Off-campus ETSU users: To download "Campus Only" theses, please use the following link to log in to our proxy server with your ETSU username and password.

Non-ETSU users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Tom Lee

Committee Members

Steven Nash, Emmett Essin, Stephen G. Fritz


The Farmers’ Alliance in Western North Carolina receives only cursory analysis in studies concerned with the late nineteenth-century agrarian reform movement in the state. Historians have uniformly labeled the mountain region as inconsequential on the twin basis of geographic isolation and Republicanism. Their analyses have concluded that the Alliance did not matter to Western North Carolinians and that the mountains did not matter to the state Alliance. These assumptions are incorrect. An in-depth examination of the Alliance’s role in WNC demonstrates that the order most certainly mattered to these mountaineers, and their leaders, such as Senator Zebulon Vance, exerted considerable influence upon state and national agrarian reform agendas. Moreover, Western North Carolina agricultural conditions directly impacted farmer’s receptiveness to the Alliance and later Populist movements. This manuscript demonstrates the evolution of the Farmers’ Alliance in WNC using research collected from numerous documents, newspapers, census records, and secondary sources.

Document Type

Thesis - restricted


Copyright by the authors.