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Kentucky from 1775 to 1783


Licking River
Licking River

During the American Revolution (1775-1783), the British incited their Native American allies to attack the settlements of the Kentuckians. The most massive attack was by the Shawnee against Boonesborough in September 1778. Although heavily outnumbered, the Boonesborough defenders, under Boone’s leadership, managed to repulse the attackers. Meanwhile, Clark, who had become a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia militia, had embarked on a campaign to wrest control of the territory north of the Ohio River from the British.

British forces made two major forays into Kentucky in the latter part of the revolution. In 1780 British troops and Native Americans captured several outposts on the Licking River but failed to press their advantage. In 1782 the entry of another force of British and Native Americans into that region produced Kentucky’s last and bloodiest battle of the war, which took place at Blue Licks. The Kentuckians lost that battle, but the Native Americans retreated and never again mounted a serious assault on Kentucky settlements.

After the revolution, thousands of settlers from the East migrated to Kentucky, venturing down the Ohio River or across the Cumberlands by way of the Wilderness Road. By 1790 the region had a population of more than 73,000. As the number of settlers grew, there were increased demands for separation from Virginia. From 1784 to 1790, nine conventions were held at Danville to resolve issues related to separation.

Finally, at the ninth convention, the delegates voted to accept the terms of separation offered by Virginia and petitioned the Congress of the United States for statehood. At a final convention in 1792, a state constitution was drafted. On June 1, 1792, Kentucky entered the federal Union as the 15th state and the first west of the Appalachians. Isaac Shelby was elected as the state’s first governor. Lexington was briefly the seat of state government until, later that year, Frankfort was designated the permanent state capital.

In the period following the achievement of statehood, Kentuckians were among the most vigorous advocates of the so-called frontier point of view, which was characteristically democratic, antiprivilege, and anti-British.

Kentucky’s second state constitution, which became effective in 1800, provided for the election of the state governor and members of the state senate by direct popular vote, rather than by a state electoral college as the first constitution had stipulated. This provision and other features of Kentucky’s constitution were later used as models by a number of other new states. "Kentucky" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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