Kentucky is the 15th state to join the Union
At the time of America’s transition from colonialism to independence, Kentucky was still considered a wild frontier. As a local district of Virginia, it opened up after Daniel Boone blazed a trail through the Cumberland Gap and deep into the heart of the Bluegrass Region in 1769. In the 1770s, brave settlers began forming towns and called for statehood. On June 1st, 1792, Kentucky became the 15th state, the first formed west of the Appalachian Mountains. The Civil War was a trying time for Kentucky. Both presidents – Abraham Lincoln of the North and Jefferson Davis of the South – hailed from the state, and though Kentucky sided with the Confederacy, some citizens fought for the Union. Though it had its share of rough patches, Kentucky cultivated a distinct identity, defined by its urban north – which serves the greater Cincinnati area – and its genteel, slow-paced Bluegrass Region, which epitomizes a leisurely Southern lifestyle. Kentucky remained an agricultural region well into the 20th century, but is also known as a coal mining state and home to important military bases like Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. As America’s stable, Kentucky is also a proud horse-breeding state, and hosts the country’s most important equestrian race, the Kentucky Derby, every year.
Why do you think Kentucky was so divided during the Civil War? Who would you side with?