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Tennessee - the Volunteer State

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Princess Hill

Dr. Hoffman

Pos 210

March 21, 2017


The Volunteer State

Tennessee is a state that is in the southeastern region of the United States. It’s the 36th largest and the 17th most populous of the other 50 states. The state of Tennessee is rooted in the Watauga Association, a 1772 frontier pact that is regarded as the first constitutional government of the Appalachians. Tennessee was the last state to leave the Union and join the Confederacy during the Civil War in 1861. However, in 1862, it was the first state to be remitted into the Union after the war ended. During the Civil War, Tennessee recruited more soldiers for the Confederate Army and more for the Union Army than the other states. During the 1750s, the modern spelling “Tennessee” was attributed by governor James Glenn. The spelling was popularized by the publication of Henry Timberlake’s ”Draught of the Cherokee Country” in 1765. It’s the location of several Over hill Cherokee towns following the end of the Anglo-Cherokee War. Tennessee is known as the “Volunteer State” because during the War of 1812 the role was played by volunteered soldiers from the state. The state constitution allows no more than two justices of the five-member Tennessee Supreme Court.

  History, Tennessee (History n.d.)      http://www.history.com/topics/us-states/tennessee

The Constitution of the State of Tennessee defines the form, structure, activities, character, and rules if they wanted to change the constitution. The original state constitution came into effect on June 1, 1796 to their admission to get into the Union. In 1835, a second version of the Constitution was adopted. The one that is use today was written in 1870 with subsequent amendments. The first constitution was being criticized because it did not have all the information to go forth. The constitution didn’t have a fall-time governor, authority, or a legislature. It also didn’t create a state supreme court. By the incomplete Constitution, it wasn’t submitted by the voters for approval. However, the state Constitution was approved by the U.S Congress. The second Constitution was from a state constitutional convention that was in Nashville. It had sixty delegates present at the convention. During the convention, the delegates rejected the antislavery interests petitioned to abolish slavery. The state Constitution adopted the opportunity for citizens to participate in the political process but limited suffrage to white males. The Constitution was approved by the voters because it had its states’ Supreme Court. The Constitution that is used today was written because the delegates wanted to upheld a convention. They wanted to replace the second constitution.

In Article I, it has the state of Tennessee Bill of Rights. Bill of Rights, is also called Declaration of Rights is rights of the citizens of Tennessee. The purpose of the bill of rights is to protect the citizens of the state. Freedom of press, the right to bear arms, abolish slavery except as punishment of a crime, double jeopardy may not be practiced are examples of the bill of rights. The state constitution has the three separation of powers such as the legislature branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. The legislature branch, named the general assembly is the lawmaking power of the state. It’s the upper house in the senate and the lower house in the House of Representatives. On the second Tuesday of November there are elections to appoint another Legislature Branch. The Representatives have to be a U.S. citizens, 21 years old and be an county citizen for one year. The executive branch is empowered with a line-item veto. The line-item veto is a special veto that gives the chief executive permission to reject parts of the legislature part without vetoing the entire bill. However, majority of the members may override the vote. The executive branch also run the day-to-day operations of the state. (TN History for Kids). The judiciary branch interprets and applies the laws. The judiciary branch runs the court and decides what the laws mean when the citizens don’t agree with them (TN History for Kids). An election will be held between the five members within the Grand Division. The court will choose the state Attorney General for an eight-year term.

  1. Office of the Chief Clerk of the Senate, The Constitution of the Senate of Tennessee, November 4, 2014, http://www.capitol.tn.gov/about/docs/TN-Constitution.pdf
  2. Tennessee Constitution, Tennessee Blue Book, N/a http://www.tennessee.gov/sos/bluebook/07-08/47-Constitution,%20Tennessee.pdf 

The struggle between the three government branches is constant.

In Tennessee, the General Assembly is a bicameral legislature and consists of a Senate of thirty-three members and a House of Representatives of ninety-nine members (Tennessee Blue Book). Tennessee has 28 Republicans and 5 Democratic legislators in the Senate office. In 1966, Tennessee state Senator served a two-year term. The senators can serve a four-year term. The General Assemble is a part-time legislature. The General Assembly is recognized by the state constitution as the supreme legislative authority of the state. It is the General Assembly's responsibility to pass a budget for the functioning of the state government.  They appoint the three state officers specified by the current state constitution (Tennessee General Assemble, Wikipedia). The speaker of the House of Representatives is Beth Harwell. Bill Haslem has been the governor of Tennessee since November 2014. The Governor is elected every four-years by the plurality votes and two consecutive terms.

In Article III, Section 17 in the state Constitution is the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is the executive position that is elected by the state legislature. The secretary carries out most of the administrative duties of the state government. However, he or she is not the keeper of the state seal. The Secretary of Tennessee is Tre Hargett; he is a Republican. The secretary is a partisan party and must serve four years in the office. The secretary responsibilities are to keep a register of all the official acts and proceedings of the governor. He or she also serves on many state boards and agencies such as: state funding board, board of claims, state capitol commission, and Public Records Commission. In Article VII, Section 3 is the Tennessee Treasurer. The treasurer gets elected by a joint vote of the general assembly. The treasurer of Tennessee manages of state investments, receives and disburses public funds and administers major employee benefit programs (Ballotepedia). The treasurer is in the non-partisan party; he or she must serve 2 years in office. The current treasurer is David Lillard, Jr. The Tennessee Regulatory Authority is responsible for fixing the utilities. It helps assistance and consumer protection.



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