The SOUTHERN UNITED STATES, commonly referred to as the AMERICAN
SOUTH, DIXIE , or simply THE SOUTH, is a region of the United States
of America . The South does not fully match the geographic south of
the United States, but the
Deep South is fully located in the
New Mexico , which are geographically
in the southern part of the country, are rarely considered part, while
West Virginia , which separated from
Virginia in 1863, commonly is.
Some scholars have proposed definitions of the South that do not
coincide neatly with state boundaries. While the states of Delaware
Maryland , as well as the
District of Columbia
District of Columbia permitted slavery
prior to the start of the Civil War, they remained with the Union .
Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, they became more
culturally, economically, and politically aligned with the industrial
Northern states , and are often identified as part of the Mid-Atlantic
or Northeast by many residents, businesses, public institutions, and
private organizations. However, the
United States Census Bureau
puts them in the South. HISTORIC SOUTHERN UNITED STATES. The
states in stripes were considered "border states ", and gave varying
degrees of support to the Southern cause although they remained in the
Union. (This illustration depicts the original, trans-Allegheny
borders of Virginia, thus does not show
West Virginia separately. See
the images above for post-1863
West Virginia borders.)
Although members of the Five Tribes in Indian Territory (today part of
Oklahoma) aligned themselves with the Confederacy, the region is not
shaded because at the time it was a territory, not a state. The
area roughly considered to constitute the
Usually, the South is defined as including the southeastern and
south-central United States. The region is known for its culture and
history, having developed its own customs, musical styles, and
cuisines , which have distinguished it in some ways from the rest of
the United States. The Southern ethnic heritage is diverse and
includes strong European (mostly
Spanish American , Irish ,
Scotch-Irish , Scottish , English , German and French ), African , and
some Native American components.
Some other aspects of the historical and cultural development of the
South have been influenced by the institution of slave labor on
plantations in the
Deep South to an extent seen nowhere else in the
United States; the presence of a large proportion of African Americans
in the population; support for the doctrine of states\' rights , and
the legacy of racial tension magnified by the Civil War and
Reconstruction Era , as seen in thousands of lynchings (mostly from
1880 to 1930), the segregated system of separate schools and public
facilities known as "
Jim Crow laws ", that lasted until the 1960s, and
the widespread use of poll taxes and other methods to frequently deny
black people of the right to vote or hold office until the 1960s.
Since the late 1960s, black people have held many offices in Southern
states, especially in the coastal states of
Virginia and South
Carolina . Many black people have also been elected or appointed as
mayors and police chiefs in the metropolises of Memphis ,
Atlanta , and
New Orleans , and serve in both the U.S. Congress and
Historically, the South relied heavily on agriculture , and was
highly rural until after 1945. It has since become more industrialized
and urban and has attracted national and international migrants. The
American South is now among the fastest-growing areas in the United
Houston is the largest city in the Southern United States.
Sociological research indicates that Southern collective identity
stems from political, demographic, and cultural distinctiveness from
the rest of the United States. The region contains almost all of the
Bible Belt , an area of high
Protestant church attendance (especially
evangelical churches such as the
Southern Baptist Convention ) and
predominantly conservative , religion-influenced politics. Indeed,
studies have shown that Southerners are more conservative than
non-Southerners in several areas, including religion, morality,
international relations and race relations. This is evident in both
the region's religious attendance figures and in the region's usually
strong support for the Republican Party in political elections since
the 1960s, and especially since the 1990s.
Apart from its climate, the living experience in the South
increasingly resembles the rest of the nation. The arrival of millions
of Northerners (especially in major metropolitan areas and coastal
areas) and millions of Hispanics has meant the introduction of
cultural values and social norms not rooted in Southern traditions.
Observers conclude that collective identity and Southern
distinctiveness are thus declining, particularly when defined against
"an earlier South that was somehow more authentic, real, more unified
and distinct". The process has worked both ways, however, with
aspects of Southern culture spreading throughout a greater portion of
the rest of the
United States in a process termed "
* 1 Geography
* 2 History
* 2.1 Native American culture
* 2.2 European colonization
* 2.4 Antebellum years
* 2.5 Civil War
* 2.6 Reconstruction and Jim Crow
* 2.7 Late 19th and 20th century—industrialization and Great
* 3 Modern economy
* 4 Education
* 5 Culture
* 5.1 Religion
* 6 Sports
* 6.2 Baseball
* 6.3 Auto racing
* 6.6 Soccer
* 7 Health
* 8 Politics
* 8.1 Presidents from the South
* 8.2 Other politicians and political movements
* 9 Race relations
* 9.1 Native
* 9.2 Civil rights
* 10 Symbolism
* 11 Major cities
* 12 Major metropolitan areas
* 13 Major combined statistical areas
* 14 See also
* 15 References
* 16 Further reading
* 17 External links
Texas Hill Country
The question of how to define the subregions in the South has been
the focus of research for nearly a century.
Bluegrass region in
Glass Mountains at
Glass Mountains State Park,
Oklahoma A field of yellow wildflowers in Saint Bernard Parish,
Louisiana North Carolina's
Appalachian Mountains Pearl
River backwater in
Mississippi Misty Bluff along the Buffalo
Ozark Mountains ,
Arkansas Tidal wetlands of the
Chesapeake Bay in
Cherry River in
As defined by the
United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau , the Southern region
United States includes sixteen states. As of 2010, an estimated
114,555,744 people, or thirty-seven percent of all U.S. residents,
lived in the South, the nation's most populous region. The Census
Bureau defined three smaller divisions:
* THE SOUTH ATLANTIC STATES :
Florida , Georgia ,
North Carolina ,
South Carolina ,
Virginia and West
* THE EAST SOUTH CENTRAL STATES :
Kentucky , Mississippi
* THE WEST SOUTH CENTRAL STATES :
Council of State Governments , an organization for communication
and coordination between states, includes in its South regional office
the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South
Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Other terms related to the South include:
* THE OLD SOUTH : can mean either the slave states that existed in
1776 (Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, and South
Carolina) or all the slave states before 1860 (which included the
newer states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi,
Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas).
* THE NEW SOUTH : usually including the
South Atlantic States .
* THE SOLID SOUTH : region largely controlled by the Democratic
Party from 1877 to 1964, especially after disfranchisement of most
blacks at the turn of the 20th century. Before that, blacks were
elected to national office and many to local office through the 1880s;
Populist-Republican coalitions gained victories for Fusionist
candidates for governors in the 1890s. Includes at least all the 11
former Confederate States.
* SOUTHERN APPALACHIA : mainly refers to areas situated in the
Appalachian Mountains , namely Eastern
Kentucky , East
Tennessee , Western
North Carolina , Western
Maryland , West Virginia
North Georgia , and Northwestern South Carolina
* SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES : usually including the Carolinas , the
Kentucky , Georgia ,
* THE DEEP SOUTH : various definitions, usually including Louisiana,
Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. Occasionally, parts
of adjoining states are included (sections of East Texas, the
Mississippi embayment areas of
Arkansas and Tennessee, and northern
and central Florida).
* THE GULF SOUTH : various definitions, usually including Gulf
* THE UPPER SOUTH :
West Virginia , Tennessee
North Carolina , and occasionally
Maryland , and Delaware
* DIXIE : various definitions, but most commonly associated with the
11 states of the Old Confederacy.
* THE MID-SOUTH: Various definitions, including that of the Census
Bureau of the East and West South Central United States; in another
informal definition, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and sometimes
adjoining areas of other states.
* BORDER SOUTH :
Maryland , and
states on the outer rim of the Confederacy that did not secede from
United States in the 1860s, but did have significant numbers of
residents who joined the Confederate armed forces.
Missouri had Confederate governments-in-exile and were represented in
the Confederate Congress and by stars on the Confederate battle flag.
West Virginia formed in 1863 after the western region of Virginia
broke away to protest the Old Dominion's joining of the Confederacy,
but residents of the new state were about evenly divided on supporting
the Union or the Confederacy.
The popular definition of the "South" is more informal and generally
associated with the 11 states that seceded before or during the Civil
War to form the
Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America . In order of their
secession, these were: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama,
Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North
Carolina. These states share commonalities of history and culture that
carry on to the present day.
Oklahoma was not a state during the Civil
War, but all its major Native American tribes signed formal treaties
of alliance with the Confederacy.
The South is a diverse meteorological region with numerous climatic
zones, including temperate , sub-tropical , tropical , and arid
—though the South generally has a reputation as hot and humid, with
long summers and short, mild winters. Most of the south—except for
the higher elevations and areas near the western, southern and some
northern fringes—fall in the humid subtropical climate zone. Crops
grow readily in the South; its climate consistently provides growing
seasons of at least six months before the first frost. Another common
environment occurs in the bayous and swamplands of the Gulf Coast ,
Louisiana and in Texas.
Main article: History of the Southern
NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURE
The first well-dated evidence of human occupation in the south United
States occurs around 9500 BC with the appearance of the earliest
documented Americans, who are now referred to as
Paleoindians were hunter-gathers that roamed in bands and frequently
hunted megafauna . Several cultural stages, such as Archaic (ca.
8000–1000 BC) and the Woodland (ca. 1000 BC – AD 1000), preceded
what the Europeans found at the end of the 15th century—the
Mississippian culture .
Mississippian culture was a complex, mound-building Native
American culture that flourished in what is now the southeastern
United States from approximately 800 AD to 1500 AD. Natives had
elaborate and lengthy trading routes connecting their main residential
and ceremonial centers extending through the river valleys and from
the East Coast to the Great Lakes. Some noted explorers who
encountered and described the Mississippian culture, by then in
Pánfilo de Narváez (1528), Hernando de Soto
(1540), and Pierre Le Moyne d\'Iberville (1699).
Native American descendants of the mound-builders include
Choctaw , Creek ,
Hitchiti , Houma , and
Seminole peoples, all of whom still reside in
Other peoples whose ancestral links to the
Mississippian culture are
less clear but were clearly in the region before the European
incursion include the Catawba and the
Benjamin Hawkins , seen here on his plantation, teaches Creek
Americans how to use European technology. Painted in 1805.
European immigration resulted in a corresponding die off of Native
Americans who had not been exposed to various diseases .
The predominant culture of the South was rooted in the settlement of
the region by British colonists . In the 17th century, most voluntary
immigrants were of English origins who settled chiefly along the
coastal regions of the Eastern seaboard but had pushed as far inland
Appalachian Mountains by the 18th century. The majority of
early English settlers were indentured servants , who gained freedom
after enough work to pay off their passage. The wealthier men who paid
their way received land grants known as headrights, to encourage
The Spanish and French established colonies in
Louisiana . The Spanish colonized
Florida in the 16th century, with
their communities reaching a peak in the late 17th century.
In the British colonies, immigration began in 1607 and continued
until the outbreak of the Revolution in 1775. Settlers cleared land,
built houses and outbuildings, and on their own farms. The rich owned
large plantations that dominated export agriculture and used slaves.
Many were involved in the labor-intensive cultivation of tobacco, the
first cash crop of Virginia. Tobacco exhausted the soil quickly,
requiring that farmers regularly clear new fields. They used old
fields as pasture, and for crops such as corn and wheat, or allowed
them to grow into woodlots.
In the mid-to-late-18th century, large groups of Ulster Scots (later
called the Scotch-Irish ) and people from the Anglo-Scottish border
region immigrated and settled in the back country of
the Piedmont . They were the largest group of non-English immigrants
British Isles before the
American Revolution . In the 1980
Census, 34% of Southerners reported that they were of English
ancestry; English was the largest reported European ancestry in every
Southern state by a large margin.
The early colonists engaged in warfare , trade , and cultural
exchanges. Those living in the backcountry were more likely to
encounter Creek Indians ,
Cherokee , and Choctaws and other regional
The oldest university in the South, the College of William it
pioneered in the teaching of political economy and educated future
U.S. Presidents Jefferson , Monroe and Tyler , all from Virginia.
Indeed, the entire region dominated politics in the First Party System
era: for example, four of the first five presidents —Washington ,
Jefferson , Madison , and Monroe —were from Virginia. The two oldest
public universities are also in the South: the University of North
Carolina (1789) and the
University of Georgia (1785).
Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War
Maryland Regiment holding the line at the
Battle of Guilford in
Virginia in the lead, the Southern colonies embraced the
American Revolution , providing such leaders as commander in chief
George Washington , and the author of the Declaration of Independence,
Thomas Jefferson .
In 1780–81, the British largely halted reconquest of the northern
states, and concentrated on the south, where they were told there was
a large Loyalist population ready to leap to arms once the royal
forces arrived. The British took control of Savannah and Charleston,
capturing a large American army in the process, and set up a network
of bases inland. There were many more Loyalists in the South than in
the North, but they were concentrated in larger coastal cities and
were not great enough in number to overcome the revolutionaries. Large
numbers of loyalists from
South Carolina fought for the British in the
Battle of Camden . The British forces at the Battle of Monck\'s Corner
and the Battle of Lenud\'s Ferry consisted entirely of Loyalists with
the exception of the commanding officer (
Banastre Tarleton ). Both
white and black Loyalists fought for the British at the Battle of
Kemp\'s Landing in Virginia. Led by
Nathanael Greene and other
Americans engaged in Fabian tactics designed to wear
down the British invasion force, and to neutralize its strong points
one by one. There were numerous battles large and small, with each
side claiming some victories. By 1781, however, British General
Cornwallis moved north to Virginia, where an approaching army forced
him to fortify and await rescue by the British Navy. The British Navy
did arrive, but so did a stronger French fleet, and Cornwallis was
trapped. American and French armies, led by Washington, forced
Cornwallis to surrender his entire army in Yorktown,
October 1781, effectively winning the North American part of the war.
The Revolution provided a shock to slavery in the South. Thousands of
slaves took advantage of wartime disruption to find their own freedom,
catalyzed by the British Governor Dunmore of Virginia's promise of
freedom for service. Many others were removed by Loyalist owners and
became slaves elsewhere in the Empire. Between 1770 and 1790, there
was a sharp decline in the percentage of blacks – from 61% percent
to 44% in
South Carolina and from 45% to 36% in Georgia.
In addition, some slaveholders were inspired to free their slaves
after the Revolution. They were moved by the principles of the
Revolution, and Quaker and Methodist preachers worked to encourage
slaveholders to free their slaves. Planters such as George Washington
often freed slaves by their wills. In the upper South, more than 10
percent of all blacks were free by 1810, a significant expansion from
pre-war proportions of less than 1 percent free.
_ Slaves on a
South Carolina plantation (
The Old Plantation _, c.
Cotton became dominant in the lower South after 1800. After the
invention of the cotton gin, short staple cotton could be grown more
widely. This led to an explosion of cotton cultivation, especially in
the frontier uplands of Georgia,
Alabama and other parts of the Deep
South, as well as riverfront areas of the
Mississippi Delta. Migrants
poured into those areas in the early decades of the 19th century, when
county population figures rose and fell as swells of people kept
moving west. The expansion of cotton cultivation required more slave
labor, and the institution became even more deeply an integral part of
the South's economy.
With the opening up of frontier lands after the government forced
Americans to move west of the Mississippi, there was a
major migration of both whites and blacks to those territories. From
the 1820s through the 1850s, more than one million enslaved Africans
were transported to the
Deep South in forced migration, two-thirds of
them by slave traders and the others by masters who moved there.
Planters in the Upper South sold slaves excess to their needs as they
shifted from tobacco to mixed agriculture. Many enslaved families were
broken up, as planters preferred mostly strong males for field work.
Two major political issues that festered in the first half of the
19th century caused political alignment along sectional lines,
strengthened the identities of North and South as distinct regions
with certain strongly opposed interests, and fed the arguments over
states' rights that culminated in secession and the Civil War. One of
these issues concerned the protective tariffs enacted to assist the
growth of the manufacturing sector, primarily in the North. In 1832,
in resistance to federal legislation increasing tariffs, South
Carolina passed an ordinance of nullification , a procedure in which a
state would, in effect, repeal a Federal law. Soon a naval flotilla
was sent to Charleston harbor, and the threat of landing ground troops
was used to compel the collection of tariffs. A compromise was reached
by which the tariffs would be gradually reduced, but the underlying
argument over states' rights continued to escalate in the following
Horse racing at Jacksonville,
Alabama , 1841
The second issue concerned slavery, primarily the question of whether
slavery would be permitted in newly admitted states. The issue was
initially finessed by political compromises designed to balance the
number of "free" and "slave" states. The issue resurfaced in more
virulent form, however, around the time of the Mexican–American War
, which raised the stakes by adding new territories primarily on the
Southern side of the imaginary geographic divide. Congress opposed
allowing slavery in these territories.
Before the Civil War, the number of immigrants arriving at Southern
ports began to increase, although the North continued to receive the
Hugenots were among the first settlers in Charleston,
along with the largest number of Hasidic Jews outside of New York City
. Numerous Irish immigrants settled in New Orleans, establishing a
distinct ethnic enclave now known as the Irish Channel . Germans also
New Orleans and its environs, resulting in a large area north
of the city (along the Mississippi) becoming known as the German
Coast; however, still greater numbers immigrated to
after 1848), where many bought land and were farmers. Many more German
immigrants arrived in
Texas after the Civil War, where they created
the brewing industry in
Houston and elsewhere, became grocers in
numerous cities, and also established wide areas of farming.
New Orleans was the wealthiest city in the country and the
third largest in population. The success of the city was based on the
growth of international trade associated with products being shipped
to and from the interior of the country down the
New Orleans also had the largest slave market in the country, as
traders brought slaves by ship and overland to sell to planters across
the Deep South. The city was a cosmopolitan port with a variety of
jobs that attracted more immigrants than other areas of the South.
Because of lack of investment, however, construction of railroads to
span the region lagged behind the North. People relied most heavily on
river traffic for getting their crops to market and for
American Civil War and
Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
By 1856, the South had lost control of Congress, and was no longer
able to silence calls for an end to slavery—which came mostly from
the more populated, free states of the North. The Republican Party,
founded in 1854, pledged to stop the spread of slavery beyond those
states where it already existed. After Abraham Lincoln was elected the
first Republican president in 1860, seven cotton states declared their
secession and formed the
Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America before Lincoln
was inaugurated. The
United States government, both outgoing and
incoming, refused to recognize the Confederacy, and when the new
Jefferson Davis ordered his troops to open fire
on Fort Sumter in April 1861, there was an overwhelming demand, North
and South, for war. Only the state of
Kentucky attempted to remain
neutral, and it could only do so briefly. When Lincoln called for
troops to suppress what he referred to as "combinations too powerful
to be suppressed by the ordinary" judicial or martial means, four
more states decided to secede and join the Confederacy (which then
moved its capital to Richmond, Virginia). Although the Confederacy had
large supplies of captured munitions and many volunteers, it was
slower than the Union in dealing with the border states. By March
1862, the Union largely controlled Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky
and Missouri, had shut down all commercial traffic from all
Confederate ports, had prevented European recognition of the
Confederate government, and was poised to seize New Orleans.
Confederate dead of General Ewell's Corps who attacked the Union lines
at the Battle of Spotsylvania, May 19, 1864.
In the four years of war 1861–65 the South was the primary
battleground, with all but two of the major battles taking place on
Southern soil. Union forces relentlessly squeezed the Confederacy,
controlling the border states in 1861, the
Tennessee River, the
Cumberland River and
New Orleans in 1862, and the
Mississippi River in
1863. In the East, however, the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee
beat off attack after attack in its defense of their capital at
Richmond. But when Lee tried to move north, he was repulsed (and
nearly captured) at Sharpsburg (1862) and Gettysburg (1863).
The Confederacy had the resources for a short war, but was unable to
finance or supply a longer war. It reversed the traditional low-tariff
policy of the South by imposing a new 15% tax on all imports from the
Union. The Union blockade stopped most commerce from entering the
South, and smugglers avoided the tax, so the Confederate tariff
produced too little revenue to finance the war. Inflated currency was
the solution, but that created distrust of the Richmond government.
Because of low investment in railroads, the Southern transportation
system depended primarily on river and coastal traffic by boat; both
were shut down by the
Union Navy . The small railroad system virtually
collapsed, so that by 1864 internal travel was so difficult that the
Confederate economy was crippled.
The Confederate cause was hopeless by the time
Atlanta fell and
William T. Sherman marched through Georgia in late 1864, but the
rebels fought on, refusing to give up their independence until Lee's
army surrendered in April 1865. All the Confederate forces
surrendered, and the region moved into the
Reconstruction Era .
The South suffered much more than the North overall, as the Union
strategy of attrition warfare meant that Lee could not replace his
casualties, and the total war waged by Sherman, Sheridan and other
Union armies devastated the infrastructure and caused widespread
poverty and distress. The Confederacy suffered military losses of
95,000 men killed in action and 165,000 who died of disease, for a
total of 260,000, out of a total white Southern population at the
time of around 5.5 million. Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all
white males aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6% in the North
and about 18% in the South. Northern military casualties exceeded
Southern casualties in absolute numbers, but were two-thirds smaller
in terms of proportion of the population affected.
RECONSTRUCTION AND JIM CROW
Reconstruction Era , Disenfranchisement after the
Reconstruction Era , and Voting rights in the
United States _ A
Home on the
Currier and Ives , 1871
After the Civil War, the South was devastated in terms of population,
infrastructure and economy. Because of states' reluctance to grant
voting rights to freedmen, Congress instituted Reconstruction
governments. It established military districts and governors to rule
over the South until new governments could be established. Many white
Southerners who had actively supported the Confederacy were
temporarily disenfranchised. Rebuilding was difficult as people
grappled with the effects of a new labor economy of a free market in
the midst of a widespread agricultural depression. In addition, what
limited infrastructure the South had was mostly destroyed by the war.
At the same time, the North was rapidly industrializing. To avoid the
social effects of the war, most of the Southern states initially
passed black codes . Eventually, these were mostly legally nullified
by federal law and anti-Confederate legislatures, which existed for a
short time during Reconstruction.
There were thousands of people on the move, as African Americans
tried to reunite families separated by slaves sales, and sometimes
migrated for better opportunities in towns or other states. Other
freed people moved from plantation areas to cities or towns for a
chance to get different jobs. At the same time, whites returned from
refuges to reclaim plantations or town dwellings. In some areas, many
whites returned to the land to farm for a while. Some freedpeople left
the South altogether for states such as
Ohio and Indiana, and later,
Kansas. Thousands of others joined the migration to new opportunities
Arkansas Delta bottomlands and Texas.
With passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United
States (which outlawed slavery), the 14th Amendment (which granted
full U.S. citizenship to
African Americans ) and the 15th amendment
(which extended the right to vote to
African American males), African
Americans in the South were made free citizens and were given the
right to vote. Under Federal protection, white and black Republicans
formed constitutional conventions and state governments. Among their
accomplishments were creating the first public education systems in
Southern states, and providing for welfare through orphanages,
hospitals and similar institutions.
Northerners came south to participate in politics and business. Some
were representatives of the Freedmen\'s Bureau and other agencies of
Reconstruction; some were humanitarians with the intent to help black
people. Some were adventurers who hoped to benefit themselves by
questionable methods. They were all condemned with the pejorative term
of carpetbagger . Some Southerners also took advantage of the
disrupted environment and made money off various schemes, including
bonds and financing for railroads.
Secret vigilante organizations such as the
Ku Klux Klan —an
organization sworn to perpetuate white supremacy —had arisen quickly
after the war's end and used lynching , physical attacks, house
burnings and other forms of intimidation to keep African Americans
from exercising their political rights. Although the first Klan was
disrupted by prosecution by the Federal government in the early 1870s,
other groups persisted. By the mid-to-late-1870s, elite Southerners
created increasing resistance to the altered social structure.
Paramilitary organizations such as the
White League in Louisiana
(1874), the Red Shirts in
Mississippi (1875) and rifle clubs, all
"White Line" organizations, used organized violence against
Republicans , both black and white, to remove Republicans from
political office, repress and bar black voting, and restore the
Democratic Party to power. In 1876 white Democrats regained power in
most of the state legislatures. They began to pass laws designed to
African Americans and poor whites from the voter registration
rolls. The success of late-19th century interracial coalitions in
several states inspired a reaction among some white Democrats, who
worked harder to prevent both groups from voting.
Despite discrimination, many blacks became property owners in areas
that were still developing. For instance, 90% of the Mississippi's
bottomlands were still frontier and undeveloped after the war. By the
end of the century, two-thirds of the farmers in Mississippi's Delta
bottomlands were black. They had cleared the land themselves and often
made money in early years by selling off timber. Tens of thousands of
migrants went to the Delta, both to work as laborers to clear timber
for lumber companies, and many to develop their own farms. By the end
of the century, two-thirds of farm owners in the Delta bottomlands
were black. However, the long agricultural depression, along with
disenfranchisement and lack of access to credit, led to many blacks in
the Delta losing their property by 1910 and becoming sharecroppers or
landless workers over the following decade. More than two generations
African Americans lost their stake in property. Child
South Carolina , 1913
Nearly all Southerners, black and white, suffered as a result of the
Civil War. Within a few years cotton production and harvest was back
to pre-war levels, but low prices through much of the 19th century
hampered recovery. They encouraged immigration by Chinese and Italian
laborers into the
Mississippi Delta. While the first Chinese entered
as indentured laborers from
Cuba , the majority came in the early 20th
century. Neither group stayed long at rural farm labor. The Chinese
became merchants and established stores in small towns throughout the
Delta, establishing a place between white and black.
Migrations continued in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among
both blacks and whites. In the last two decades of the 19th century
about 141,000 blacks left the South, and more after 1900, totaling a
loss of 537,000. After that the movement increased in what became
known as the Great Migration from 1910 to 1940, and the Second Great
Migration through 1970. Even more whites left the South, some going to
California for opportunities and others heading to Northern industrial
cities after 1900. Between 1880 and 1910, the loss of whites totaled
1,243,000. Five million more left between 1940 and 1970.
From 1890 to 1908, ten of the eleven former Confederate states, along
Oklahoma upon statehood, passed disfranchising constitutions or
amendments that introduced voter registration barriers—such as poll
taxes , residency requirements and literacy tests —that were hard
for many poor to meet. Most African Americans, most Mexican Americans,
and tens of thousands of poor whites were disfranchised, losing the
vote for decades. In some states, grandfather clauses temporarily
exempted white illiterates from literacy tests. The numbers of voters
dropped drastically throughout the former Confederacy as a result.
This can be seen via the feature "Turnout in Presidential and Midterm
Elections" at the University of Texas’ _Politics: Barriers to
Voting_. Alabama, which had established universal white suffrage in
1819 when it became a state, also substantially reduced voting by poor
whites. Democrat controlled legislatures passed
Jim Crow laws to
segregate public facilities and services, including transportation.
While African Americans, poor whites and civil rights groups started
litigation against such provisions in the early 20th century, for
decades Supreme Court decisions overturning such provisions were
rapidly followed by new state laws with new devices to restrict
voting. Most blacks in the former Confederacy and
Oklahoma could not
vote until 1965, after passage of the Voting Rights Act and Federal
enforcement to ensure people could register. Despite increases in the
eligible voting population with the inclusion of women, blacks, and
those eighteen and over throughout this period, turnout in
ex-Confederate states remained below the national average throughout
the 20th century. Not until the late 1960s did all American citizens
regain protected civil rights by passage of legislation following the
leadership of the
American Civil Rights Movement
American Civil Rights Movement .
LATE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURY—INDUSTRIALIZATION AND GREAT MIGRATION
Great Migration (African American) An illustrated
depiction of black people picking cotton , 1913
At the end of the 19th century, white Democrats in the South had
created state constitutions that were hostile to industry and business
development, with anti-industrial laws extensive from the time new
constitutions were adopted in the 1890s. Banking was limited, as was
access to credit. States persisted in agricultural economies.
Alabama and Florida, rural minorities held control in
many state legislatures long after population had shifted to
industrializing cities, and legislators resisted business and
Alabama refused to redistrict between 1901 and
1972, long after major population and economic shifts to cities. For
decades Birmingham generated the majority of revenue for the state,
for instance, but received little back in services or infrastructure.
In the late 19th century,
Texas rapidly expanded its railroad
network, creating a network of cities connected on a radial plan and
linked to the port of Galveston. It was the first statein which urban
and economic development proceeded independently of rivers, the
primary transportation network of the past. A reflection of increasing
industry were strikes and labor unrest: "in 1885
Texas ranked ninth
among forty states in number of workers involved in strikes (4,000);
for the six-year period it ranked fifteenth. Seventy-five of the one
hundred strikes, chiefly interstate strikes of telegraphers and
railway workers, occurred in the year 1886."
Dallas became the largest city in Texas, and by 1900 it had a
population of more than 42,000, which more than doubled to over 92,000
a decade later.
Dallas was the harnessmaking capital of the world and
a center of other manufacturing. As an example of its ambitions, in
Dallas built the Praetorian Building, fifteen storeys tall and
the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi, soon to be followed by
Texas was transformed by a railroad network
linking five important cities, among them
Houston with its nearby port
at Galveston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and El Paso. Each
exceeded fifty thousand in population by 1920, with the major cities
having three times that population.
Business interests were ignored by the Southern Democrat ruling
class. Nonetheless, major new industries started developing in cities
such as Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; and Dallas, Fort Worth and
Houston , Texas. Growth began occurring at a geometric rate.
Birmingham became a major steel producer and mining town, with major
population growth in the early decades of the 20th century.
The first major oil well in the South was drilled at
Texas , on the morning of January 10, 1901. Other oil fields
were later discovered nearby in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and under the Gulf
Mexico . The resulting "Oil Boom" permanently transformed the
economy of the West South Central states and produced the most
significant economic expansion after the Civil War.
In the early 20th century, invasion of the boll weevil devastated
cotton crops in the South, producing an additional catalyst to African
Americans' decisions to leave the South. From 1910 to 1940, and then
from the 1940s to 1970, more than 6.5 million
African Americans left
the South in the Great Migration to northern and midwestern cities,
defecting from persistent lynching , violence, segregation , poor
education, and inability to vote. Black migration transformed many
Northern cities, creating new cultures and music. Many African
Americans, like other groups, became industrial workers; others
started their own businesses within the communities. Southern whites
also migrated to industrial cities, especially Chicago and Detroit,
where they took jobs in the booming new auto industry. Photo of
sharecropper family in Walker County, Alabama, ca. 1937
Later, the Southern economy was dealt additional blows by the Great
Depression and the
Dust Bowl . After the
Wall Street Crash of 1929
Wall Street Crash of 1929 ,
the economy suffered significant reversals and millions were left
unemployed. Beginning in 1934 and lasting until 1939, an ecological
disaster of severe wind and drought caused an exodus from
Oklahoma Panhandle region, and the surrounding plains,
in which over 500,000
Americans were homeless, hungry and jobless.
Thousands left the region forever to seek economic opportunities along
the West Coast .
Franklin D. Roosevelt noted the South as the "number one
priority" in terms of need of assistance during the Great Depression.
His administration created programs such as the
Authority in 1933 to provide rural electrification and stimulate
development. Locked into low-productivity agriculture, the region's
growth was slowed by limited industrial development, low levels of
entrepreneurship, and the lack of capital investment.
World War II
World War II marked a time of change in the South as new industries
and military bases were developed by the Federal government, providing
badly needed capital and infrastructure in many regions. People from
all parts of the US came to the South for military training and work
in the region's many bases and new industries. Farming shifted from
cotton and tobacco to include soybeans , corn , and other foods.
Industrial growth increased in the 1960s and greatly accelerated into
the 1980s and 1990s. Several large urban areas in Texas, Georgia, and
Florida grew to over four million people. Rapid expansion in
industries such as autos, telecommunications, textiles, technology,
banking, and aviation gave some states in the South an industrial
strength to rival large states elsewhere in the country. By the 2000
census, the South (along with the West) was leading the nation in
population growth. However, with this growth has come long commute
times and air pollution problems in cities such as Dallas, Houston,
Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, and others that rely on sprawling
development and highway networks.
In the late 20th century, the South changed dramatically. It saw a
boom in its service economy , manufacturing base, high technology
industries, and the financial sector.
Texas in particular witnessed
dramatic growth and population change with the dominance of the energy
industry. Tourism in
Florida and along the Gulf Coast grew steadily
throughout the last decades of the 20th century.
Numerous new automobile production plants have opened in the region,
or are soon to open, such as
Mercedes-Benz in Tuscaloosa,
Hyundai in Montgomery,
Alabama ; the
BMW production plant in
South Carolina ;
Toyota plants in Georgetown,
Mississippi and San Antonio ; the GM manufacturing plant
in Spring Hill,
Tennessee ; a
Honda factory in Lincoln,
Alabama ; the
Nissan North American headquarters in Franklin,
factories in Smyrna,
Tennessee and Canton,
Mississippi ; a Kia factory
West Point, Georgia ; and the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant
The two largest research parks in the country are located in the
Research Triangle Park in
North Carolina (the world's largest)
Cummings Research Park in Huntsville,
Alabama (the world's
In medicine, the
Texas Medical Center in
Houston has achieved
international recognition in education, research, and patient care,
especially in the fields of heart disease, cancer, and rehabilitation.
In 1994 the
Texas Medical Center was the largest medical center in the
world including fourteen hospitals, two medical schools, four colleges
of nursing, and six university systems. The University of
Anderson Cancer Center is consistently ranked the #1 cancer research
and treatment center in the United States.
Many major banking corporations have headquarters in the region. Bank
of America is in Charlotte,
North Carolina .
headquartered there before its purchase by
Wells Fargo . Regions
Financial Corporation is in Birmingham , as is AmSouth Bancorporation
BBVA Compass .
SunTrust Banks is located in
Atlanta as is the
district headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of
Atlanta . BB
closely mirroring the economic and population resources of those
This economic expansion has enabled parts of the South to report some
of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States. But in the
U.S. top ten of poorest big cities, the South is represented in the
rankings by two cities:
Memphis, Tennessee . In
2011, nine out of ten poorest states were in the South.
Southern public schools in the past ranked in the lower half of some
national surveys. When allowance for race is considered, a 2007 US
Government list of test scores often shows white fourth and eighth
graders performing better than average for reading and math; while
black fourth and eighth graders also performed better than average.
This comparison does not hold across the board.
lower than average no matter how the statistics are compared. However,
newer data suggests that education in the south is on par with the
nation, with 72% of high schoolers graduating compared to 73%
nationwide. Southern education is also unique in that it is the only
region in the West where school corporal punishment is legal and
commonly practiced in public schools; virtually all paddling in the
United States occurs at Southern schools.
Main article: Culture of the Southern
United States Street
musicians in Maynardville,
Tennessee , photographed in 1935
Several Southern states (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia) were British colonies that sent
delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence and then fought
against the government along with the Northern colonies during the
Revolutionary War . The basis for much Southern culture derives from
the pride in these states being among the 13 original colonies, and
from the fact that much of the population of the South has strong
ancestral links to Colonists who emigrated west. Southern manners and
customs reflect the relationship with England and
Africa that was held
by the early population, with some influences being provided by the
Native American populations of the area.
Overall, the South has had lower percentages of high school
graduates, lower housing values, lower household incomes, and lower
cost of living than the rest of the United States. These factors,
combined with the fact that Southerners have continued to maintain
strong loyalty to family ties, has led some sociologists to label
white Southerners an ethnic or quasi-ethnic group, though this
interpretation has been subject to criticism on the grounds that
proponents of the view do not satisfactorily indicate how Southerners
meet the criteria of ethnicity.
The predominant culture of the South has its origins with the
settlement of the region by large groups of Northern English , Scots
lowlanders and Ulster-Scots (later called the Scotch-Irish ) who
Appalachia and the Piedmont in the 18th century, and from
parts of southern England such as
East Anglia ,
Kent and the West
Country in the 17th century, and the many African slaves who were
part of the Southern economy. African-American descendants of the
slaves brought into the South compose the United States'
second-largest racial minority, accounting for 12.1 percent of the
total population according to the 2000 census. Despite Jim Crow era
outflow to the North , the majority of the black population remains
concentrated in the Southern states, and has heavily contributed to
the cultural blend (Christianity, foods, art, music (see spiritual ,
blues , jazz and rock and roll )) that characterize Southern culture
In previous censuses, the largest ancestry group identified by
Southerners was English or mostly English, with 19,618,370
self-reporting "English" as an ancestry on the 1980 census, followed
by 12,709,872 listing "Irish " and 11,054,127 "Afro-American ".
Almost a third of all
Americans who claim English ancestry can be
found in the American South, and over a quarter of all Southerners
claim English descent as well. The South also continues to have the
highest percentage of
African Americans in the country, due to the
history of slavery.
The South has been a stronghold of evangelical
Although the upper class In
South Carolina was Anglican ,
First Great Awakening and the
Second Great Awakening
Second Great Awakening from about
1742 about 1850 generated large numbers of Methodists and Baptists.
By 1900, the
Southern Baptist Convention had become numerically
largest group, especially in rural areas and remain so. followed by
Methodists , with other denominations found throughout the region.
Roman Catholics historically were concentrated in Maryland, Louisiana,
and Hispanic areas such as South
Texas and South
Florida and along the
Gulf Coast. The great majority of black Southerners are Baptist or
Methodist. Statistics show that Southern states have the highest
religious attendance figures of any region in the United States.
Pentecostalism has been strong across the South since the late 19th
American football, especially at the college and high school level,
is by far the most popular team sport in most areas of the Southern
The region is home to numerous decorated and historic college
football programs, particularly in the
Southeastern Conference (known
as the "SEC"),
Atlantic Coast Conference (known as the "ACC"), and the
Big 12 Conference . The SEC, consisting entirely of teams based in
Southern states, is widely considered to be the strongest league in
contemporary college football and includes the
Alabama Crimson Tide ,
the program with the most national championships in the sport's
history. The sport is also highly competitive and has a spectator
following at the high school level , particularly in rural areas where
high school football games often serve as prominent community
Though not as popular on a wider basis as the collegiate game,
professional football also has a growing tradition in the Southern
United States. Before league expansion began in the 1960s, the only
established professional team based in the South was the Washington
Redskins , who still retain a large following in many pockets of the
region. Later on, the merger-era
National Football League began to
expand into the football-crazed
Deep South in the 1960s with
franchises like the
Atlanta Falcons ,
New Orleans Saints , Houston
Miami Dolphins , and most prominently the
Dallas Cowboys ,
who overtook Washington as the region's most popular team and
eventually became widely considered the most popular team in the
United States. In later decades, NFL expansion into Southern states
continued, with the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers ,
Jacksonville Jaguars , and
Carolina Panthers added to the league, while the
Houston Oilers were
replaced by the
Houston Texans after the Oilers relocated to Nashville
to become the
Tennessee Titans .
Texas in American
football for the 2010
BCS National Championship Game
Texas face-off during the Lone Star Series
American League West division of
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
The Southern states are commonly associated with stock car racing and
its most prominent competition
NASCAR , which is based in Charlotte,
North Carolina . The sport was developed in the
Deep South in the
early 20th century, with stock car racing's historic mecca being
Florida , where cars initially raced on the wide, flat
beachfront before the construction of
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway .
Though the sport has attained a following throughout the United
States, a majority of
NASCAR races continue to take place at Southern
Basketball is very popular throughout the Southern
United States as
both a recreational and spectator sport, particularly in the states of
North Carolina and
Kentucky which are home to several historically
prominent college basketball programs. Prominent NBA teams based in
the South include the
Houston Rockets ,
San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma
City Thunder ,
Dallas Mavericks ,
Washington Wizards , Charlotte
Atlanta Hawks ,
Orlando Magic ,
Memphis Grizzlies , New
Orleans Pelicans , and the
Miami Heat .
Golf is a popular recreational sport in most areas of the South, with
the region's warm climate allowing it to host many professional
tournaments and numerous destination golf resorts, particularly in the
Florida . The region is home to
The Masters , an elite
invitational competition played at Augusta National
Golf Club in
Augusta, Georgia , which has become one of the professional game's
most important tournaments.
In recent decades association football , known in the South as in the
rest of the
United States as "soccer", has become a popular sport at
youth and collegiate levels throughout the region. The game has been
historically widespread at the college level in the Atlantic coast
states of Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas, which contain many of
the nation's most successful college soccer programs.
The establishment of
Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer has led to professional
soccer clubs in the Southern cities including FC
Dallas , Houston
Dynamo , Orlando City , and
Atlanta United . The current United States
third division soccer league, the
United Soccer League , was initially
geographically based in the coastal Southeast around clubs in
Charleston, Richmond, Charlotte, Wilmington, Raleigh,
Nine Southern states have obesity rates exceeding thirty percent of
the population, the highest in the country: Mississippi, Louisiana,
West Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky,
and Texas. Rates for hypertension and diabetes for these states are
also the highest in the nation. A study reported that six Southern
states have the worst incidence of sleep disturbances in the nation,
attributing the disturbances to high rates of obesity and smoking.
The South has a higher percentage of obese people and diabetics. It
has the largest number of people dying from stroke. The South has the
highest rates of cognitive decline . Life expectancy is lower and
death rates higher in the South than in the other regions of the
country for all racial groups. This disparity reflects substantial
divergence between the South and other regions since the middle of the
The East South Central Census Division of the
United States (made up
of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama) had the highest rate
of inpatient hospital stays in 2012. The other divisions, West South
Central (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana) and South Atlantic
(West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Georgia, and Florida) ranked seventh and fifth,
respectively. The South had a significantly higher rate of hospital
discharges in 2005 than other regions of the United States, but the
rate had declined to be closer to the overall national rate by 2011.
For cancer in a region, the South, particularly an axis from West
Virginia through Texas, leads the nation in adult obesity, adult
smoking, low exercise, low fruit consumption, low vegetable
consumption, all known cancer risk factors, which matches a similar
high risk axis in "All Cancers Combined, Death Rates by State, 2011"
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Main article: Politics of the Southern
United States While this
Confederate Flag pattern is the one most often thought of as the
Confederate Flag today, it was actually just one of many used by the
Confederate armed forces. Variations of this design served as the
Battle Flag of the Armies of Northern
Virginia and Tennessee, and as
the Confederate Naval Jack, albeit with different shades. A
rally against school integration in 1959.
In the first decades after Reconstruction, when white Democrats
regained power in the state legislatures, they began to make voter
registration more complicated, to reduce black voting. With a
combination of intimidation, fraud and violence by paramilitary
groups, they suppressed black voting and turned Republicans out of
office. From 1890 to 1908, ten of eleven states ratified new
constitutions or amendments that effectively disenfranchised most
black voters and many poor white voters. This disfranchisement
persisted for six decades into the 20th century, depriving blacks and
poor whites of all political representation. Because they could not
vote, they could not sit on juries. They had no one to represent their
interests, resulting in state legislatures consistently underfunding
programs and services, such as schools, for blacks and poor whites.
With the collapse of the Republican Party in nearly all parts of the
South, the region became known as the “
Solid South ”, and the
Democratic Party after 1900 moved to a system of primaries to select
their candidates. Victory in a primary was tantamount to election .
From the late 1870s to the 1960s, only rarely was a state or national
Southern politician a Republican, apart from a few Appalachian
mountain districts. Republicans, however, continued to control parts
Appalachian Mountains and compete for power in the Border
States. Apart from a few states (such as the Byrd Machine in Virginia,
the Crump Machine in Memphis), and a few other local organizations,
the Democratic Party itself was very lightly organized. It managed
primaries but party officials had little other role. To be successful
a politician built his own network of friends, neighbors and allies.
Reelection was the norm, and the result from 1910 to the late 20th
century was that
Southern Democrats in Congress had accumulated
seniority, and automatically took the chairmanships of all committees.
By the 1940s the Supreme Court began to find disfranchisement
measures like the “grandfather clause” and the white primary
unconstitutional. Southern legislatures quickly passed other measures
to keep blacks disfranchised, even after suffrage was extended more
widely to poor whites. Because white Democrats controlled all the
Southern seats in Congress they had outsize power in Congress and
could sidetrack or filibuster efforts by Northerners to pass
legislation against lynching, for example.
Increasing support for civil rights legislation by the national
Democratic Party beginning in 1948 caused segregationist Southern
Democrats to nominate
Strom Thurmond on a third-party “Dixiecrat”
ticket in 1948. These Dixiecrats returned to the party by 1950, but
Southern Democrats held off Republican inroads in the suburbs by
arguing that only they could defend the region from the onslaught of
northern liberals and the civil rights movement . In response to the
Brown v. Board of Education _ ruling of 1954, 101 Southern
congressmen (19 senators, 82 House members of which 99 were Southern
Democrats and 2 were Republicans) in 1956 denounced the Brown
decisions as a "clear abuse of judicial power climaxes a trend in the
federal judiciary undertaking to legislate in derogation of the
authority of Congress and to encroach upon the reserved rights of the
states and the people." The manifesto lauded, “...those states which
have declared the intention to resist enforced integration by any
lawful means”. It was signed by all Southern senators except
Lyndon B. Johnson , and
Tennessee senators Albert
Gore, Sr. and
Estes Kefauver .
Virginia closed schools in Warren
County , Prince Edward County , Charlottesville , and Norfolk rather
than integrate, but no other state followed suit. Democratic governors
Orval Faubus of Arkansas,
Ross Barnett of Mississippi, John Connally
Lester Maddox of Georgia, and, especially,
George Wallace of
Alabama resisted integration and appealed to a rural and blue-collar
electorate. US president
Lyndon B. Johnson signs the historic
Civil Rights Act of 1964 .
The northern Democrats’ support of civil rights issues culminated
when Democratic President
Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 and the
Voting Rights Act of 1965 , which ended
legal segregation and provided federal enforcement of voting rights
for blacks. In the presidential election of 1964 , Barry Goldwater
’s only electoral victories outside his home state of
in the states of the
Deep South where few blacks could vote before the
1965 Voting Rights Act.
Pockets of resistance to integration in public places broke out in
violence during the 1960s by the shadowy
Ku Klux Klan , which caused a
backlash among moderates. Major resistance to school busing extending
into the 1970s.
National Republicans such as
Richard Nixon began to develop their
Southern strategy to attract conservative white Southerners,
especially the middle class and suburban voters, in addition to
migrants from the North and traditional GOP pockets in Appalachia. The
transition to a Republican stronghold in the South took decades.
First, the states started voting Republican in presidential elections,
except for native sons
Jimmy Carter in 1976 and
Bill Clinton in 1992
and 1996. Then the states began electing Republican senators and
finally governors. Georgia was the last state to do so, with Sonny
Perdue taking the governorship in 2002. In addition to its middle
class and business base, Republicans cultivated the religious right
and attracted strong majorities from the evangelical or Fundamentalist
vote, mostly Southern Baptists, which had not been a distinct
political force prior to 1980.
After the 2012 elections, the eleven states of the former Confederacy
were represented by 98 Republicans, 40 Democrats.
PRESIDENTS FROM THE SOUTH
The South produced nine of the first twelve Presidents prior to the
Civil War. For more than a century after the Civil War, no politician
from an antebellum slave state became President unless he either moved
Woodrow Wilson ) or was vice president when the president
died in office (like
Andrew Johnson ,
Harry Truman and Lyndon B.
Johnson ). In 1976,
Jimmy Carter defied this trend and became the
first Southerner to break the pattern since
Zachary Taylor in 1848.
The South has produced five of the last nine American Presidents:
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963–69),
Jimmy Carter (1977–81), George H. W.
Bill Clinton (1993–2001) and George W. Bush
(2001–2009). Johnson was a native of Texas, while Carter is from
Georgia, and Clinton from Arkansas. While George H.W. and George W.
Bush began their political careers in Texas, they were both born in
New England and have their ancestral roots in the region.
OTHER POLITICIANS AND POLITICAL MOVEMENTS
Bill Clinton , newly elected Governor of
Arkansas speaks with
Jimmy Carter in 1978. Carter and Clinton were both Southern Democrats
and elected to the presidencies in 1976 and 1992 .
The South has produced various nationally known politicians and
political movements. In 1948, a group of Democratic congressmen, led
Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, split from the Democrats
in reaction to an anti-segregation speech given by
and future senator
Hubert Humphrey of
Minnesota . They founded the
States Rights Democratic or
Dixiecrat Party. During that year’s
Presidential election, the party ran Thurmond as its candidate and he
Deep South states.
In the 1968 Presidential election ,
Alabama Governor George C.
Wallace ran for President on the
American Independent Party ticket.
Wallace ran a “law and order” campaign similar to that of
Richard Nixon . Nixon’s
Southern Strategy of
gaining electoral votes downplayed race issues and focused on
culturally conservative values, such as family issues, patriotism, and
cultural issues that appealed to
Southern Baptists .
In the 1994 mid-term elections , another Southern politician, Newt
Gingrich , led the
Republican Revolution , ushering in twelve years of
GOP control of the House. Gingrich became Speaker of the United States
House of Representatives in 1995 and served until his resignation in
Tom DeLay was the most powerful Republican leader in Congress
until he was indicted under criminal charges in 2005 and was forced to
step aside by Republican rules. Apart from Bob Dole of Kansas
(1985–96), the recent Republican Senate leaders have been
Howard Baker (1981–85) of Tennessee, Trent Lott
(1996–2003) of Mississippi,
Bill Frist (2003–2006) of Tennessee,
Mitch McConnell (2007–present) of Kentucky.
The Republicans candidates for President have won the South in
elections since 1972 , except for 1976 . However, the region is not
entirely monolithic, and every successful Democratic candidate since
1976 has claimed at least three Southern states.
Barack Obama won
Florida, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, and
Virginia in 2008 but
did not repeat his victory in
North Carolina during his 2012
Main article: Racism in the
Americans had lived in the south for nearly 12,000 years. They
were defeated by settlers in a series of wars ending in the War of
1812 and the
Seminole Wars , and most were removed west to Indian
Oklahoma and Kansas). However large numbers of Native
Americans managed to stay behind by blending into the surrounding
society. This was especially true of the wives of Euro-American
merchants and miners.
Racial segregation was commonplace in the South until the 1960s.
The South witnessed two major events in the lives of 20th century
African Americans: the Great Migration and the American Civil Rights
The Great Migration began during World War I, hitting its high point
during World War II. During this migration, blacks left the South to
find work in Northern factories and other sectors of the economy.
The migration also empowered the growing Civil Rights Movement. While
the movement existed in all parts of the United States, its focus was
against disfranchisement and the
Jim Crow laws in the South. Most of
the major events in the movement occurred in the South, including the
Montgomery Bus Boycott , the
Freedom Summer , the March on
Alabama , and the assassination of
Martin Luther King, Jr. . In
addition, some of the most important writings to come out of the
movement were written in the South, such as King's "Letter from
Birmingham Jail ". Most of the civil rights landmarks can be found
around the South. The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site
Atlanta includes a museum that chronicles the American Civil Rights
Movement as well as Martin Luther King, Jr.'s boyhood home on Auburn
Avenue. Additionally, Ebenezer Baptist Church is located in the Sweet
Auburn district as is the King Center, location of Martin Luther and
Coretta Scott King's gravesites.
Civil Rights Movement ended
Jim Crow laws across the South. A
second migration appears to be underway, with
African Americans from
the North moving to the South in record numbers. While race relations
are still a contentious issue in the South, the region surpasses the
rest of the country in many areas of integration and racial equality.
According to 2003 report by researchers at the University of
Virginia Beach , Charlotte ,
Nashville-Davidson , and Jacksonville were the four most integrated of
the nation's fifty largest cities, with Memphis at number six.
Southern states tend to have a low disparity in incarceration rates
between blacks and whites relative to the rest of the country.
Some Southerners use the
Confederate flag to identify themselves with
the South, states' rights and Southern tradition. Groups, such as the
League of the South , have a high regard for the secession movement of
1860, citing a desire to protect and defend Southern heritage.
Numerous political battles have erupted over flying the Confederate
flag over state capitols, and the naming of public buildings or
highways after Confederate leaders, the prominence of certain statues,
and the everyday display of Confederate insignia.
Other symbols of the South include the
Bonnie Blue Flag , magnolia
trees, and the song "
The South was heavily rural as late as the 1940s, but now the
population is increasingly concentrated in metropolitan areas. The
following tables show the twenty largest cities, metropolitan, and
combined statistical areas in the South.
Houston is the largest city
in the South.
Houston San Antonio
Austin Jacksonville Fort Worth Charlotte
El Paso Washington D.C.
MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREAS
METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREA
Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land
Washington metropolitan area
VA –MD -WV -DC
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach
San Antonio-New Braunfels
OH -IN -KY
Austin–Round Rock-San Marcos
Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News
TN –MS –AR
Louisville–Jefferson County *
* Asterisk indicates part of the metropolitan area is outside the
states classified as Southern.
MAJOR COMBINED STATISTICAL AREAS
COMBINED STATISTICAL AREA
DC -MD -VA -WV -PA
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie
Atlanta-Athens-Clarke County-Sandy Springs
OH -KY -IN
TN –MS -AR
Black Belt (U.S. region)
* Cuisine of the Southern
Culture of honor (Southern United States)
* List of plantations in the
Southern American English
* Territories of the
United States on stamps
* White Southerner Admixture
United States portal
* ^ _A_ _B_ "Census Regions and Divisions of the United States"
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