It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The Battle of Athens (sometimes called the McMinn County War) was a rebellion led by citizens in Athens and Etowah, Tennessee, United States, against the local government in August 1946. The citizens, including some World War II veterans, accused the local officials of political corruption and voter intimidation. The event is sometimes cited by firearms ownership advocates as an example of the value of the Second Amendment in combating tyranny.
Background There had been long-standing concern in McMinn County about political corruption and possible election fraud. At citizen request, the U.S. Department of Justice had investigated allegations of electoral fraud in 1940, 1942, and 1944, but had not taken action. The wealthy Cantrell family (supporters of the Democrats' New Deal policies in the 1932 Presidential elections) essentially ruled the county. Paul Cantrell was elected sheriff in the 1936, 1938, and 1940 elections, then was elected to the state senate in 1942 and 1944, while his former deputy, Pat Mansfield, was elected sheriff. A state law enacted in 1941 had reduced local political opposition by reducing the number of voting precincts from 23 to 12 and reducing the number of justices of the peace from fourteen to seven (including four "Cantrell men"). The sheriff and his deputies operated a fee system under which they received a cut of the money for every person they booked, incarcerated, and released; the more arrests, the more money they made. Often, buses passing through the county were pulled over and the passengers were randomly ticketed for drunkenness, whether guilty or not.
When the people decide that conditions in their town, county, state or country must change, they will change them. If the leadership has been wise, they will be able to do it peacefully through a secret ballot which is honestly counted, but if the leader has become inflated and too sure of his own importance, he may bring about the kind of action which was taken in Tennessee. If we want to continue to be a mature people who, at home and abroad, settle our difficulties peacefully and not through the use of force, then we will take to heart this lesson and we will jealously guard our rights. What goes on before an election, the threats or persuasion by political leaders, may be bad but it cannot prevent the people from really registering their will if they wish to.
so it seems the corrupt politicians tried one more time to seize power only to be stopped by 1500 armed citizens who patroled the city until governace could be restored
Three-man Commission Elected 4:00 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3 Three man commission chosen as governing body by mass meeting at Court House. Volunteers by hundreds offer assistance in setting up government framework. Cleansing & Restoration 4:00 p.m. Friday to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3 Curious crowds mill streets as the new government cleans up "hot-spots." Beer sales banned. Town is orderly. Rumored Biggs-Mansfield Invasion Sets GIs On Alert 9:00 p.m. Saturday Rumor and newspaper story from Knoxville sets off high strung nerves with the report that Biggs and Mansfield will attempt to storm Athens. 1,500 Citizens Converge On Athens 9:00 pm Fifteen hundred citizens pour into Athens with firearms to back the new government. Telephone calls from neighboring cities pledge aid if needed in defense of the town. GIs on Patrol 7:00 p.m. Saturday Aug. 3 to Sunrise Sunday, Aug. 4 Athens is patrolled by GIs and citizens.
Last Warning! Deputies Threaten Hostages' Lives 2:00 am Deputies sent out last warning that they would kill three GI hostages within the jail immediately if the firing did not end. GIs Replied With Ultimatum Of Their Own 2:20 am GIs issued an ultimatum to the deputies to come out with hands upraised or the crowd would rush the jail. GIs Escalate The Fight With Use of Dynamite 2:59 am The ex-GIs went into action with demolition charges — home made, but effective. After a fourth blast had rocked the jail one of the deputies leaned from the building and shouted "Stop that blasting. We'll give up — we're dying in here. Firing continued a few moments then stopped.
G-I CLAIM ELECTION TO OFFICE — ISSUE STATEMENT This special announcement was hand to the Daily Post-Athenian and Radio Station WLAR at 3:02 A.M. by the Non-Partisan Candidates for immediate release shortly before the exodus of imprisoned officials in the county jail: "The G-I election officials went to the polls unarmed to have a fair election, as Pat Mansfield promised. They were met with black-jacks and pistols. "Several G-I officials were beaten and the ballot boxes were moved to the jail. The G-I supporters went to the jail to get these ballot boxes and were met by gunfire. "The G-I candidates had promised that the votes would be counted as cast. They had no choice but to meet fire with fire. "In the precincts where the G-I candidates were allowed watchers they led by three to one majorities. "THE G-Is ARE ELECTED AND WILL SERVE AS YOUR COUNTY OFFICIALS BEGINNING SEPT. 1st, 1946." The G-I Candidates, thus claiming election to officer are: Knox Henry — Sheriff Frank Carmichael — Trustee Bill Hamby — Circuit Court Clerk Charlie Pickle — Register of Deeds Campaign Mgr for the G-Is was Jim Buttram. George Woods returns to McMinn County under protection by the GI-Citizens Government. Sheriff Mansfield Resigned