Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Tom Lee

Committee Members

Dr. Daniel Newcomer, Dr. Steven Nash


This thesis analyzes efforts among frontier settlers of Upper East Tennessee to resist particular elements of state-craft from the 1750s until 1820. Building on the work of James C. Scott, this study suggests that some residents of the area may have resisted acceding to what they considered the negative aspects of residing within state sovereignty. These included, taxation, land enclosure, organized religion, and regulation of economic activity. Analyzing from outside the lens of the state, this study attempts to explore why organized government remained largely ineffective and widely disregarded in the Upper East Tennessee region even as governance rapidly and effectively took hold both in the Tidewater and central piedmont of Virginia and North Carolina, as well as middle Tennessee and Kentucky. The topography of the region, coupled with the anti-state stratagems the settlers adopted, enabled the area to retain a dimension of practical autonomy.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.