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TN History for Kids

Teacher's guide to Raise the children the best you can

This page contains standards and background information along with quiz answers for the booklet Raise the children the best you can: A history of Tennessee since 1870.

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, keep them and treasure them.

Please do NOT copy the booklets. That is a violation of our copyright and makes it difficult for us to continue to exist. The reason we sell them for only $2 is so teachers will not be tempted to copy the booklets.

If you have any comments about the booklet, email Bill Carey at

Chapter One: Radicals and Rebels

Standards: U.S. 2 and 3

1. The Tennessee General Assembly passed the 14th amendment mainly in hopes that by doing so, Tennessee would be allowed back into the Union.

2. In 1867, adult men who had fought for or sided with the Union and practically all adult African-American men were eligible to vote (that doesn't mean that they all voted, however). Men who had fought for or sided with the Confederacy, all women and all children were uneligible to vote.

3. They hated Joseph Fowler because he vote against removing Governor Andrew Johnson from office.

Chapter Two: Thrown from the train

Standards: U.S. 2, 3 and 36

1. For many white Tennesseans, especially those who sided with the Confederacy, Reconstruction was viewed as the time when the lost much of their wealth and temporarily lost the ability to vote. Black Tennesseans viewed Reconstruction as the time they got to enjoy freedom, found new opportunities, and even saw some of their own elected to the legislature.

2. The General Assembly passed a number of laws that took voting power away from African Americans, including a poll tax, the Dortch Law (effectively a literacy test), and through the creation of "at-large" House districts in populous counties such as Shelby and Davidson.

3. Ida B. Wells was told that she could not ride in the rear coach and that she had to ride in the front coach, where African Americans and smokers were required to ride.

Sidebar on Death floats to Memphis - Standards: U.S. 2

Chapter Three: Ghost towns, coal wars

Standards: U.S. 1, 14 and 15

1. They are completely gone because, when they were active, every structure in the community was owned by the company that owned the mines. When the mines shut down, there was not a single employer to keep residents in these communities, so they left. Often the company sold the houses off for scrap when they shut the mines down.

2. The process of "smelting" the copper ore released sulfuric acid into the air. Sulfuric acid is basically poisonous, and when it fell to earth it killed every plant and animal in the Ducktown Basin.

3. Based on the legislative record, officials in Coal Creek were hoping that if they changed the name to Lake City, people would stop thinking about their town's sad history as a coal mining town and think of it more as a vacation destination (Norris Lake is near Lake City).

Chapter Four: Something made of dreams

Standards: U.S. 1 and 14

1. Among the things that led to the industrialization of Tennessee were the creation of railroads; the existence of an eager workforce that was willing to move; the existence of raw materials such as timber, coal and cotton; inventions such as the cotton gin and the steam engine; and the money invested by business people.

2. Tennessee's early lumberyards were located on rivers because the timber was transported to them in the form of log rafts, floated from points upstream.

3. Answers may vary. For one thing, the trip to the cotton mill left an indelible mark in his mind, based on the details he remembered years later. It would appear is that he was mesmerized by the beauty and precision of it.

Chapter Five: Tennessee's "Progressive Era"

Standards: U.S. 17, 18 and 36

1. (Do understand the very way in which this question is answered is related to how we currently define and interpret the word "progressive") Most people would say that the Progressive Era was "progressive" in terms of women's rights, public education, child labor laws and crusades against political "machines" such as "Boss" Tweed of New York.

2. Today, most people would say that the Progressive Era was not "progressive" in terms of race relations and civil rights.

Chapter Six: War and epidemic

Standards: U.S. 28

1. Historians have been asking this question for years, since the epidemic killed three times the number of people that the war did. One common theory is that war stories make better history. Also, there are very few photographs of the suffering that occurred during the Influenza Epidemic of 1918.

2. One of the results of the epidemic was a wave of reform within the medical community. The training of doctors as we know it largely came about because of reforms in medical education that took place after the influenza epidemic.

Chapter Seven: Trails and trial

Standards: U.S. 38 and 49

1. Answers will vary. It is safe to say that people take the Great Smoky Mountains for granted. Most living Tennesseans have no idea how many people worked for so long to create it.

2. One would assume that the Scopes Trial, and the media's coverag of it, convinced many Americans that Tennesseans were fundamentalist and religious.

Chapter Eight: Tennessee's New Deal

Standards: U.S. 49 and 51

1. Among the original goals of TVA was flood control, better navigation along the river and fertilizer production. It should be pointed out that, originally, the creation of cheap electricity was NOT one of TVA's original goals.

2. It affects Tennesseans every day in the creation of cheap electricity, which we all use. Many Tennesseans also fish and explore some of the TVA lakes inside Tennessee.

3. Answers may vary, and this point might even be somewhat speculative. However, the Roosevelt administration realized it had put thousands of coal miners in Tennessee out of work with the creation of TVA's dams (and the cheap electricity they produced). They were happy to see some of these coal miners given no opportunities at places such as the Cumberland Homesteads.

Sidebar on Cordell Hull - Standard: U.S. 72

Chapter Nine: Tanks with flowers

Standards: U.S. 64 and 68

1. Answers will vary. Most would probably argue that Oak Ridge and the creation of the atomic bomb were the most important things to happen on the Tennessee home front during the war.

2. Without question it would be harder for the government to keep a secret such as it did in the 1940s. In fact, it would be impossible, because of advances in technology (radio, television and the internet) and also in travel. Today, the federal government wouldn't even be able to acquire land for a secret project without it being reported and speculated about in the news.

Sidebar on Mink Slide and Columbia - Standards: U.S. 90 and U.S. 92

Chapter 11: A balcony in Memphis

Standards: U.S. 43, 44 and 86

1. Answer will vary. Today, many of the people who were active in the Civil Rights Movement maintain that it would not have succeeded had it been nonviolent in nature. Also, on a practical level, if the Civil Rights Movement not been "nonviolent," a lot more people would have been killed when the movement took place.

2. Martin Luther King Jr. was in Memphis in April 1968 to show support for striking garbage workers.

3. Answers will vary. Many Tennesseans do not know about Highlander and are truly surprised to know about its role in the Civil Rights Movement. However, some are just as surprised about the Tent Cities, which received heavy publicity in national media at the time but is often ignored in textbooks today.

Chapter 12: Picking up the pace

Standards: U.S. 81, 84, 101 and 110

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!