If you’re a Tennessean, you know you’re a Volunteer even if you don’t wear orange on Game Day Saturdays (I don’t). Personally, I grew up in Indiana and moved to Nashville in 2002. Growing up in Indiana, there is certainly some debate on what a Hoosier or Pacer represents. But for now, let’s look at Tennessee…the “Volunteer State.” Where did this slogan come from? Even the history may be a point of contention.
Some claim the name bubbled up and stuck during the War of 1812. At that time, Tennessee Governor Willie Blount was asked by President James Madison to send 1500 troops for the defense of the lower Mississippi region. Ironically, this region was commanded by Andrew Jackson. Tennessee’s “volunteer” soldiers played a critical role in this war with Great Britain.
However, most historians say the nickname was given to Tennesseans during the Mexican–American War in the 1840s. And like the battles of 1812, this war was fought outside Tennessee’s borders as well. President Polk made a nationwide appeal for at least 2600 more volunteer soldiers to come and beef up US troops. Almost immediately, some 30,000 Tennesseans responded by painting GTT (Gone to Texas) on their front doors and heading to Texas to fight.
Whichever war inspired the Volunteer name, Tennessee is still going strong! From hospitality, entertainment, and serving as a key gateway to the South, the Volunteer state is certainly something to be proud of.
Here are some more interesting facts about Tennessee:
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