Major battles were fought in Tennessee - many of them Union victories: they included Shiloh; the naval battle at Memphis on the Mississippi River; Battles of Chattanooga and Murfreesboro, and finally ending in the Battle of Nashville, where the Confederates were all but destroyed.
At war's end, the Tennessee legislature approved an amendment to the state constitution prohibiting slavery; they also ratified the Thirteen Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (abolishing slavery), and the Fourteenth Amendment that gave equal protection for all persons under the law.
Andrew Johnson (from Tennessee) was elected Vice President in 1864 and served along side President Abraham Lincoln. He became President after Lincoln's tragic assassination in 1865, and during his term, Tennessee was the first of the seceding states to have its elected members readmitted to the U.S. Congress.
When reconstruction ended, political powers across many of the southern states continually found ways to restrict the civil rights of African Americans, and Tennessee was no exception. Racial tensions and social divisions festered for many years, all legally ended by America's Civil Rights Act of 1964.
As it turned out, the Great Depression of the 1930's was the economic turning point for Tennessee. Jobs were desperately needed, and President Franklin Roosevelt and the federal government answered that call by creating the TVA, or Tennessee Valley Authority. Its goals were to produce electricity for the rural areas and to make the Tennessee River a viable shipping corridor.
At the start of World War II, aluminum to build bombs and airplanes was in short supply, as aluminum plants required massive amounts of electricity. To provide that power, the TVA engaged in one of the largest hydropower construction programs ever undertaken. Early in 1942, when the effort reached its peak, 12 hydroelectric projects and a steam plant were under construction at the same time.
By the time the war ended, the TVA had completed a 650-mile-long navigation channel the full length of the Tennessee River. As a result, the TVA transformed Tennessee into an economic powerhouse, and the state became the largest public utility supplier in the country.
In the middle of the 20th century, the Tennessee River Valley exploded with economic growth; unemployment was almost nonexistent; family farms and commercial forests were in better shape than they had been in generations, and electric rates were among the nation's lowest. Improving on the situation, the TVA began to build nuclear plants as a new source of power for the future.
Renowned as the "Birthplace of the Blues;" the home of Elvis Presley, and of course, for Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry, Tennessee is rightfully known as the Country Music Capital of the World. Tennessee is one of America's most popular tourist destinations, as it perfectly represents the natural beauty and history of America, as well as the music legends that made this state famous.
The unforgettable beauty and charm of Tennessee begins along the historic Mississippi River, then moves east across miles of farmland, to blend into the bluegrass valleys and powerful rivers at its heart. It ends (all to soon), in the misty hollows and forests of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Tennessee Cities, Counties & Area Codes