OK — so the Tennessee Plan, you've probably never heard of it unless you are from Tennessee or Alaska. Apparently, some of those who took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution haven't heard of it either. When Tennessee first came to the Union, it had a different name; it was first called "Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio." It was a U.S. territory, just like Puerto Rico is now.
But instead of waiting for Congress to decide if they wanted to make the territory a state, they took a different, bold route: They forced the issue themselves:
• They elected delegates for Congress
• They voted on statehood
• They drafted a state constitution
• And applied for statehood
• Then, when Congress dragged their feet, they went to the Capitol and demanded to be seated
Congress was unsure of how to proceed; this was the first territory going for statehood. They relented and Tennessee became America's 16th state. Alaska did many of the same things.
Again, the Tennessee plan in a nutshell:
• Unsuccessfully petitioning Congress for admission
• Drafting a state constitution without prior congressional intervention
• Holding state elections for state officers, U.S. senators and representatives
• In some cases, sending the entire congressional delegation to Washington to demand statehood and claim their seats
• Finally, Congress has little choice but to admit a new state through the passage of a simple act of admission