Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

History, MA

Committee Chair

Mackey, Thomas

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Gregg II, Gary

Committee Member

Gregg II, Gary

Committee Member

Krebs, Daniel

Author's Keywords

Kentucky; Kentucky District; Founding; George Nicholas; Constitution; Virginia; Danville; Lexington; Convention; James Madison; George Washington; American Revolution; Founding Era; Early National Era; West


In late 1789, Colonel George Nicholas arrived in the Kentucky District from eastern Virginia. Nicholas’s political astuteness prompted his swift rise to prominence in the Kentucky District’s political affairs. In 1792 Nicholas asserted himself as the Kentucky Constitution of 1792’s primary author. Nicholas’s Kentucky Constitution of 1792 mirrored the federal Constitution of 1787 that had earlier been rejected by Kentuckians in the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention. The Kentucky Constitution of 1792 placed the Kentucky District square within the ethos of the Anglo – American constitutional tradition and secured the proposed Commonwealth of Kentucky’s separation from the district’s “parent-state,” the Commonwealth of Virginia. Nicholas’s Kentucky Constitution of 1792 represented Kentucky’s realization and acceptance of a new legal and constitutional world. On June 1, 1792, the proposed Commonwealth of Kentucky entered into the federal Union after eight years of failed prior attempts at statehood. Nicholas’s crucial role as primary author of the Kentucky Constitution of 1792 established Nicholas as the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s primary founder. Colonel George Nicholas became Kentucky’s first statesman.

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