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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Initial post, test, "How the States got Their Shapes"

Welcome to Mr. Pags' AP US History blog (PAGSAPUSH).  My goal this year is to utilize this blog for online discussion, and to allow you all to post questions, comments, or concerns regularly regarding topics we'll be covering throughout the year.

This initial post is only a test.  I'm curious to see who uses it, your thoughts, etc.  I thought we could start with something simple.  Recently, I watched a show on History Channel entitled How the States got Their Shapes.  It was very interesting, and went over some obvious things (the use of rivers and other natural boundaries), and some things I had never heard before (for instance, regarding the state of Franklin named after Benjamin Franklin, or the Jefferson Territory which contained parts of various, current Rocky Mountain states).

These two were of particular interest to me as I watched.  I have provided links to two short articles regarding these two defunct territories of the United States of America (I've confirmed the information in each article).  Additionally, you should view the video regarding the State of Franklin's history.  It was a documentary made by a student like you for the National History Day competition.  Please reply with constructive comments and reactions to what you read, view.  And, of course, please be as specific as possible.



The Lost State of Franklin - History Day 2008 from Alexander Atallah on Vimeo.

21 comments:

Jess said...

I didn't realize how complicated it had been for the U.S. to create new states. Not everyone or even the majority wanted to create new states, but they all wanted to move west and expand. The State of Franklin helped pave the way for the rest of the states' creation.

Julie said...

I feel like the Jefferson Territory went through a lot of trouble just to be declined its right too become a state. In the end, it was used as a divided region for parts of Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Utah, and Kansas. It survived a good 16 months before the U.S separated its land into different regions and continued not to recognize its democracy. -Julie Chacho

mrowl12345 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mrowl12345 said...

In my opinion, the state of Franklin was treated unfairly by the new U.S. government. By the time Franklin had hit its high point in 1786 Franklin had made great stides in making peace with the Native Americans and keeping their state organized and safe with their own malitias and counties. The U.S. government had failed to see Franklin's potential. In the end, even after the state of Franklin had failed and became a part of Tennessee, Franklin had helped start the beginings of settlements in the west.-Jake Lipinsky

Mike said...

The way I see it, the State of Franklin had many troubles that came along with it. There were a lot of disputes over it being controlled by a foreign power, and that led to Sevier's arrest and joining of allegiance to North Carolina. This was the ultimate outcome of the State of Franklin, because it couldn't support its economy anymore, and without the money from Spain, it had fallen short of all it could have possibly accomplished. It had lasted four years, but never became part of the United States, and just became part of Tennessee. With the Jefferson Territory, it had lasted 16 months, but not all was to waste. It had made an impact of the federal government at least noticing its eastern border, although it was never truly recognized as anything else but that. This is a small outcome however, and most had gone to loss for the Jefferson Territory. A lot of hard work by these few people to keep it going was all for nothing. However, I feel both of these attempts at expanding helped set a foothold for the creation of states to come thereafter, and that is truly what these two events should be known for. -Mike Espinell

Diana said...

I feel that the State of Franklin had a great impact on the colonization of future states that were soon to be created. Although the State of Franklin, which was established in 1784,was not very successful throughout the four years that it stood, it did however prove that settlement in the west was possible. Even though it did not officially become part of the United States as a separate state, it went through many obstacles to make it last for a considerable amount of time. The shaping of the State of Franklin truly helped the US to expand with new settlements in the west. -Diana Yu

cvalenti2 said...

It is interesting that even after Benjamin Franklin rejected supporting the State of Franklin that the leaders still kept his name as the title of their potential nation just because it seemed more appealing than Frankland which was the previous name when the state was first denied statehood. The Jefferson Territory and the State of Franklin were both failed attempts at statehood in unorganized counties with developing governments, but both regions proved to be successful role models for later states. For example, the Jefferson Territory made many decisions that framed the choices of later states; including, forming counties and laws which were later used or reestablished within Colorado. Also, the effort of the State of Franklin attempting to become a government seperate from that of North Carolina paid off because even though Franklin did not claim statehood, it later became a part of Tennessee resulting in a new government which was their overall goal (as suggested at the end of the video). So, despite the fact that these territories eventually dispatched, their legacy carried on and served as a model for the remaining states that were yet to come.
~Sarah Valenti

C.Slotter said...

Prior to reading the articles on the State of Franklin and the Jefferson Territory, I hadn't realized how difficult it was to form new states. I had previously thought that the government organized new states based on landmarks (rivers, mountains, lakes). However, in the formations of both the State of Franklin and the Jefferson Territory, it was not the government, but citizens and settlers that organized and petitioned for a new government. I had also never thought about how complicated it was for these citizens to get their territory admitted as a state. For example, the State of Franklin fought against Native Americans, battled North Carolina citizens (Battle of Franklin), and spent years trying to convince Congress to admit the Franklin as a State- they even changed their name to Franklin to appeal to more congress members. In the Jefferson Territory, citizens formed their own government in order to get organized. However, they were never able to get enough support in Congress and eventually disbanded when Colorado and Kansas were admitted as separate states. Despite these failures, both the State of Franklin and the Jefferson Territory provided models for future state formation and government. Eventually the area of the State of Franklin was admitted as the State of Tennessee, which shows how citizens have the ability to form their own government and make a difference in American politics. -Caitlin Slotter

C said...

I just want you all to know, this is great. Your comments and ideas are excellent. This is exactly the type of interaction I was hoping forward to seeing. I'm going to go back and reread these, and make some commentary. Great work so far for those of you who have posted.

C said...

Early in the article on the State of Franklin, it was curious to read "The legislature made treaties with the Indian tribes in the area, opened courts, incorporated and annexed five new counties." And a few short paragraphs later, the same Native Americans seem to take advantage of the rift between NC and Franklin as: "In late March 1788, the Cherokee, Chickamauga and Chickasaw nations collectively began to attack white American settlements in Franklin with abandon. These Indian attacks led the short-lived state to settle its differences with North Carolina very quickly, so their militia might aid in driving out the Native American attackers."

Though Franklin was unsuccessful, it was interesting to read about the organization of the Southwest Territory. Time is often spent dealing with the Northwest Territory and the Western Reserve organization in the period between the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolution and the ratification of the Constitution, five years later. However, this was one of the first times I've read mention of the Southwest Territory. It's exploration by Daniel Boone is well known, but the history of the region is seldom mentioned. Perhaps it's because we are in New England. Regardless, it was interesting to read about this area, to finally make a connection between Boone and Davy Crockett (born near a river in Franklin, not "Born on a mountain top in Tennessee..."

jennaaxrae18 said...

I'm a fan of documentaries therefor, this was initially interesting for me to watch/read about. After reading through the articled entitled, "State of Franklin History," I realize that the creation of a new state isn't as simple as someone may have thought it to be. Supporters of the state of Franklin had a lot of doubt coming their way and were put down quite a bit. For example, not being supported by Ben Franklin himself, he who the state was being named after. Honestly, I was surprised that even though Franklin did not gain its own title as a state, their attempt still was somewhat successful when it eventually turned into part of Tennessee. Although the statehood didn't work as initially planned, it still stood as a model for states soon to come. As for the Jefferson Territory, it too went through a lot in its attempt at branching off. Both the Jefferson Territory and Franklin started it off for a lot other trying territories and were an important mark in history because of this. -Jenna Ryan

rzgraggen said...

It sounds like the North Carolinians were acting just like the British by not allowing another peoples freedom.

smurftastic44 said...

In my opinion the state of Franklin had potential, but the lack of support from North Carolina and the government resulted in its failure. However, without John Sevier, Franklin would have never gotten as far as it did. Unfortunately his leadership was not enough. The economy was weak and there was a lack of military support, which enabled the Native Americans to attack them. They should have allowed North Carolina to have sovereignty over Franklin when they offered to waive back taxes. Had they swallowed their pride, then the situation would not have been quite as devastating. In regard to the Jefferson Territory, it definitely had the potential to become a state, like many other territories such as the Washington Territory. Their government was very organized, and it is appalling that it was not recognized as an official territory. Unfortunately the U.S. government was not very open-minded to the idea of the Jefferson Territory. Because of this, the Jefferson Territory was never given a fair chance at becoming a part of the United States of America. Hence, both the State of Franklin and the Jefferson Territory both had great potential, but neither were given a fair chance. -Christine Murphy

Jeanette said...

After reading the article and watching the video about the State of Franklin, I realized that the counties had to go through many steps before they were finally made a part of Tennessee. I found it interesting how there were certain standards for people who wanted to hold office there. Sure, there were the obvious qualities that are not wanted, like immorality, but then there were odd standards, like how they cannot be a doctor. Both the Franklin and Jefferson territories had problems with surrounding areas; while the State of Franklin had property struggles (between North Carolina and Tennessee), the Jefferson Territory had issues with government. For example, Kansas officials did not want to have anything to do with the Jefferson Territory's Provisional Government.
-Jeanette Zygmunt

mike51095 said...

I think that the state of Franklin really should have had the right to become a state. The Carolinians basically ignored western Carolina and concentrated on the east. In my opinion the north Carolinians should have expected secession in the west. Then North Carolina tried to stop the Franklin state from becoming a state. It seems very strange why North Carolina would ignore its western territory then expect it to come back after it secedes.

amanda said...

I have never heard of the Jefferson territory. It seems that we have all been learning U.S. history since elementary school and yet there is still so much more to learn. It’s surprising this topic hasn’t come up before; you’d think that America’s first attempt at a 14th state would be an important thing to cover. And yet this lost territory has been forgotten by teachers I have had.
For the country of independence it was surely difficult to become independent. The trouble one had to go through to make a state seemed tedious and somewhat impossible. It surprised me that Americans didn’t want more states… They came to America for independence and were now stopping each other from getting independence (in state form).
On top of the fact that some Americans were against new states, Native Americans were also attempting to keep their land. This made things even more difficult for our poor unrecognized territory.
The chain reaction in particular was interesting to me. Through past events colonies (Greene, Washington, Sullivan) were inspired to prove themselves independent. The Jefferson territory ultimately failed at reaching its goal and yet somehow it succeeding in helping shape America’s states. It’s amazing how one person, or group of people, can affect the actions and aspirations of those around them. Furthermore, it’s interesting how we can relate concepts like the above to ourselves and life around us. It seems like history is taught just to understand how we got here but to understand what goes on around us today, times change but people don’t.
In conclusion I’m glad everything worked out the way it did. Without the territory we might not have the states and without the “failure” Tennessee just wouldn’t be the same.
-Amanda Stockla

Michelle said...

After reading these articles and watching the video I realize that it takes a lot more than just Congress to form a state. The settlers were the ones who initiated new territories and had to prove to other settlers and Congress that it should become a state. Leaders changed the name of Frankland to The State of Franklin to get more people to favor the new territory by using patriotism. With a bigger population of supportes it makes it easier to win votes, which would bring them closer to forming a state.

Even though The State of Franklin and Jefferson Territory never became states, their accomplishments have been adopted by other territories. Many of the laws used in Jefferson Territory were embraced by the state legislature in the Colorado Territory. Not only did laws make a difference but people did too. John Sevier proved that he was a good leader which is why he was appointed as govenor for the new state of Tennessee.

I used to think Congress just set boundaries and states were created but there is a lot more to it. The settlers were the ones who fought to make states and faced many detours to get their wish. Even though some didn't succeed, their efforts were not forgotten.
-Pleban

Ross said...

Upon reading this article, what intrigued me the most was that I had never, in my 9 years of schooling, been taught a single thing about either of these territories or any of their many influences on the United States. This realization has made me even more excited to start this class and, hopefully, dig deeper into american history than I had ever expected. With that, another thing that surprised me while reading these two articles and viewing the attached video was the fact that John Sevier, the governor of The State of Franklin, would be willing to ask for a loan from Spain out of desperation to keep his state from falling farther into economic turmoil. I would have thought that, almost immediately after winning your independence from one international power that you would be somewhat reluctant to put your economic fate in the hands of another power-hungry European nation. Thankfully, North Carolina noticed the threat this posed and quickly stepped in, arresting Sevier and for all intensive purposes ending the State of Franklin. Even though John Sevier's territory had failed in meeting the Union admission requirements, this attempt was not a complete failure by any stretch of the imagination. The State of Franklin laid the groundwork for the forming of later states and also spurred the movement westward. Even though John Sevier, and the State of Franklin as a whole, failed to meet their original goal their efforts were not quickly forgotten by the rest of the United States.

matthew said...

After reading these articles and watching the video, I find it bizarre that not to long ago places like the State of Franklin and Jefferson Territory had even existed, even if only for a few years. What was once the State of Franklin is now parts of Tennessee and North Carolina. And the Jefferson Territory shortly became the Colorado Territory.
Also, I find it fascinating that both of these nonexistent states had great importance to later states but, neither of them are often mentioned throughout American history.
The State of Franklin emerged from the western part of North Carolina, after North Carolina regained its ceded land. After about four years, Franklin's government dissolved as well as the state itself. However, the ideas created by them, were used in forming future states.
After learning about these territories, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about Connecticut. At one time, Connecticut stretched all the way to the Ohio River! It's amazing how much the country changed since July 4, 1776. Which, when I think about it, is not all that long ago.

Krista said...

I found it interesting that the State of Franklin wanted to become a separate state with its own government, but in the end they settled for laws very similar to those of North Carolina. It leads me to believe that most citizens of the State of Franklin were reluctant to completely distance themselves from North Carolina. I was also curious why it was proposed that no lawyers, doctors or preachers could run for a government position. When it comes to the Jefferson Territory it makes me wonder if them being a state would have affected the outcome of the Civil War. The information about these two territories made me realize how different the U.S.A. would be today if the government leaders made different choices; an example is if the State of Franklin chose to form an alliance with Spain, would we be the country we are today?

tboroski44 said...

After reading the article and watching the video, I began to wonder how the United States might be different today had the State of Franklin's petition for statehood been ratified by the federal government in 1785. Would there be 51 states, or only 50? Would there be a Tennessee? Would there be a North Carolina? Would there a be 51st star on the flag?

- Tim Boroski