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The Lost State of FranklinAmerica's First Secession$
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Kevin T. Barksdale

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125213

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125213.001.0001

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Introduction: Footstool of Liberty’s Throne

Introduction: Footstool of Liberty’s Throne

Hero-Making versus Historiography

(p.3) Introduction: Footstool of Liberty’s Throne
The Lost State of Franklin

Kevin T. Barksdale

University Press of Kentucky

This section identifies two interpretive paths of the historical scholarship of the statehood movement of Franklin. It notes that Franklin defenders have treated the statehood movement as a serious rebellion—the cry of the West, distancing it from the economic motivations and internal factionalism which taints the Franklinites and their supporters. The section further notes that Thomas Perkins Abernethy penned a scathing economic interpretation of the development of the Tennessee frontier which emphasizes the central role land speculators played in the organization of Tennessee, and which condemns the consequences of their monopolization of land and corruption of regional politics on the unsuspecting yeoman farmers of the Valley. It explains that this study seeks to find Franklin's historical middle ground and reveal the complex, chaotic, and often tragic historical reality behind the backcountry movement to create America's first trans-Appalachian state.

Keywords:   historical scholarship, statehood movement, rebellion, Thomas Perkins Abernethy, Tennessee frontier, land speculators, monopolization, regional politics, yeoman farmers, trans-Appalachian state

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