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TN History for Kids

Teacher's guide to He that hath no sword

This page contains background information and quiz answers for the booklet He that hath no sword: The Volunteer State since 1850.

Rather than buying a single classroom set, please consider buying one for every student. We sell these booklets for $2 and print them on non-glossy paper because we want students to write in their booklets and keep them.

Regarding the quizzes: we tried to come up with thoughtful questions that meet Common Core curriculum objectives for non-fiction reading. Because of this, many of these questions have multiple right answers.

If you have any comments about the booklet or this teachers guide, please email Bill Carey at

Chapter One: Tunnel through the mountain

Standards: 5.1 and 5.27

1. Railroad companies would have had to raise money from investors to build the railroads. They would have had to obtain permission and authorization from the Tennessee General Assembly. Railroads also would have had to overcome many difficult and expensive engineering obstacles in building railroads over mountains, through mountains and over rivers.

2. Knoxville wanted a railroad badly because the Tennessee River was difficult to navigate downstream, both in present-day Chattanooga and in present-day Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

3. Railroads made it easier, quicker and much cheaper to get people, goods and raw materials from one part of Tennessee to another and from points in Tennessee to key trading cities outside of Tennessee, such as Charleston, South Carolina; Louisville, Kentucky; and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Chapter Two: The Tennessee institution

Standards: 5.1 and 5.6

1. West Tennessee had the largest number of slaves; East Tennessee had the least number of slaves.

2. Through most of his life, Montgomery Bell though slavery was all right; he owned more than 300 slaves. However, toward the end of his life he changes his mind about slavery and even began freeing his slaves and colonizing them in Liberia.

3. The Tennessee State Capitol; the tunnel at the Narrows of the Harpeth; and the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway tunnel through the Cumberland Plateau were all built by slaves.

Chapter Three: He that hath no sword

Standards: 5.6, 5.11, 5,12 and 5.15

1. East Tennessee has a very small slave population and very few slave owners. Since there were very few slaves and slaveholders in East Tennessee, people there did not want to fight a war to defend slavery.

2. Answers to this question may vary. But the article implies that good Southerners will prepare for war. It also implies that Southerners would fight better and harder than Northerners because their intentions are more true and honest.

3. The fall of Fort Donelson allowed Union Army gunboats to move unopposed up the Cumberland River to Nashville. It also meant that no goods or people could leave Nashville anymore without having to pass the union-occupied fort.

Chapter Four: Place of Peace

Standards: 5.11, 5.12, 5.16 and 5.17

1. One reason is shook Americans was the high death count, since more Americans were killed at Shiloh than at all the American battles in all the American wars fought prior to that time.

2. The Emancipation Proclamation was a war time act largely meant to incite slaves behind Confederate lines to rebel. It did not free slaves in Union-held Tennessee, or in border states where slavery existed such as Kentucky and Maryland.

3. Disease was the greatest cause of death during the Civil War.

Sidebar on Sam Watkins - Standards: 5.14, 5.15 and required primary document

Chapter Five: Death on home ground

Standards: 5.11 and 5.12

1. He hoped that by moving his army back to Tennessee that Sherman would order his army follow him. If Sherman's large army didn't follow him, Hood thought he could retake Nashville and cut off Sherman's supply lines.

2. Tod Carter had left home, fought in and survived dozens of battles all over the South, only to come home and be killed in a battle that took place in his parents' yard.

Chapter Six: The tailor and the parson

Standards: 5.20, 5.23, 5.24 and 5.26

1. Most Tennesseans were pro-Confederate. Governor Brownlow was a staunch Unionist who thought Confederates should be punished.

2. A poll tax is a tax on the act of voting. (Answers to the right and wrong follow-up question will obviously vary).

3. Fourteen different African Americans served in the Tennessee General Assembly in the 1870s and 1880s. Throughout most of the 1880s there were four black House members at any one time.

Chapter Seven: Bluff City

Standards: 5.26 and 5.41

1. As best we can tell, there are several reasons:

  • Memphis got mail service first, which led to better roads.
  • Memphis had more powerful investors (including General Andrew Jackson).
  • The land on which Randolph sat eventually began to ebb away much faster than the land on which Memphis sat.

Some of these reasons are better amplified in the virtual tour of Randolph here.

2. Robert Church made had a lot of businesses from which he made money. We believe that he became wealthy through his purchase and rental of residential property.

3. She sued the railroad because she was forcibly removed from his seat and thrown off the train. The railroad argued that she had no right to sit on a coach that they reserved for whites and non-smokers. Her lawyer argued otherwise.

Chapter Eight: Leaving the farm

Standards: 5.27, 5.35, 5.40 and 5.47

1. Answers will vary.

2. They became nationally famous because the mining company, working with state government, tried to replace miners with inmates from the Tennessee State Prison.

3. The company was called the National Life and Accident Insurance Company. In the early days of radio it had a station called WSM. The best-know radio show on WSM was the Grand Ole Opry.

Sidebar on Alvin York - Standard: 5.44

Chapter Nine: Suffrage and the Smokies

Standards: 5.46 and 5.50

1. It was important because, since 35 states had preceded Tennessee in ratifying the amendment, Tennessee's ratification meant that the amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution.

2. Answers will vary.

Here are some ways in which they were similar: They started with grass-roots efforts, as opposed to with government action. They both required many years and many thousands of people to occur. The success of both were, at one time, dependent on the actions of the Tennessee General Assembly. In both cases, their success is something we take for granted today.

Here are some ways in which they were different: The suffrage movement  was largely created and led by women, the Smoky Mountain movement by men and women. The suffrage movement was almost entirely a political battle; the Great Smoky Mountain movement was mostly a fundraising battle.

Chapter Ten: Tennessee's New Deal

Standards: 5.49 and 5.50

1. For many people it meant that they lost all of the money that they had in that bank. (Depending on the bank and the situation, it might mean that you lost some of the money that you had in that bank; every case differed).

2. After Wilson Dam was built, the government didn't know what to do with it. That discussion lasted more than a decade and led to the eventual creation of TVA.

3. 1) TVA dams from one end of the Tennessee River to the other; 2) the Cumberland Homesteads; 3) CCC roads, trails, cabins and other things in national and state parks across Tennessee; 4) courthouses and post offices in many of the state's counties.

Chapter 11: Tennessee goes to war again

Standards: 5.56, 5.59 and 5.60

1. It was kept a secret because the federal government did not want Germany, Japan or Italy to know that the United States was working on an atomic bomb.

2. Answers will vary. Most students will probably conclude that Oak Ridge and the development of the atomic bomb were the most important contributions Tennessee's "home front" made to the war effort.

Chapter 12: Music State USA

Standards: 5.47 and 5.64

Chapter 13: Segregation no more

Standards: 5.65

1. A person who disobeyed the segregation laws would have been ticketed or arrested, just like anyone who disobeys laws today.

2. The Highlander Folk School was important because it was there that much of the strategy behind the Civil Rights Movement was mapped out, and where many of the civil rights leaders were trained.

3. Answers may vary. King was in Memphis trying to help striking garbage workers. Most of these garbage workers were black, but some of them were white, and this is an important point.

Chapter 14: Filling in the blanks

Standards: 5.61, 5.67 and 5.69

1. The interstate superhighways dramatically reduced the time it takes to get from one part of the state to another. They also shifted a lot of commerce from town centers to the interstate exits.

2. Answers will vary. There are some students whose parents may work for car manufacturers, and they may think that the "car industry" section is the most important. Students who live in suburban communities may think that the best answer is "superhighways." Hard to say!