How Tennessee History Factors Into Puerto Rico’s Push For Statehood | Nashville Public Radio

How Tennessee History Factors Into Puerto Rico’s Push For Statehood

Jun 15, 2017

Tennessee has been getting name-dropped during the recent attention on whether the island of Puerto Rico will become the 51st state — and it’s because of a move that Tennessee forefathers took more than two centuries ago.

Those who now want statehood for Puerto Rico are explicit: They’d like to follow what’s known as The Tennessee Plan.

More than 200 years ago, Tennessee was still a territory and its early settlers were impatient — hoping for Congress to start the process toward statehood.

Instead, local leaders went ahead and declared the territory a state. The people voted in favor, a government was formed and a constitution written. Then the trick was to persuade Congress to make all of those moves official, and that did happen in 1796.

Since then, six other states have used this aggressive method to move toward statehood.

Earlier this month, residents of Puerto Rico voted in favor of becoming a state (despite a ballot process that was messy and drew scant turnout).

Those in favor are still running with the results, continuing with the tactic of fake-it-till-you-make-it.

NBC News reports that a delegation of seven — meant to resemble two senators and five House members — will petition Congress and lobby for support. Just like Tennessee did.

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