Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party; the Democrats' dominant worldview was once social conservatism and economic liberalism, while populism was its leading characteristic in the rural South. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate in the Progressive Party, beginning a switch of political platforms between the Democratic and Republican Party over the coming decades, leading to Woodrow Wilson being elected as the first fiscally progressive Democrat. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has promoted a social liberal platform, supporting social justice. Well into the 20th century, the party had conservative pro-business and Southern conservative-populist anti-business wings.
The New Deal Coalition of 1932–1964 attracted strong support from voters of recent European extraction—many of whom were Catholics based in the cities. After Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s, the pro-business wing withered outside the South. After the racial turmoil of the 1960s, most Southern whites and many Northern Catholics moved into the Republican Party at the presidential level; the once-powerful labor union element became less supportive after the 1970s. White Evangelicals and Southerners became Republican at the state and local level since the 1990s. People living in metropolitan areas, women and gender minorities, college graduates, racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, such as Jewish Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans and African Americans, tend to support the Democratic Party much more than they support the rival Republican Party; the Democratic Party's philosophy of modern liberalism advocates social and economic equality, along with the welfare state.
It seeks to provide government regulation in the economy. These interventions, such as the introduction of social programs, support for labor unions, affordable college tuitions, moves toward universal health care and equal opportunity, consumer protection and environmental protection form the core of the party's economic policy. Fifteen Democrats have served as President of the United States; the first was President Andrew Jackson, the seventh president and served from 1829 to 1837. The most recent was President Barack Obama, the 44th president and held office from 2009 to 2017. Following the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats held a majority in the House of Representatives, "trifectas" in 14 states, the mayoralty of numerous major American cities, such as Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Portland and Washington, D. C. Twenty-three state governors were Democrats, the Party was the minority party in the Senate and in most state legislatures; as of March 2019, four of the nine Justices of the Supreme Court had been appointed by Democratic presidents.
Democratic Party officials trace its origins to the inspiration of the Democratic-Republican Party, founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792. That party inspired the Whigs and modern Republicans. Organizationally, the modern Democratic Party arose in the 1830s with the election of Andrew Jackson. Since the nomination of William Jennings Bryan in 1896, the party has positioned itself to the left of the Republican Party on economic issues, they have been more liberal on civil rights issues since 1948. On foreign policy, both parties have changed position several times; the Democratic Party evolved from the Jeffersonian Republican or Democratic-Republican Party organized by Jefferson and Madison in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. The party favored republicanism; the Democratic-Republican Party came to power in the election of 1800. After the War of 1812, the Federalists disappeared and the only national political party left was the Democratic-Republicans.
The era of one-party rule in the United States, known as the Era of Good Feelings, lasted from 1816 until the early 1830s, when the Whig Party became a national political group to rival the Democratic-Republicans. However, the Democratic-Republican Party still had its own internal factions, they split over the choice of a successor to President James Monroe and the party faction that supported many of the old Jeffersonian principles, led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, became the modern Democratic Party. As Norton explains the transformation in 1828: Jacksonians believed the people's will had prevailed. Through a lavishly financed coalition of state parties, political leaders, newspaper editors, a popular movement had elected the president; the Democrats became the nation's first well-organized national party and tight party organization became the hallmark of nineteenth-century American politics. Opposing factions led by Henry Clay helped form the Whig Party; the Democratic Party had a small yet decisive advantage over the Whigs until the 1850s, when the Whigs fell apart over the issue of slavery.
In 1854, angry with the Kansas–Nebraska Act, anti-slavery Dem
Militia (United States)
The militia of the United States, as defined by the U. S. Congress, has changed over time. During colonial America, all able-bodied men of certain ages were members of the militia, depending on the respective states rule. Individual towns formed local independent militias for their own defense; the year before the US Constitution was ratified, The Federalist Papers detailed the founders' paramount vision of the militia in 1787. The new Constitution empowered Congress to "organize and discipline" this national military force, leaving significant control in the hands of each state government. Today, as defined by the Militia Act of 1903, the term "militia" is used to describe two classes within the United States: Organized militia – consisting of State militia forces. Unorganized militia – composing the Reserve Militia: every able-bodied man of at least 17 and under 45 years of age, not a member of the National Guard or Naval Militia. A third militia is a state defense force, it is authorized by state and federal laws.
The term "militia" derives from Old English milite meaning soldiers, militisc meaning military and classical Latin milit-, miles meaning soldier. The Modern English term militia dates to the year 1590, with the original meaning now obsolete: "the body of soldiers in the service of a sovereign or a state". Subsequently, since 1665, militia has taken the meaning "a military force raised from the civilian population of a country or region to supplement a regular army in an emergency as distinguished from mercenaries or professional soldiers"; the spelling of millitia is observed in written and printed materials from the 17th century through the 19th century. See article: Colonial American military history The early colonists of America considered the militia an important social institution, necessary to provide defense and public safety. See article: Provincial troops in the French and Indian Wars During the French and Indian Wars, town militia formed a recruiting pool for the Provincial Forces.
The legislature of the colony would authorize a certain force level for the season's campaign, based on that set recruitment quotas for each local militia. In theory, militia members could be drafted by lot if there were inadequate forces for the Provincial Regulars. In September 1755, George Washington adjutant-general of the Virginia militia, upon a frustrating and futile attempt to call up the militia to respond to a frontier Indian attack:... he experienced all the evils of insubordination among the troups, perverseness in the militia, inactivity in the officers, disregard of orders, reluctance in the civil authorities to render a proper support. And what added to his mortification was, that the laws gave him no power to correct these evils, either by enforcing discipline, or compelling the indolent and refractory to their duty... The militia system was suited for only to times of peace, it provided for calling out men to repel invasion. See New Hampshire Provincial Regiment for a history of a Provincial unit during the French and Indian War.
Just prior to the American Revolutionary War, on October 26, 1774, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, observing the British military buildup, deemed their militia resources to be insufficient: the troop strength, "including the sick and absent, amounted to about seventeen thousand men... this was far short of the number wanted, that the council recommended an immediate application to the New England governments to make up the deficiency":... they recommended to the militia to form themselves into companies of minute-men, who should be equipped and prepared to march at the shortest notice. These minute-men were to consist of one quarter of the whole militia, to be enlisted under the direction of the field-officers, divide into companies, consisting of at least fifty men each; the privates were to choose their captains and subalterns, these officers were to form the companies into battalions, chose the field-officers to command the same. Hence the minute-men became a body distinct from the rest of the militia, and, by being more devoted to military exercises, they acquired skill in the use of arms.
More attention than was bestowed on the training and drilling of militia. See article: List of United States militia units in the American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War began near Boston, Massachusetts with the Battles of Lexington and Concord, in which a group of local militias constituted the American side. On April 19, 1775, a British force 800 strong marched out of Boston to Concord intending to destroy patriot arms and ammunition. At 5:00 in the morning at Lexington, they met about 70 armed militiamen whom they ordered to disperse, but the militiamen refused. Firing ensued; this became known as "the shot heard round the world". Eight militiamen were killed and ten wounded, whereupon the remainder took flight; the British continued on to Concord and were unable to find most of the arms and ammunition of the patriots. As the British marched back toward Boston, patriot militiamen assembled along the route, taking cover behind stone walls, sniped at the British. At Meriam's Corner in Concord, the British columns had to close in to cross a narrow bridge, exposing themselves to concentrated, deadly fire.
The British retreat became a rout. It was only with the help o
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a conflict fought between the United States, the United Kingdom, their respective allies from June 1812 to February 1815. Historians in Britain see it as a minor theater of the Napoleonic Wars. From the outbreak of war with Napoleonic France, Britain had enforced a naval blockade to choke off neutral trade to France, which the US contested as illegal under international law. To man the blockade, Britain impressed American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy. Incidents such as the Chesapeake–Leopard affair, which happened five years before the war, inflamed anti-British sentiment in the US. In 1811, the British were in turn outraged by the Little Belt affair, in which 11 British sailors died. Britain supplied Native Americans who raided American settlers on the frontier, hindering American expansion and provoking resentment. Historians debate whether the desire to annex some or all of British North America contributed to the American decision to go to war. On June 18, 1812, US President James Madison, after heavy pressure from the War Hawks in Congress, signed the American declaration of war into law.
With most of its army in Europe fighting Napoleon, Britain adopted a defensive strategy, with offensive operations limited to the border, the western frontier. American prosecution of the war effort suffered from its unpopularity in New England, where it was derogatorily referred to as "Mr. Madison's War". American defeats at the Siege of Detroit and the Battle of Queenston Heights thwarted attempts to seize Upper Canada, improving British morale. American attempts to invade Lower Canada and capture Montreal failed. In 1813, the Americans won the Battle of Lake Erie, gaining control of the lake, at the Battle of the Thames defeated Tecumseh's Confederacy, securing a primary war goal. A final American attempt to invade Canada was fought to a draw at the Battle of Lundy's Lane during the summer of 1814. At sea, the powerful Royal Navy blockaded American ports, cutting off trade and allowing the British to raid the coast at will. In 1814, one of these raids burned the capital, but the Americans repulsed British attempts to invade New York and Maryland, ending invasions of the northern and mid-Atlantic United States from Canada.
Fighting took place overseas in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In neighbouring Spanish Florida, a two-day battle for the city of Pensacola ended in Spanish surrender. In Britain, there was mounting opposition to wartime taxation. With the abdication of Napoleon, the war with France ended and Britain ceased impressment, rendering the issue of the impressment of American sailors moot; the British were able to increase the strength of the blockade on the United States coast, annihilating American maritime trade, but attempts to invade the U. S. ended unsuccessfully. Peace negotiations began in August 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24. News of the peace did not reach America for some time. Unaware of the treaty, British forces invaded Louisiana and were defeated at the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815; these late victories were viewed by Americans as having restored national honour, leading to the collapse of anti-war sentiment and the beginning of the Era of Good Feelings, a period of national unity.
News of the treaty arrived shortly thereafter. The treaty was unanimously ratified by the US Senate on February 17, 1815, ending the war with no boundary changes. Historians have long debated the relative weight of the multiple reasons underlying the origins of the War of 1812; this section summarizes several contributing factors which resulted in the declaration of war by the United States. As Risjord notes, a powerful motivation for the Americans was the desire to uphold national honour in the face of what they considered to be British insults such as the Chesapeake–Leopard affair. H. W. Brands says, "The other war hawks spoke of the struggle with Britain as a second war of independence; the approaching conflict was about violations of American rights, but it was about vindication of American identity." Americans at the time and historians since have called it the United States' "Second War of Independence". The British were offended by what they considered insults such as the Little Belt affair.
This gave the British a particular interest in capturing the United States flagship President, which they succeeded in doing in 1815. In 1807, Britain introduced a series of trade restrictions via the Orders in Council to impede neutral trade with France, which Britain was fighting in the Napoleonic Wars; the United States contested these restrictions as illegal under international law. Historian Reginald Horsman states, "a large section of influential British opinion, both in the government and in the country, thought that America presented a threat to British maritime supremacy."The American merchant marine had nearly doubled between 1802 and 1810, making it by far the largest neutral fleet. Britain was the largest trading partner, receiving 80% of U. S. cotton and 50% of other U. S. exports. The British public and press were resentful of commercial competition; the United States' view was. During the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy expanded to 176 ships of the line and 600 ships overall, requiring 140,000 sailors to man.
While the Royal Navy could man its ships with volunteers in peacetime, it competed in wartime with merchant shi
Governor of Tennessee
The Governor of Tennessee is the head of government of the U. S. state of Tennessee. The governor is the only official in Tennessee state government, directly elected by the voters of the entire state; the current governor is Bill Lee, a member of the Republican Party, who took office on January 19, 2019. The Tennessee Constitution provides that the governor must be at least 30 years old and must have lived in the state for at least seven years before being elected to the office; the governor may serve no more than two terms consecutively. There are only two other U. S. states, New Jersey and Hawaii, where the governor is the only state official to be elected statewide. The Tennessee Constitution provides that “The supreme executive power of this state shall be vested in a governor.” Most state department heads and some members of boards and commissions are appointed by the governor. The governor is the commander-in-chief of the state's army and navy and the state militia, except when they have been called up into federal service.
The governor chairs the Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and holds seats on the State Funding Board, State Building Commission, Board of Equalization, Tennessee Local Development Authority, School Bond Authority, Tennessee Industrial and Agricultural Development Commission. The Tennessee governor can veto laws passed by the Tennessee General Assembly and has line-item veto authority for individual spending items included in bills passed by the legislature. In either situation, the governor's veto can be overridden by a simple majority of both houses of the legislature. If a governor exercises the veto authority after the legislature has adjourned, the veto stands, it is uncommon for Tennessee governors to use their veto power because it is so easy for the General Assembly to override a veto. The state constitution empowers the governor to call the General Assembly into special session, with the subjects to be considered limited to matters specified in the call.
As of 2010, the governor's salary was set at $170,340 per year. This is the ninth highest U. S. gubernatorial salary. Haslam and his predecessor, Phil Bredesen, both were independently wealthy before taking office and refused to accept state salaries for their service as governor. Tennessee does not elect a lieutenant governor. If a vacancy occurs in the office of governor due to the governor's death, removal, or resignation from office, the Tennessee Constitution provides for the Speaker of the Tennessee Senate to become governor; because this has the effect of making the speaker the lieutenant governor, the speaker is referred to by the title "lieutenant governor." And was granted this title by statute in 1951. Following the lieutenant governor/senate speaker in the line of succession are the speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, the secretary of state, the comptroller. In the event the governor's office becomes vacant during the first 18 months of his term, a special election for the balance of the term must be held at the time of the next federal general election.
If the vacancy occurs after the first 18 months, whoever ascends to the governorship serves out the balance of the term. In either case, a partial term counts toward the two-term limit. Governor William Blount served from 1790 to 1796, when Tennessee was known as the Southwest Territory, he was replaced by the state's first governor. Other notable governors include Willie Blount, Sam Houston, future U. S Presidents James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson
Tennessee is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee is the 16th most populous of the 50 United States. Tennessee is bordered by Kentucky to the north, Virginia to the northeast, North Carolina to the east, Georgia and Mississippi to the south, Arkansas to the west, Missouri to the northwest; the Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, the Mississippi River forms the state's western border. Nashville is the state's capital and largest city, with a 2017 population of 667,560. Tennessee's second largest city is Memphis, which had a population of 652,236 in 2017; the state of Tennessee is rooted in the Watauga Association, a 1772 frontier pact regarded as the first constitutional government west of the Appalachians. What is now Tennessee was part of North Carolina, part of the Southwest Territory. Tennessee was admitted to the Union as the 16th state on June 1, 1796. Tennessee was the last state to leave the Union and join the Confederacy at the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861.
Occupied by Union forces from 1862, it was the first state to be readmitted to the Union at the end of the war. Tennessee furnished more soldiers for the Confederate Army than any other state besides Virginia, more soldiers for the Union Army than the rest of the Confederacy combined. Beginning during Reconstruction, it had competitive party politics, but a Democratic takeover in the late 1880s resulted in passage of disenfranchisement laws that excluded most blacks and many poor whites from voting; this reduced competition in politics in the state until after passage of civil rights legislation in the mid-20th century. In the 20th century, Tennessee transitioned from an agrarian economy to a more diversified economy, aided by massive federal investment in the Tennessee Valley Authority and, in the early 1940s, the city of Oak Ridge; this city was established to house the Manhattan Project's uranium enrichment facilities, helping to build the world's first atomic bombs, two of which were dropped on Imperial Japan near the end of World War II.
Tennessee's major industries include agriculture and tourism. Poultry and cattle are the state's primary agricultural products, major manufacturing exports include chemicals, transportation equipment, electrical equipment; the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nation's most visited national park, is headquartered in the eastern part of the state, a section of the Appalachian Trail follows the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Other major tourist attractions include the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga; the earliest variant of the name that became Tennessee was recorded by Captain Juan Pardo, the Spanish explorer, when he and his men passed through an American Indian village named "Tanasqui" in 1567 while traveling inland from South Carolina. In the early 18th century, British traders encountered a Cherokee town named Tanasi in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee; the town was located on a river of the same name, appears on maps as early as 1725. It is not known whether this was the same town as the one encountered by Juan Pardo, although recent research suggests that Pardo's "Tanasqui" was located at the confluence of the Pigeon River and the French Broad River, near modern Newport.
The meaning and origin of the word are uncertain. Some accounts suggest, it has been said to mean "meeting place", "winding river", or "river of the great bend". According to ethnographer James Mooney, the name "can not be analyzed" and its meaning is lost; the modern spelling, Tennessee, is attributed to James Glen, the governor of South Carolina, who used this spelling in his official correspondence during the 1750s. The spelling was popularized by the publication of Henry Timberlake's "Draught of the Cherokee Country" in 1765. In 1788, North Carolina created "Tennessee County", the third county to be established in what is now Middle Tennessee; when a constitutional convention met in 1796 to organize a new state out of the Southwest Territory, it adopted "Tennessee" as the name of the state. Tennessee is known as The Volunteer State, a nickname some claimed was earned during the War of 1812 because of the prominent role played by volunteer soldiers from Tennessee during the Battle of New Orleans.
Other sources differ on the origin of the state nickname. This explanation is more because President Polk's call for 2,600 nationwide volunteers at the beginning of the Mexican–American War resulted in 30,000 volunteers from Tennessee alone in response to the death of Davy Crockett and appeals by former Tennessee Governor and Texas politician, Sam Houston. Tennessee borders eight other states: Virginia to the north. Tennessee is tied with Missouri as the state bordering the most other states; the state is trisected by the Tennessee River. The highest point in the state is Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet (
The Cherokee–American wars known as the Chickamauga Wars, were a series of back-and-forth raids, ambushes, minor skirmishes, several full-scale frontier battles in the Old Southwest from 1776 to 1795 between the Cherokee and American settlers on the frontier. Most of the events took place in the Upper South. While the fighting stretched across the entire period, there were times of little or no action, at times spanning several months; the Cherokee leader Dragging Canoe, whom some historians call "the Savage Napoleon", his warriors and other Cherokee fought alongside and in conjunction with Indians from a number of other tribes, most Muscogee in the Old Southwest and the Shawnee in the Old Northwest. During the Revolutionary War, they fought alongside British troops, Loyalist militia, the King's Carolina Rangers. Open warfare broke out in the summer of 1776 along the frontier of the Watauga, Holston and Doe rivers in East Tennessee, as well as the colonies of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia.
It spread to those along the Cumberland River in Middle Tennessee and in Kentucky. The wars can be divided into two phases; the first phase one place from 1776 to 1783, in which the Cherokee fought as allies of the Kingdom of Great Britain against the American colonies. The Cherokee War of 1776 encompassed the entirety of the Cherokee nation. At the end of 1776, the only militant Cherokee were those who migrated with Dragging Canoe to the Chickamauga towns and were known as the "Chickamauga Cherokee"; the second phase lasted from 1783 to 1794, in which the Cherokee served as proxies of the Viceroyalty of New Spain against the formed United States of America. Because of their relocation westward to new homes known as the "Five Lower Towns", they became known as the Lower Cherokee, a moniker which persisted well into the 19th century. In 1786, the Lower Cherokee became founding members of the Native Americans' Western Confederacy, organized by Mohawk leader Joseph Brant, took an active part in the Northwest Indian War.
The conflict ended in November 1794 with the Treaty of Tellico Blockhouse. The Northwest Indian War, in which the Cherokee were involved, ended with the Treaty of Greenville in 1795; the French and Indian War and the related European theater conflict known as the Seven Years' War laid many of the foundations for the conflict between the Cherokee and the American settlers on the frontier. These tensions on the frontier broke out into open hostilities with the advent of the American Revolution; the action of the French and Indian War in North America included the Anglo-Cherokee War, lasting 1758–1761. British forces under general James Grant destroyed a number of major Cherokee towns, which were never reoccupied. Kituwa was abandoned, its former residents migrated west. At the end of this conflict, the Cherokee signed the Treaty of Long-Island-on-the-Holston with the Colony of Virginia and the Treaty of Charlestown with the Province of South Carolina. Conocotocko, the First Beloved Man during the conflict, was replaced by Attakullakulla, pro-British.
Valuing the support of Native Americans, King George III issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This prohibited colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains, in an effort to preserve territory for the native tribes. Many colonials resented the interference with their drive to the vast western lands; the proclamation was a major irritant to the colonists, contributing to their support for the American Revolution and ending interference by the Crown. To resolve the problem of settlers living beyond the line established in the previous treaty, John Stuart, as Superintendent for Southern Indian Affairs, negotiated a treaty signed on October 17, 1768, with the Cherokee surrendering their claims to the Colony of Virginia to the land between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River, it covered what is now West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, with a bit of the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. After Pontiac's War, the Iroquois Confederacy ceded to the British government its claims to the hunting grounds between the Ohio and Cumberland rivers, known to them and other Indians as Kain-tuck-ee, in the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix.
In 1769, developers and land speculators planned to start a new colony called Vandalia in the territory ceded by the Cherokee. Plans for that fell through and Virginia annexed it as the District of West Augusta in 1774. On June 1, 1773, the Cherokee and the Muskogee ceded their claims to 2 million acres in the northern sector of the Georgia colony, in return for the cancellation of their debts. Most of the Muscogee refused to recognize the treaty, the British government rejected it; the next year, Daniel Boone led a group to establish a temporary settlement inside the hunting grounds of modern day Kansas. In retaliation the Shawnee, Lenape and some Cherokee attacked a scouting and forage party, which included Boone's son James. James Boone and Henry Russell were captured by the Native Americans and ritually tortured to death; the colonists responded with the beginning of Dunmore's War. The Cherokee and the Muscogee were active mainly confining themselves to small raids on the backcountry settlements of the Carolinas and Georgia.
The earliest colonial settlement in the vicinity of what became Upper East Tennessee was Sapling Grove. The first of the North-of-Holston settlements, it was founded by Evan Shelby, who "purchased" the land in 1768 from John Buchanan. Jacob Brown began another settlement on the
New River (Kanawha River tributary)
The New River is a river which flows through the U. S. states of North Carolina and West Virginia before joining with the Gauley River to form the Kanawha River at the town of Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. Part of the Ohio River watershed, it is about 360 miles long; the origins of the name are unclear. Possibilities include being a new river, not on the Fry-Jefferson map of Virginia, an Indian name meaning "new waters", or the surname of an early settler. Despite its name, the New River is one of the five oldest rivers in the world geologically; this low-level crossing of the Appalachians, many millions of years old, has long been a biogeographical corridor allowing numerous species of plants and animals to spread between the lowlands of the American East Coast and those of the Midwest. Portions of this corridor are now used by various railroads and highways, some segments of the river have been dammed for hydroelectric power production; the New River Gorge is not only quite scenic, but offers numerous opportunities for white-water recreation such as rafting and kayaking.
Many open ledges along the rim of the gorge offer popular views, with favorites including Hawks Nest State Park and various overlooks on lands of the New River Gorge National River. The New River Gorge and the U. S. 19 bridge crossing it are shown on the West Virginia State Quarter, minted in 2005. This ancient river begins in the mountains of North Carolina near the Tennessee state line, flows northeastward across the Blue Ridge Mountains, Great Appalachian Valley and Valley Province, the Allegheny Front in western North Carolina and Virginia, before turning and following a more northwestward course into West Virginia, where it cuts through the Appalachian Plateau to meet the Gauley River and become the Kanawha River in south-central West Virginia; the Kanawha flows into the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Much of the river's course is lined with steep cliffs and rock outcrops in its gorge in West Virginia; the New River is formed by the confluence of the South Fork New River and the North Fork New River on the Ashe County-Alleghany County line in North Carolina.
It flows through Alleghany County into southwestern Virginia, passing near Galax, Virginia. It is impounded by three small dams between Galax and Ivanhoe: at Fries, by Byllesby Dam, by Buck Dam. Continuing north, the river enters Pulaski County, where it is impounded by Claytor Dam, creating Claytor Lake. North of the dam the New River accepts the Little River and passes the city of Radford, Virginia before passing through Walker Mountain via a narrow water gap. After flowing north through Giles County and the town of Narrows, the river crosses into West Virginia; the New River is impounded by Bluestone Dam, creating Bluestone Lake in Summers County, West Virginia. The Bluestone River tributary joins the New River in Bluestone Lake. Just below the dam the Greenbrier River joins the New River, which continues its northward course into the New River Gorge. Near the end of the gorge the river flows by the town of West Virginia. A few miles northwest of Fayetteville, much of the New River's flow is diverted through the 3-mile Hawks Nest Tunnel for use in power generation.
The water re-enters the river just upstream of Gauley Bridge, where the New merges with the Gauley River to form the Kanawha River. The Kanawha is a tributary of the Ohio River. Few highways cross the gorge, with the most dramatic bridge by far being the New River Gorge Bridge on U. S. 19, a steel arch bridge spanning 1,700 feet, with the roadway 876 feet above the average level of the river. This structure is the third-longest single-arch bridge in the world, is the world's twenty-third-highest vehicular bridge, the fourth highest in the Americas; the New River is considered by some geologists to be one of the oldest rivers in the world. And one of the oldest rivers in North America; the New River flows in a south-to-north course, at times cutting across the southwest-to-northeast-trending ridges and geological texture of the Appalachian Mountains, flows directly across the Appalachian Plateau, contrasting with the west-to-east flow of most other major rivers to the east and northeast in Virginia and North Carolina, on the west side of the Appalachians on the Plateau.
It may have been in its present course for at least 65 million years. In the geologic past, the New River was a much longer stream. Geologists have named it the Teays; the last advance of Pleistocene continental glacial ice buried most of this river. At that time, the waters of the New were diverted into rivers created by the glaciers. On its journey through the New River Gorge, the New River passes through an extensive geological formation. Emergent rocks, rock outcrops and coal mines are found to provide diverse habitat producing rich and abundant flora and fauna species. In the gorge, there is a 1000 feet difference in elevation between the river bottom and the adjacent plateau; the New River dissects all physiographic provinces of the Appalachian Mountains, therefore is believed to be a corridor facilitating the movement of southern plant and animal species into West Virginia. In addition to serving as a refuge for some species, New River Gorge provides a geographical barrier that limits the east-west distribution of other species.
Because the New River is so old, its habitats and wildlife have been able to achieve a form of stability. Millions of years of available passage have allowed many species