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History of direct democracy in Tennessee

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The Progressives and labor unions never won enactment of statewide initiative and referendum rights in Tennessee, and had to settle for a 1913 law granting such rights to residents of a few municipalities. In the 2002 election cycle, one of the most controversial issues in Tennessee history was voted on through a statewide referendum. By a large majority, the citizens adopted the creation of a statewide lottery system.


This article is significantly based on an article[1] published by the Initiative & Referendum Institute, and is used with their permission. Their article, in turn, relies on research in David Schmidt's book, Citizen Lawmakers: The Ballot Initiative Revolution.[2]


  1. History of Tennessee's initiative
  2. Citizen Lawmakers: The Ballot Initiative Revolution Temple University Press, 352 pp., ISBN-10: 0877229031, October 1991