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The lost State of Franklin is a piece of east Tennessee history that isn’t that well-known, yet remnants of this story are everywhere you turn. Johnson City, as well as east Tennessee, streets still have stories to tell. If the streets that run through our home could talk, here is another story they would tell you.

Prior to 1796, Tennessee didn’t exist.  The population that existed at the time and that made up east Tennessee wanted to form a state. So in 1784, they wrote a constitution, elected a governor and began business affairs. They called their new found state, the State of Franklin.

The State of Franklin was an interesting little place. Its capital was in, what we know today as, Greeneville. They used the name, Franklin, to try and lure Benjamin Franklin to come be a part of their state.

In Franklin, they never used money. They created a complicated system of barter. They also banned ministers of the gospel and lawyers from public office in their constitution.

During this time, this part of Tennessee belonged to North Carolina. When the people from the State of Franklin proposed their new home to Congress, North Carolina fought against passing their proposal.

Thus, the State of Franklin ceased to exist. It became a piece of local and American history.

However, the State of Franklin and its failure to be accepted by the confederate government played an important role in a major turning point in history. It helped to prove that clearly the Articles of Confederation did not and would never work. Which aided the original 13 states on how to form a new constitution to prevent future incidents like the forming of the State of Franklin.

If you would like to know more about the state that almost was, read all about it here: