the Iron Mountains. The average elevation of the Blue Ridge area is 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level. Clingmans Dome, the state's highest point, is located in this region. The Blue Ridge area was never more than sparsely populated, and today much of it is protected by the Cherokee National Forest, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and several federal wilderness areas and state parks.

Stretching west from the Blue Ridge for approximately 55 miles (88 km) is the Ridge and Valley region, in which numerous tributaries join to form the Tennessee River in the Tennessee Valley. This area of Tennessee is covered by fertile valleys separated by wooded ridges, such as Bays Mountain and Clinch Mountain. The western section of the Tennessee valley, where the depressions become broader and the ridges become lower, is called the Great Valley. In this valley are numerous towns and the region's two urban areas, Knoxville, the 3rd largest city in the state, and Chattanooga, the 4th largest city in the state.

To the west of East Tennessee lies the Cumberland Plateau; this area is covered with flat-topped mountains separated by sharp valleys. The elevation of the Cumberland Plateau ranges from 1,500 to 1,800 feet (450 to 550 m) above sea level. West of the Cumberland Plateau is the Highland Rim, an elevated plain that surrounds the Nashville Basin. The northern section of the Highland Rim, known for its high tobacco production, is sometimes called the Pennyroyal Plateau and is located in primarily in Southwestern Kentucky. The Nashville Basin is characterized by rich, fertile farm country and high natural wildlife diversity.

Middle Tennessee was a common destination of settlers crossing the Appalachians in the late 1700s and early 1800s. An important trading route called the Natchez Trace, first used by Native Americans, connected Middle Tennessee to the lower Mississippi River town of Natchez. Today the route of the Natchez Trace is a scenic highway called the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Some of the last remaining large American Chestnut trees still grow in this region and are being used to help breed blight resistant trees.

West of the Highland Rim and Nashville Basin is the Gulf Coastal Plain, which includes the Mississippi embayment. The Gulf Coastal Plain is, in terms of area, the predominant land region in Tennessee. It is part of the large geographic land area that begins at the Gulf of Mexico and extends north into southern Illinois. In Tennessee, the Gulf Coastal Plain is divided into three sections that extend from the Tennessee River in the east to the Mississippi River in the west. The easternmost section, about 10 miles (16 km) in width, consists of hilly land that runs along the western bank of the Tennessee River. To the west of this narrow strip of land is a wide area of rolling hills and streams that stretches all the way to Memphis; this area is called the Tennessee Bottoms or bottom land. In Memphis, the Tennessee Bottoms end in steep bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. To the west of the Tennessee Bottoms is the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, less than 300 feet (90 m) above sea level. This area of lowlands, flood plains, and swamp land is sometimes referred to as the Delta region.

Most of West Tennessee remained Indian land until the Chickasaw Cession of 1818, when the Chickasaw ceded their land between the Tennessee River and the Mississippi River. The portion of the Chickasaw Cession that lies in Kentucky is known today as the Jackson Purchase.

Fifty-four state parks, covering some 132,000 acres (534 km²) as well as parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and 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.

Most of the state has a humid subtropical climate, with the exception of the higher mountains, which are classified as having a maritime temperate climate due to cooler temperatures. The Gulf of Mexico is the dominant factor in the climate of Tennessee, with winds from the south being responsible for most of the state's annual precipitation. Generally, the state has hot summers and mild to cool winters with generous precipitation throughout the year. On average the state receives 50 inches (130 cm) of precipitation annually. Snowfall ranges from 5 inches (13 cm) in West Tennessee to over 16 inches (41 cm) in the higher mountains in East Tennessee.

Summers in the state are generally hot, with most of the state averaging a high of around 90 °F (32 °C) during the summer months. Summer nights tend to be cooler in East Tennessee. Winters tend to be mild to cool, increasing in coolness at higher elevations and in the east. Generally, for areas outside the highest mountains, the average overnight lows are near freezing for most of the state.

While the state is far enough from the coast to avoid any direct impact from a hurricane, the location of the state makes it likely to be impacted from the remnants of tropical cyclones which weaken over land and can cause significant rainfall. The state averages around 50 days of thunderstorms per year, some of which can be quite severe. Tornadoes are possible throughout the state, with West Tennessee slightly more vulnerable. On average, the state has 15 tornadoes per year. Tornadoes in Tennessee can be severe, and Tennessee leads the nation in the percentage of total tornadoes which have fatalities. Winter storms are an occasional problem—made worse by a lack of snow removal equipment and a population which might not be accustomed or equipped to travel in snow—although ice storms are a more likely occurrence. Fog is a persistent problem in parts of the state, especially in much of the Smoky Mountains.

The area now known as Tennessee was first inhabited by Paleo-Indians nearly 12,000 years ago. The names of the cultural groups that inhabited the area between first settlement and the time of European contact are unknown, but several distinct cultural phases have been named by archaeologists, including Archaic (8000-1000 B.C.), Woodland (1000 B.C. - 1000 A.D.), and Mississippian (1000-1600 A.D.), whose chiefdoms were the cultural predecessors of the Muscogee people who inhabited the Tennessee River Valley prior to Cherokee migration into the river's headwaters.

The first recorded European excursions into what is now called Tennessee were three expeditions led by Spanish explorers, namely Hernando de Soto in 1540, Tristan de Luna in 1559, and Juan Pardo in 1567. At that time, Tennessee was inhabited by tribes of Muscogee and Yuchi people. Possibly because of European diseases devastating the Native tribes, which would have left a population vacuum, and also from expanding European settlement in the north, the Cherokee moved south from the area now called Virginia. As European colonists spread into the area, the native populations were forcibly displaced to the south and west, including all Muscogee and Yuchi peoples, the Chickasaw, and Choctaw.

The first British settlement in what is now Tennessee was Fort Loudoun, near present-day Vonore. Fort Loudoun became the westernmost British outpost to that date. The fort was designed by John William Gerard de Brahm and constructed by forces under British Captain Raymond Demeré. After its completion, Captain Raymond Demeré relinquished command on 14 August 1757 to his brother, Captain Paul Demeré. Hostilities erupted between the British and the neighboring Overhill Cherokees, and a siege of Fort Loudoun ended with its surrender on 7 August 1760. The following morning, Captain Paul Demeré and most of his men were killed in an ambush nearby.

In the 1760s, long hunters from Virginia explored much of East and Middle Tennessee, and the first permanent European settlers began arriving late in the decade. During the American Revolutionary War, Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals (in present day Elizabethton) was attacked in 1776 by Dragging Canoe and his warring faction of Cherokee (also referred to by settlers as the Chickamauga) opposed to the Transylvania Purchase and aligned with the British Loyalists. The lives of many settlers were spared through the warnings of Dragging Canoe's cousin Nancy Ward. The frontier fort on the banks of the Watauga River later served as a 1780 staging area for the Overmountain Men in preparation to trek over the Appalachian Mountains, to engage, and to later defeat the British Army at the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.

Eight counties of western North Carolina (and now part of Tennessee) broke off from that state in the late 1780s and formed the abortive State of Franklin. Efforts to obtain admission to the Union failed, and the counties had re-joined North Carolina by 1790. North Carolina ceded the area to the federal government in 1790, after which it was organized into the Southwest Territory. In an effort to encourage settlers to move west into the new territory of Tennessee, in 1787 the mother state of North Carolina ordered a road to be cut to take settlers into the Cumberland Settlements—from the south end of Clinch Mountain (in East Tennessee) to French Lick (Nashville). The Trace was called the “North Carolina Road” or “Avery’s Trace,” and sometimes “The Wilderness Road (although it should not be confused with Daniel Boone's "Wilderness Road" through Cumberland Gap).

Tennessee was admitted to the Union in 1796 as the 16th state. The state boundaries, according to the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, Article I, Section 31, stated that the beginning point for identifying the boundary was the extreme height of the Stone Mountain, at the place where the line of Virginia intersects it, and basically ran the extreme heights of mountain chains through the Appalachian Mountains separating North Carolina from Tennessee past the Indian towns of Cowee and Old Chota, thence along the main ridge of the said mountain (Unicoi Mountain) to the southern boundary of the state; all the territory, lands and waters lying west of said line are included in the boundaries and limits of the newly formed state of Tennessee. Part of the provision also stated that the limits and jurisdiction of the state would include future land acquisition, referencing possible land trade with other states, or the acquisition of territory from west of the Mississippi River.

During the administration of U.S. President Martin Van Buren, nearly 17,000 Cherokees were uprooted from their homes between 1838 and 1839 and were forced by the U.S. military to march from "emigration depots" in Eastern Tennessee (such as Fort Cass) toward the more distant Indian Territory west of Arkansas. During this relocation an estimated 4,000 Cherokees died along the way west. In the Cherokee language, the event is called Nunna daul Isunyi—"the Trail Where We Cried." The Cherokees were not the only Native Americans forced to emigrate as a result of the Indian removal efforts of the United States, and so the phrase "Trail of Tears" is sometimes used to refer to similar events endured by other Native American peoples, especially among the "Five Civilized Tribes." The phrase originated as a description of the earlier emigration of the Choctaw nation.

In light of its proximity to northern states and strong anti-secession sentiment in East Tennessee (which eventually tried to form a separate Union-aligned state), Tennessee became the last state to officially secede from the Union on June 8, 1861, although it had effectively joined the Confederacy a month earlier. Many major battles of the American Civil War were fought in Tennessee—most of them Union victories. Ulysses S. Grant and the U.S. Navy captured control of the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers in February 1862. They held off the Confederate counterattack at Shiloh in April. Memphis fell to the Union in June, following a naval battle on the Mississippi River in front of the city. Capture of Memphis and Nashville gave the Union control of the western and middle sections; this control was confirmed at the Battle of Murfreesboro in early January 1863 and by the subsequent Tullahoma Campaign.

Confederates held East Tennessee despite the strength of Unionist sentiment there, with the exception of extremely pro-Confederate Sullivan County. The Confederates besieged Chattanooga in early fall 1863, but were driven off by Grant in November. Many of the Confederate defeats can be attributed to the poor strategic vision of General Braxton Bragg, who led the Army of Tennessee from Perryville, Kentucky to Confederate defeat at Chattanooga.

The last major battles came when the Confederates invaded Middle Tennessee in November 1864 and were checked at Franklin, then totally destroyed by George Thomas at Nashville in December. Meanwhile the civilian Andrew Johnson was appointed military governor of the state by President Abraham Lincoln.

When the Emancipation Proclamation was announced, Tennessee was mostly held by Union forces. Thus, Tennessee was not among the states enumerated in the Proclamation, and the Proclamation did not free any slaves there. Nonetheless, enslaved African Americans escaped to Union lines to gain freedom without waiting for official action. Old and young, men, women and children camped near Union troops. Thousands of former slaves ended up fighting on the Union side, nearly 200,000 in total across the South.

Tennessee's legislature approved an amendment to the state constitution prohibiting slavery on February 22, 1865. Voters in the state approved the amendment in March. It also ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (abolishing slavery in every state) on April 7, 1865.

In 1864, Andrew Johnson (a War Democrat from Tennessee) was elected Vice President under Abraham Lincoln. He became President after Lincoln's assassination in 1865. Under Johnson's lenient re-admission policy, Tennessee was the first of the seceding states to have its elected members readmitted to the U.S. Congress, on July 24, 1866. Because Tennessee had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, it was the only one of the formerly seceded states that did not have a military governor during the Reconstruction period.

After the formal end of Reconstruction, the struggle over power in Southern society continued. Through violence and intimidation against freedmen and their allies, white Democrats regained political power in Tennessee and other states across the South in the late 1870s and 1880s. Over the next decade, the white-dominated state legislature passed increasingly restrictive laws to control African Americans. In 1889 the General Assembly passed four laws described as electoral reform, with the cumulative effect of essentially disfranchising most African Americans in rural areas and small towns, as well as many poor whites. Legislation included implementation of a poll tax, timing of registration, and recording requirements. Tens of thousands of taxpaying citizens were without representation for decades into the 20th century. Disfranchising legislation accompanied Jim Crow laws passed in the late 19th century, which imposed segregation in the state. In 1900, African Americans made up nearly 24% of the state's population, and numbered 480,430 citizens who lived mostly in the central and western parts of the state.

In 1897, Tennessee celebrated its centennial of statehood (though one year late of the 1896 anniversary) with a great exposition in Nashville. A full scale replica of the Parthenon was constructed for the celebration, located in what is now Nashville's Centennial Park.

On 18 August 1920, Tennessee became the thirty-sixth and final state necessary to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provided women the right to vote. Disfranchising voter registration requirements continued to keep most African Americans and many poor whites, both men and women, off the voter rolls.

The need to create work for the unemployed during the Great Depression, a desire for rural electrification, the need to control annual spring flooding and improve shipping capacity on the Tennessee River were all factors that drove the Federal creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1933. Through the power of the TVA projects, Tennessee quickly became the nation's largest public utility supplier.

During World War II, the availability of abundant TVA electrical power led the Manhattan Project to locate one of the principal sites for production and isolation of weapons-grade fissile material in East Tennessee. The planned community of Oak Ridge was built from scratch to provide accommodations for the facilities and workers. These sites are now Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex, and the East Tennessee Technology Park.

In 1953 state legislators amended the state constitution, removing the poll tax. In many areas both blacks and poor whites still faced subjectively applied barriers to voter registration that did not end until after passage of national civil rights legislation, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Tennessee celebrated its bicentennial in 1996. With a yearlong statewide celebration entitled "Tennessee 200", it opened a new state park (Bicentennial Mall) at the foot of Capitol Hill in Nashville.

The center of population of Tennessee is located in Rutherford County, in the city of Murfreesboro.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2006, Tennessee has an estimated population of 6,038,803, which is an increase of 83,058, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 349,541, or 6.1%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 142,266 people (that is 493,881 births minus 351,615 deaths) and an increase from net migration of 219,551 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 59,385 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 160,166 people.

In 2000, the five most common self-reported ethnic groups in the state were: American (17.3%), African American (16.4%), Irish (9.3%), English (9.1%), and German (8.3%).

The state's African-American population is concentrated mainly in rural West and Middle Tennessee and the cities of Memphis, Nashville, Clarksville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville.

6.6% of Tennessee's population were reported as under 5 years of age, 24.6% under 18, and 12.4% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.3% of the population.

Now almost 20% of Tennesseans were born outside the South, though such people had been only 13.5% of the total population in 1990.

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Southern Baptist Convention with 1,414,199; the United Methodist Church with 393,994; the Churches of Christ with 216,648; and the Roman Catholic Church with 183,161.

Tennessee is home to several Protestant denominations, such as the Church of God in Christ, the Church of God and The Church of God of Prophecy, both located in (Cleveland, Tennessee), and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The Free Will Baptist denomination is headquartered in Antioch, and its main bible college is in Nashville. The Southern Baptist Convention maintains its general headquarters in Nashville. Publishing houses of several denominations are located in Nashville.

The state's small Roman Catholic, Muslim, and Jewish communities are mainly centered in the metropolitan areas of Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

According to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2005 Tennessee's gross state product was $226.502 billion, making Tennessee the 18th largest economy in the nation. In 2003, the per capita personal income was $28,641, 36th in the nation, and 91% of the national per capita personal income of $31,472. In 2004, the median household income was $38,550, 41st in the nation, and 87% of the national median of $44,472.

Major outputs for the state include textiles, cotton, cattle, and electrical power. As proof of interest in beef production, Tennessee has over 82,000 farms, and beef cattle are found in roughly 59 percent of the farms in the state. Although cotton was an early crop in Tennessee, large-scale cultivation of the fiber did not begin until the 1820s with the opening of the land between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. The upper wedge of the Mississippi Delta extends into southwestern Tennessee, and it was in this fertile section that cotton took hold. Currently West Tennessee is also heavily planted in soybeans, focusing on the northwest corner of the state.

Tennessee is a right to work state, as are most of its Southern neighbors. Unionization has historically been low and continues to decline as in most of the U.S. generally.

Interstate 40 crosses the state in an east-west orientation. Its branch interstate highways include I-240 in Memphis; I-440 and I-840 in Nashville; and I-140 and I-640 in Knoxville. I-26, although technically an east-west interstate, runs from the North Carolina border below Johnson City to its terminus at Kingsport. I-24 is an east-west interstate that runs cross-state from Chattanooga to Clarksville.

In a north-south orientation are highways I-55, I-65, I-75, and I-81. Interstate 65 crosses the state through Nashville, while Interstate 75 serves Chattanooga and Knoxville and Interstate 55 serves Memphis. Interstate 81 enters the state at Bristol and terminates at its junction with I-40 near Dandridge. I-155 is a branch highway from I-55.

Major airports within the state include Nashville International Airport (BNA), Memphis International Airport (MEM), McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville, Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA), Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI), and McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport (MKL), in Jackson. Because Memphis International Airport is the major hub for FedEx Corporation, it is the world's largest air cargo operation.

Memphis and Dyersburg, Tennessee, are served by the Amtrak City of New Orleans line on its run between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Tennessee's governor holds office for a four-year term and may serve a maximum of two terms. The governor is the only official who is elected statewide, making him one of the more powerful chief executives in the nation. The state does not elect the lieutenant-governor directly, contrary to most other states; the Tennessee Senate elects its Speaker who serves as lieutenant governor.

The Tennessee General Assembly, the state legislature, consists of the 33-member Senate and the 99-member House of Representatives. Senators serve four-year terms, and House members serve two-year terms. Each chamber chooses its own speaker. The speaker of the state Senate also holds the title of lieutenant-governor. Most executive officials are elected by the legislature.

The highest court in Tennessee is the state Supreme Court. It has a chief justice and four associate justices. No more than two justices can be from the same Grand Division. The Supreme Court of Tennessee also appoints the Attorney General, a practice that is not found in any of the other 49 states in the Union. Both the Court of Appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals have 12 judges.

Tennessee's current state constitution was adopted in 1870. The state had two earlier constitutions. The first was adopted in 1796, the year Tennessee joined the union, and the second was adopted in 1834. The Tennessee Constitution outlaws martial law within its jurisdiction. This may be a result of the experience of Tennessee residents and other Southerners during the period of military control by Union (Northern) forces of the U.S. government after the American Civil War.

Tennessee politics, like that of most U.S. states, is dominated by the Democratic and Republican Parties. After going for Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower twice in the 1950s, Tennessee currently tilts towards the Republican Party, but tends to be somewhat more moderately conservative than its staunchly conservative neighbors to the south.

While the Republicans control slightly more than half of the state, Democrats have strong support in the cities of Memphis and Nashville and in parts of Middle Tennessee (although declining, due to the growth of suburban Nashville) and in West Tennessee north and east of Memphis The latter area includes a large rural African-American population. Historically, Republicans had their greatest strength in East Tennessee prior to the 1960s. Tennessee's 1st / 2nd congressional districts based in East Tennessee are one of the few ancestrally Republican districts in the South; the 1st has been in Republican hands continuously since 1881, and the 2nd district has been held continuously by Republicans since 1873.

In contrast, long disfranchisement of African Americans and their proportion as a minority (16.45% in 1960) meant that white Democrats generally dominated politics in the rest of the state until the 1960s. The GOP in Tennessee was essentially a sectional party. Former Gov. Winfield Dunn and former U.S. Sen. Bill Brock wins in 1970 built the Tennessee Republican Party into a competitive party for the statewide victory. Tennessee has selected governors from different parties since 1966.

In the 2000 Presidential Election, the majority of Tennessee voters voted for Republican George W. Bush rather than Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senator from Tennessee. Tennessee support for Bush increased in 2004, with his margin of victory in the state increasing from 4% in 2000 to 14% in 2004. Southern Democratic nominees (e.g., Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton) usually fare better in Tennessee, especially among split-ticket voters outside the metropolitan areas.

Tennessee sends nine members to the US House of Representatives, of whom there are five Democrats and four Republicans. Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey is the first Republican speaker of the state Senate in 140 years. In 2008 elections, the Republican party gained control of both houses of the Tennessee state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.

The Baker v. Carr (1962) decision of the US Supreme Court, which established the principle of one man, one vote, was based on a lawsuit over rural-biased apportionment of seats in the Tennessee legislature. The significant ruling led to an increased (and proportional) prominence in state politics by urban and, eventually, suburban, legislators and statewide officeholders in relation to their population within the state. The ruling also applied to numerous other states long controlled by rural minorities, such as Alabama.

The State of Tennessee maintains two dedicated law enforcement entities, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), as well as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the Tennessee State Parks department.

The Highway Patrol is the primary law enforcement entity that concentrates on highway safety regulations and general non-game state law enforcement and is under the jurisdiction of the Tennessee Department of Safety. The TWRA is an independent agency tasked with enforcing all wild game, boating, and fisheries regulations outside of state parks. The TBI maintains state-of-the-art investigative facilities and is the primary state-level criminal investigative department. Tennessee State Park Rangers are responsible for all activities and law enforcement inside the Tennessee State Parks system.

The capital is Nashville, though Knoxville, Kingston, and Murfreesboro have all served as state capitals in the past. Memphis has the largest population of any city in the state, but Nashville has had the state's largest metropolitan area since circa 1990; Memphis formerly held that title. Chattanooga and Knoxville, both in the eastern part of the state near the Great Smoky Mountains, each has approximately one-third of the population of Memphis or Nashville. The city of Clarksville is a fifth significant population center, some 45 miles (70 km) northwest of Nashville. Murfreesboro is the sixth-largest city in Tennessee, consisting of some 100,500 residents.

Tennessee is also home to Bristol Motor Speedway which features NASCAR Sprint Cup racing two weekends a year, routinely selling out more than 160,000 seats on each date.

The earliest variant of the name that became Tennessee was recorded by Captain Juan Pardo, the Spanish explorer, when he and his men passed through a Native American village named "Tanasqui" in 1567 while traveling inland from South Carolina. In the early 1700s, British traders encountered a Cherokee town named Tanasi (or "Tanase") in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee. The town was located on a river of the same name (now known as the Little Tennessee River), and appears on maps as early as 1725. It is not known whether this was the same town as the one encountered by Juan Pardo, although recent research suggests that Pardo's "Tanasqui" was located at the confluence of the Pigeon River and the French Broad River, near modern Newport.

The meaning and origin of the word are uncertain. Some accounts suggest it is a Cherokee modification of an earlier Yuchi word. It has been said to mean "meeting place", "winding river", or "river of the great bend". According to James Mooney, the name "can not be analyzed" and its meaning is lost.

The modern spelling, Tennessee, is attributed to James Glen, the governor of South Carolina, who used this spelling in his official correspondence during the 1750s. The spelling was popularized by the publication of Henry Timberlake's "Draught of the Cherokee Country" in 1765. In 1788, North Carolina created "Tennessee County", the third county to be established in what is now Middle Tennessee. (Tennessee County was the predecessor to current-day Montgomery County and Robertson County). When a constitutional convention met in 1796 to organize a new state out of the Southwest Territory, it adopted "Tennessee" as the name of the state.

Tennessee is known as the "Volunteer State", a nickname earned during the War of 1812 because of the prominent role played by volunteer soldiers from Tennessee, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.

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United States congressional delegations from Tennessee

These are tables of congressional delegations from Tennessee to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.

Like some states, Tennessee has undergone too much demographic change for some districts to be seen as a continuation of the same numbered district before reapportionment. For example, while Don Sundquist, Ed Bryant and Marsha Blackburn have represented the 7th District since 1983, they are considered the "successors" of Robin Beard since the current 7th contains most of the territory that was in the 6th District prior to 1983.

Until 1803, Tennessee elected one representative, at-large, state-wide.

Tennessee elected three representatives, at-large, state-wide.

Tennessee elected six representatives, at-large, state-wide.

After 1823, Tennessee used geographically-based districts for its representatives. From 1823 to 1833, Tennessee elected nine representatives.

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University of Tennessee

The Hill. The University of Tennessee was established in 1794, making UT one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the region.

The University of Tennessee (also known as UT), sometimes called the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT Knoxville, or UTK) is the flagship institution of the statewide land-grant University of Tennessee public university system in Tennessee. The system is headquartered in Knoxville and includes campuses in Memphis, Martin, Tullahoma, and Chattanooga.

Additionally, UT-Battelle, a partnership between the university and the Battelle Memorial Institute, manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The university traces its roots to September 10, 1794, when Blount College was chartered by the legislature of the Southwest Territory, when Knoxville was the territorial capital. In 1826, what was by then named East Tennessee College moved from Gay Street in downtown Knoxville to a 40 acre (160,000 m²) tract named Barbara Hill (in honor of Governor Blount's daughter). Known to students and alumni today as simply "The Hill," it is only a small part of the Knoxville campus but remains at the heart of UT academic life.

The University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, nicknamed the "Body Farm", is located near the University of Tennessee Medical Center on Alcoa Highway (US 129). Founded by Dr. William M. Bass in 1972, the Body Farm features numerous cadavers posed in various situations on a fenced plot of land. Scientists at the university study how the human body decays in differing circumstances to gain a better understanding of decomposition.

Geography of the University of Tennessee campus changed in 1998, when the university changed the name of Yale Avenue to Peyton Manning Pass in honor of the former Volunteer (and now Indianapolis Colts) quarterback. Peyton Manning Pass and Phillip Fulmer Drive meet at the football stadium in what is commonly called a "T" intersection.

All in all, the University of Tennessee's flagship campus in Knoxville hosts seven colleges, the Institute of Agriculture, the Institute for Public Service, and several schools. The UT Health Science Center at Memphis and the UT Space Institute at Tullahoma are specialized campuses but are not separate institutions. The University of Tennessee comprises these five facilities. UTK, UTC and UT Martin form the University of Tennessee system.

As of 2007, there were 300 academic programs for undergraduate students.

Officially, the University of Tennessee's total enrollment in the fall semester of 2005 was 28,552, of which 23,131 were full-time students and 5,421 were part-time. Undergraduates numbered 20,286 students, while graduate students made up the balance of 8,266. UT enrolled 4,183 first-time freshmen.

Regarding enrollment by race, of UT's total enrollment, 23,092 students described themselves as white, with 2,137 Black, 725 Asian, 348 Hispanic, 112 American Indian, and 273 other/not reported. Total minority enrollment was 17.9%. Slightly more women (54.1%) attended UT than men.

By 2004, 1,082 international students had been enrolled for that year. Most of these students came from China, India, and South Korea. Out-of-state U.S. residents accounted for 4,950 of the student body, most of them from Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina. The remaining 21,732 students already resided in Tennessee, with most previous in-state residents coming from Knox, Shelby, and Davidson counties.

At the legislature of the Southwest Territory meeting in the territorial capital, Knoxville, the University of Tennessee was chartered on September 10, 1794 as Blount College. The college struggled for 13 years with a small student body and faculty. In 1807, the school was renamed East Tennessee College; however, when its first president and only faculty member died in 1809, the school was temporarily closed. It reopened in 1820, and in 1840 was elevated to East Tennessee University.

In the midst of the Civil War the cohesiveness of the college became torn as students and faculty left to join both the Union and Confederate forces, their divided loyalties reflecting those of East Tennessee itself. The college buildings were occupied by troops from both sides and were sometimes used as hospitals. Shelling significantly damaged the grounds. The president, who took the college's reins in 1865, was a Union sympathizer, and he managed to secure some $18,500 in restitution funds from the federal government.

Then, following the Civil War, the State of Tennessee made the University the beneficiary of the Morrill Act of 1862, which allocated federal land or its monetary value to the various states for the teaching of "agricultural and mechanical" subjects and to provide military training to students. Thus, the University of Tennessee (its designation after 1879) became a land-grant institution. In 1893, the university admitted women regularly for the first time.

The first African Americans were admitted to the graduate and law schools by order of a federal district court in 1952. The first master's degree was awarded to a black student in 1954, and the first doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in 1959. Black undergraduates were not admitted until 1961; the first black faculty member was appointed in 1964. Integration went fairly smoothly; Black students had more difficulty gaining entry to eating establishments and places of entertainment off campus than they did attending class on campus. Overall, Knoxville and the University had fewer racial troubles in the 1950s and 1960s than did other southern universities.

In 1968, the university underwent an administrative reorganization which left the Knoxville campus as the flagship and headquarters of its new "university system," comprising the UT Health Science Center at Memphis, a four-year college at Martin, the formerly private University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (added a year later), the UT Space Institute at Tullahoma, and the Knoxville-based College of Veterinary Medicine, Agriculture Institute, and Public Service Institute. An additional primary campus in Nashville had a brief existence from 1971 to 1979 before it was ordered closed and merged with Tennessee State University.

The University of Tennessee is the only university in the nation to have three presidential papers editing projects. The university has collections of the papers of all three U.S. presidents from Tennessee—Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson.

Tennessee competes in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division, along with Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, and has longstanding football rivalries with all of them. However, the Vols' most intense and bitter rivalry is with Alabama. The teams battle every year in the Third Saturday in October. The Volunteers won the 1998 NCAA Division I-A National Championship in football. Also, the Volunteers won the 1938, 1940, 1950, 1951, and 1998 National Championship three under General Neyland, and six total. The Volunteers were coached by Phillip Fulmer and play at Neyland Stadium, which averages over 107,000 fans per game. On November 3, 2008, Phillip Fulmer held a press conference indicating that he would be stepping down as head coach at the end of the year. This decision is speculated to have stemmed from poor University support because of a disappointing season. Lane Kiffin was officially announced as the new head coach of the Vols on December 1, 2008. Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning and the late NFL Hall of Fame player Reggie White are among the numerous NFL athletes to start their careers at the University of Tennessee.

The men's basketball program is headed by Bruce Pearl. Through his guidance, the men's program has been revitalized and claimed the 2005–2006 SEC East Title and closed the season with a 22-8 record and a NCAA Tournament berth. In 2007, the Vols made the NCAA tourney for the second straight year, making it to the Sweet Sixteen. In 2008 the Vols claimed their first outright SEC regular season championship in 41 years. One of the highlights of the 2008 season came when number 2 UT knocked off top-ranked Memphis, who was then undefeated, to claim the number one ranking in the nation-only to lose it in their next game, three nights later at Vanderbilt. In men's basketball, the most important rivalries are with Kentucky, Florida and cross-state rivals Vanderbilt and Memphis.

Tennessee has the strongest women's basketball team at the college level, having won eight NCAA Division I titles (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2008), the most in women's college basketball history. The Lady Volunteers are led by Pat Summitt, who is the all-time winningest basketball coach in NCAA history, having won 1000 games as of February 5, 2009. Coach Summitt also boasts a 100 percent graduation rate for all players who finish their career at UT. Former Tennessee Lady Vols basketball star Candace Parker went No. 1 in the WNBA draft and is being called the possibly best woman to ever play basketball. Tennessee and Summitt also have a rivalry with the University of Connecticut in women's basketball. These two schools have consistently fought great games against each other in recent years, occasionally with the national championship on the line. The regular season rivalry games ended in 2007 when Tennessee decided to not sign a contract continuing them. The main women's basketball rivals for Tennessee within the conference are Georgia, Vanderbilt, and LSU. Tennessee is the only school to make the Sweet Sixteen in all 26 of the women's NCAA tournaments.

The University of Tennessee baseball team has reached the NCAA College World Series four times (1951, 1995, 2001 and 2005). They have produced players such as Todd Helton, Joe Randa, Chris Burke, and the number one overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft, Luke Hochevar.

In recent years the women's softball team has gained notoriety, reaching the Women's College World Series three consecutive times. They placed third in 2005 and 2006 and second in 2007. Former pitcher Monica Abbott is the all-time career NCAA leader in strikeouts (2,440), shutouts (112), wins (189) and innings pitched (1448.0). The Salinas, California, native won the U.S. Softball National Player of the Year award and the Honda Award for Softball in 2007. She was also honored by the Women's Sports Foundation as its Team Sport Player of the Year over such high-profile candidates as Kristine Lilly of the U.S. women's soccer team and Lauren Jackson of the WNBA.

Recent National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Americans from the University of Tennessee include Abbott (2004–07), India Chiles (2007), Lindsay Schutzler (2005–07), Tonya Callahan (2006–07), Kristi Durant (2005–06) and Sarah Fekete (2005–06).

UT's best-known athletic facility by far is Neyland Stadium, home to the football team, which seats over 107,000 people and is one of the country's largest facilities of its type. Neyland is currently undergoing a renovation costing over $200 million. The Volunteers and Lady Vols basketball teams play in Thompson-Boling Arena, the largest arena (by capacity) ever built specifically for basketball in the United States. The former home of both basketball teams, Stokely Athletic Center, still stands and is now used by the Lady Vols volleyball program. Both basketball teams currently train at the Pratt Pavilion, a $20 million dollar facility that recently opened in 2008. Pratt Pavilion houses two full size gymnasia, one each for the men's and women's varsity basketball teams, as well as space for sports medicine, strength training, film study and recruiting.

The Alumni Memorial Gym was another indoor athletic facility. It was built in 1934 during a construction campaign under school president James D. Hoskins, and was replaced by the Stokely Athletics Center in 1967. The facility hosted the Southeastern Conference men's basketball tournament in 1936 and 1937 and again in 1939 and 1940. It is now used as a performing arts center and lecture hall, as well as hosting offices, and seats 1,000 spectators.

The swimming program trains at the Jones Aquatic Center, which is located adjacent to the existing Student Aquatic Center. This first-class complex is capable of hosting the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Championships, as well as national and international events. Also included in the new facility is a weight room, training room, and the University of Tennessee Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame.

The University of Tennessee is the current holder of the Destination Imagination Global Finals.Destination Imagination is a problem solving competition. Global Finals are held in the last week of May every year. Thousands of people from all over the world come to participate.

The University of Tennessee has over 450 registered student organizations. These groups appeal to a multitude of interests and provide a variety of experiences for those interested in service, sports, arts, social activities, government, politics, cultural issues, Greek societies, and much more.

University students are active in several student media organizations. The Daily Beacon is an editorially independent student newspaper that has been published continuously since 1906. The university operates two radio stations: student-run The Rock (formerly the Torch) (WUTK-FM 90.3 MHz) and National Public Radio affiliate WUOT-FM 91.9 MHz. The university's first radio station was on the AM frequency 850 kHz, a donation from Knoxville radio station WIVK-AM/FM. The Phoenix, a literary art magazine, is published in the fall and spring semesters and showcases student artistic creativity. The Tennessee Journalist (TNJN) is an online news publication of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media and is a collaboration of regular editorial staff and student contributors, many of which receive classroom credit for their work.

The editorially independent student newspaper of the University publishes 15,000 copies a day, five days a week, and has a staff of over 100 which includes an editorial team of 14, more than 60 staff writers, photographers, copyeditors, and other staff members during the Fall and Spring semesters. The paper publishes twice a week during the summer semester (May through August) and has significantly fewer staff writers during the summer.

The publication is part of a tradition which goes back in the semi-monthly publication of The University Times-Prospectus in 1871. The Orange and White followed in 1906 as a weekly publication and was later published semi-weekly. The Daily Beacon was established 61 years later under the management of alumnus David Hall (1965) and was published four times per week. Not long after, the paper began publishing issues five times a week. It publishes approximately 180 issues per academic year while classes are in session.

Numerous religious centers are located on the campus, including the University of Tennessee's Christian Student Fellowship, the Knoxville campus' Non-Denominational Protestant Christian group, the Wesley Foundation (a United Methodist student center), Pope John XXIII (a Catholic student center), and the Christian Student Center. One campus religious organization, the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, frequently participates in a number of campus events that are traditionally exclusive to fraternities and sororities, including All-Sing, Carnicus, and the Delta Gamma Anchor Splash. Numerous other Christian clubs also exist on campus, which meet in various locations. Multiple other religions are represented as well.

UT is home to 17 sororities and 27 fraternities. Thirteen of these fraternities currently have on-campus fraternity houses. Sorority houses will be constructed in the next few years.

Sororities at UT do not have houses, but have space in the Panhellenic Building. The Panhellenic Building houses 14 of the 17 social sororities at UTK. Although the building is not a residence hall facility, each sorority has a suite consisting of a large living room, a kitchen, an office, and a storage area. The Panhellenic Affairs Office is located on the first floor of the building and serves as the center for coordinating all sorority activities. The office staff and student leaders are readily available to provide information concerning Panhellenic Council, any of the individual sororities, or the rush / recruitment registration process.

In addition to NPC sororities, UT also has 3 National Pan Hellenic Council (NHPC) sororities: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, and Zeta Phi Beta. These sororities are governed by the Black Greek Letter Council. UT also has a chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations as well as Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority.

North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) fraternities at UT have an average size of 56 members. Sixteen campus fraternities have their own houses on campus.

The University of Tennessee, as the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Tennessee, the 29th oldest in the United States, and the oldest secular college west of the Appalachian Mountains, has accumulated numerous traditions over its long history. Former university historian Milton M. Klein summarizes the history behind many school traditions on his homepage.

Charles Moore, president of the university's athletic association, chose orange and white for the school colors on April 12, 1889. His inspiration is said to have come from orange and white daisies which grew on the Hill. To this day there are still orange and white flowers grown outside the University Center. Although students confirmed the colors at a special meeting in 1892, dissatisfaction caused the colors to be dropped. No other acceptable colors were agreed to, however, so the colors were reinstated one day later. Orange and white have remained the university colors since.

The Pride of the Southland Band (or simply The Pride) is UT's marching band. As one of the oldest institutions at the University, the Band partakes in many of the game day traditions. At every home game, the Pride performs the "March to the Stadium" which includes a parade sequence and climaxes when the Band stops at the bottom of the Hill and performs the "Salute to the Hill," an homage to the history and legacy of the University. The Band is known for its pregame show at the beginning of every home game, which ends with the football team running onto the field through the "Opening of the T". This is one of the most photographed moments in football. Something the Pride does every year is the famous "Circle Drill". It is performed at least twice a year, with only one home performance.

The official fight song is actually "Down the Field," which is played when the Pride "Opens the T" for the team to run through at the end of their famous Pregame show, as well as when the Vols score a touchdown.

In 1953 the campus Pep Club sponsored a contest to have a live mascot. The hound was chosen since it is a native breed and its small stature and loud baying represent a unique combination. Announcements recruiting potential mascots in a local newspaper read, "This can't be an ordinary hound. He must be a 'Houn' Dawg' in the best sense of the word." The Rev. William C. "Bill" Brooks entered his prizewinning Bluetick Coonhound "Brooks' Blue Smokey," which won over the other eight contestants. Although he was the last hound to be introduced at the half-time contest, Smokey barked when his name was called. The students cheered and Smokey threw his head back and howled again and UT had its new mascot. The current mascot is Smokey IX. He is looked after by two student trainers from Alpha Gamma Rho, a national agricultural fraternity.

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Source : Wikipedia