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A Concise History of Kentucky

A Concise History of Kentucky

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    A Concise History of Kentucky
    Book Description:

    Kentucky is most commonly associated with horses, tobacco fields, bourbon, and coal mines. There is much more to the state, though, than stories of feuding families and Colonel Sanders' famous fried chicken. Kentucky has a rich and often compelling history, and James C. Klotter and Freda C. Klotter introduce readers to an exciting story that spans 12,000 years, looking at the lives of Kentuckians from Native Americans to astronauts. The Klotters examine all aspects of the state's history -- its geography, government, social life, cultural achievements, education, and economy. A Concise History of Kentucky recounts the events of the deadly frontier wars of the state's early history, the divisive Civil War, and the shocking assassination of a governor in 1900. The book tells of Kentucky's leaders from Daniel Boone and Henry Clay to Abraham Lincoln, Mary Breckinridge, and Muhammad Ali. The authors also highlight the lives of Kentuckians, both famous and ordinary, to give a voice to history. The Klotters explore Kentuckians' accomplishments in government, medicine, politics, and the arts. They describe the writing and music that flowered across the state, and they profile the individuals who worked to secure equal rights for women and African Americans. The book explains what it was like to work in the coal mines and explains the daily routine on a nineteenth-century farm. The authors bring Kentucky's story to the twenty-first century and talk about the state's modern economy, where auto manufacturing jobs are replacing traditional agricultural work. A collaboration of the state historian and an experienced educator, A Concise History of Kentucky is the best single resource for Kentuckians new and old who want to learn more about the past, present, and future of the Bluegrass State.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-2925-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xi)
  4. [Map]
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Frontiers—Then and Now
    (pp. 1-10)

    One meaning of the wordfrontieris a border between places. But those borders can be very different at different times.

    Astronaut Dr. Story Musgrave of Kentucky first went into space in 1983. Though he was born outside the state, he learned to fly in Lexington and considered Kentucky his home. He flew on the space shuttle a total of six times, during which he helped repair a space telescope and even walked in space. When he retired, no other person had taken more space flights.

    Musgrave was not the only astronaut from Kentucky. Born in Russellville, Terry Wilcutt went...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Starting a State
    (pp. 11-32)

    In its early days, Kentucky became a middle ground. It served as a crossroads where different groups met. Native Americans hunted the land. From the north and west, small groups of French explorers came to the region. A few Spanish arrived from the South. From the east, Virginians and other English colonists, and the African Americans they brought with them, entered Kentucky. It was a multicultural society from the start.

    When these groups made peaceful contact, they could see how each had changed the others’ lives. By then, the Indian villages, with their cabins and walls, looked much like the...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Different Kentuckys
    (pp. 33-54)

    Kentucky is now home to more than 4 million people. That puts it exactly in the middle of all the states in terms of population. But that ranking has varied greatly over the years. Soon after Kentucky became a state, about 221,000 men, women, and children lived there. It grew very rapidly at first. In fact, by 1840, Kentucky had become the sixth most populous state in the nation. Since then, however, other states have grown faster.

    Who are the people who now live in Kentucky? Officially, 91 percent of Kentuckians are white, 7 percent are black, and 2 percent...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Government of Kentucky
    (pp. 55-63)

    The treasurer of Kentucky receives the tax monies paid by Kentucky citizens to operate the state. In 1888, the treasurer left his office and did not return. People last recalled seeing him stuffing money in a sack. It turned out that he had been stealing the state’s money. He had been the state treasurer for twenty years, and the unsuspecting people had called him “Honest Dick” Tate. He was not honest, however, and his actions had an effect on how the state was run for more than 100 years. It also remains one of the state’s mysteries, with some answers...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Living in Kentucky
    (pp. 65-89)

    Over the years, Kentuckians have lived and worked in many different ways. Because the state has numerous regional variations and diverse peoples, not all places have had the same characteristics at the same time. Fifty years ago, the lives of people in some parts of the state differed little from those of people living at the time of statehood, back in the late eighteenth century. In contrast, people in other parts of the commonwealth may have been living closer to the ways of the present. How, then, did the average person live? Perhaps the best way to determine that is...

  10. CHAPTER SIX From Statehood to the Civil War
    (pp. 91-108)

    Between Kentucky’s statehood in 1792 and the start of the Civil War in 1861, the commonwealth grew rapidly. On the surface, visitors found the state a good place to live. They noted the many inventions, the good college in Lexington, the strong business growth of Louisville, the rich farms of western Kentucky, and more. By the middle of that period, people visited the state and wrote of what they found.

    One man called Lexington “a lively handsome city. The streets are all lined with shade trees. There is much show and luxury here.” Another said that Louisville’s Main Street “presents...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN The Civil War and the End of a Century
    (pp. 109-125)

    Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office as president of the United States in March 1861. By that time, it looked as if there might not be aunitednation. Many southerners feared the actions President Lincoln might take on several issues, including slavery, and several southern states seceded from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America, or the Confederacy. Efforts at compromise had failed, and war seemed likely.

    Which side would Kentucky take? The Washington Monument in the nation’s capital bore the inscription, “Kentucky will be the last to give up the union.” Would it, though?...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT Working in Kentucky
    (pp. 127-141)

    Over the years, Kentucky has been known for producing coal, tobacco, bourbon, horses, and perhaps fried chicken, but is that a true picture of its present-day economy?

    In the early days, most people in Kentucky made their living on farms. On the frontier, almost everyone planted corn, for instance, since it provided food for both people and animals. It also grew tall, which kept the ears of corn beyond the reach of small animals that might try to eat it. Later, farmers began to grow other crops on their farms.

    In the years before the Civil War, Kentucky planted many...

  13. CHAPTER NINE Words, Music, and More
    (pp. 143-162)

    The value of a state can be judged by many things: its economy, its health care or educational system, its justice administration, or its historical or natural resources. But one of the most important things about a state is its culture. Has a state produced great writers and thinkers? Does it have a strong base in drama, poetry, and newspaper writing? Are there talented performers in the world of music? Is it known for its artists, including folk artists? Has it produced talented actors in the film world?

    In fact, Kentucky has done very well in many of these areas....

  14. CHAPTER TEN Kentucky in the Twentieth Century
    (pp. 163-182)

    In addition to the changes in literature, the economy, and education mentioned in other chapters, several other major changes took place in twentieth-century Kentucky.

    In 1900, railroad travel provided the best and fastest way of getting to many places. Kentucky had railroads early. Before the Civil War, railroad tracks connected Louisville to Nashville. Trains could deliver the mail faster, get coal or farm products to market sooner, and take people from place to place three or four times quicker than by horse or stagecoach. As one Lewisburg man recalled, “We had trains, which were the life’s blood of all the...

  15. CHAPTER ELEVEN Going to School
    (pp. 183-196)

    One historian wrote that frontier Kentucky “was a battlefield not a schoolground.” Frontier people had to fight for their lives, so setting up schools did not seem so important. Yet, almost from the first year of the settlements, teachers taught students in forts and then in rough schools. People valued education, even with danger all around them.

    At that time, most people believed that education should be a private matter. Even after Kentucky became a state, legislators did not think the state should pay for schools, except in a very indirect way—a view that held Kentucky education back. Instead,...

  16. CHAPTER TWELVE Today and Tomorrow in Kentucky
    (pp. 197-202)

    One of the reasons people look at the past is to help them understand where they might be going in the future. History can help societies plan for what is to come in the years ahead. But to do that requires knowing about the present—in this case, Kentucky’s strengths and weaknesses. That way, people can take the best parts of the past and the present and carry them into the future. They can also cast aside those things that have been detrimental or impeded progress. Studying the past can help identify potential problems in the future and make plans...

  17. Appendixes
    (pp. 203-218)
  18. Additional Sources for Research
    (pp. 219-220)
  19. Index
    (pp. 221-238)