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State of Frankland Constitution

September 11, 2017

Now part of East Tennessee, the State of Franklin (originally Frankland) was a short-lived attempt to form a new state and later an independent republic from eight counties in Western North Carolina after the American Revolution. Though it only lasted from 1784 to 1788, the State of Franklin gave rise to a number important figures in Tennessee and U.S. history including John Sevier, the first governor of both the State of Franklin and Tennessee, the frontiersman and statesman David Crockett, and General James White, the founder of Knoxville.

The Tennessee Historical Society’s collection includes this pamphlet containing a provisional statement of rights and constitution for the State of Frankland published in 1786 by Reverend Samuel Houston. Historian J.G.M. Ramsey gave the document to the THS while serving as its president in 1880. He believed it to be the only surviving printed document from the State of Franklin in existence.

Tennessee Historical Society Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives.