On this day in 1784, the settlers in what is today East Tennessee declared their independence. They elected a legislature and named John Sevier to the presidency. They named their newly-independent state Franklin, in honor of the man who first conceived of the idea of the little nation: Benjamin Franklin.
The Continental Congress of the United States rejected this claim of independence and attempted to return control of the territory to the jurisdiction of North Carolina. But the new "sovereign state" refused to heed the admonitions of their "over-mountain brethren." The conflict was not entirely resolved for nearly decade--until finally Tennessee was admitted to the Union, first as a territory and later as a state.
The very nearly forgotten affair reminds us that the story of the United States is far more complex (and interesting) than what is normally taught in American history courses.