The Mysterious Lost State of Franklin, a half-hour documentary, chronicles the creation and demise of the State of Franklin, a pivotal yet oft forgotten post-Revolutionary War rebellion and attempted secession. Due to tax burdens, the state of North Carolina ceded its western land to the U.S. Government. Feeling abandoned, some of the citizens of the ceded territory — the counties of Washington, Sullivan and Greene — began their own government and called themselves the State of Franklin, named after the esteemed statesman Benjamin Franklin. Even after North Carolina rescinded the cession, the State of Franklin continued to struggle for four chaotic years. Finally, the State of Franklin ended in violence and a failed bid to become the country's 14th state.
Two ambitious men fueled this conflict. John Sevier, the Governor of Franklin, was a controversial Revolutionary War hero and ruthless land speculator who was obsessed with westward expansion. Colonel John Tipton, a patriot and landowner, turned against the chaos of the Franklin movement. He vowed to bring an end to the fledgling state and to return the land to North Carolina. Eventually, the area once known as the State of Franklin would become part of Upper East Tennessee, with John Sevier returning triumphantly as the first governor of Tennessee.
Although the State of Franklin rebellion was ultimately unsuccessful, it did contribute to the inclusion of a clause in the U.S. Constitution regarding the formation of new states, Article IV, Section III: "New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress."
Filmed at several historic locations in East Tennessee, this narrative is told through scholarly interviews and painstakingly researched reenactments set to a backdrop of lush Tennessee scenery. The result is a landmark work that has set a new standard in the visual restoration of Tennessee’s grand historical oral tradition.