Southern United States

Southern United States

Overview
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie
Dixie
Dixie is a nickname for the Southern United States.- Origin of the name :According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origins of this nickname remain obscure. According to A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles , by Mitford M...

, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area
Area
Area is a quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional surface or shape in the plane. Area can be understood as the amount of material with a given thickness that would be necessary to fashion a model of the shape, or the amount of paint necessary to cover the surface with a single coat...

 in the southeastern
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 and south-central
South Central United States
The South Central United States or South Central states is a region of the United States located in the south central part of the country. It evolved out of the archaic southwest, which originally was literally the western U.S. South...

 United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The region is known for its distinct culture and history, having developed its own customs, literature, musical styles, and varied cuisines
Cuisine of the Southern United States
The cuisine of the Southern United States is defined as the historical regional culinary form of states generally south of the Mason Dixon Line dividing Pennsylvania from Maryland and Delaware as well as along the Ohio River, and extending west to Southern Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.The most...

 that have helped distinguish itself from the rest of the United States. The South owes its unique heritage to a variety of sources, including Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, early European settlements of Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

, English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

, French
French American
French Americans or Franco-Americans are Americans of French or French Canadian descent. About 11.8 million U.S. residents are of this descent, and about 1.6 million speak French at home.An additional 450,000 U.S...

, Scots-Irish, Scottish
Scottish American
Scottish Americans or Scots Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in Scotland. Scottish Americans are closely related to Scots-Irish Americans, descendants of Ulster Scots, and communities emphasize and celebrate a common heritage...

, and German, importation of hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans, historic dependence on slave labor, presence of a large proportion of African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

s in the population, and the aftermath of the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 after the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

.

Historically, the South has relied heavily on agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

.
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Encyclopedia
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie
Dixie
Dixie is a nickname for the Southern United States.- Origin of the name :According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origins of this nickname remain obscure. According to A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles , by Mitford M...

, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area
Area
Area is a quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional surface or shape in the plane. Area can be understood as the amount of material with a given thickness that would be necessary to fashion a model of the shape, or the amount of paint necessary to cover the surface with a single coat...

 in the southeastern
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 and south-central
South Central United States
The South Central United States or South Central states is a region of the United States located in the south central part of the country. It evolved out of the archaic southwest, which originally was literally the western U.S. South...

 United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The region is known for its distinct culture and history, having developed its own customs, literature, musical styles, and varied cuisines
Cuisine of the Southern United States
The cuisine of the Southern United States is defined as the historical regional culinary form of states generally south of the Mason Dixon Line dividing Pennsylvania from Maryland and Delaware as well as along the Ohio River, and extending west to Southern Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.The most...

 that have helped distinguish itself from the rest of the United States. The South owes its unique heritage to a variety of sources, including Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, early European settlements of Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

, English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

, French
French American
French Americans or Franco-Americans are Americans of French or French Canadian descent. About 11.8 million U.S. residents are of this descent, and about 1.6 million speak French at home.An additional 450,000 U.S...

, Scots-Irish, Scottish
Scottish American
Scottish Americans or Scots Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in Scotland. Scottish Americans are closely related to Scots-Irish Americans, descendants of Ulster Scots, and communities emphasize and celebrate a common heritage...

, and German, importation of hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans, historic dependence on slave labor, presence of a large proportion of African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

s in the population, and the aftermath of the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 after the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

.

Historically, the South has relied heavily on agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

. However, in the last few decades of the 20th century, the region has become more industrialized and urban
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

, attracting numerous national and international migrants. The American South is among the fastest-growing areas in the United States. Despite rapid economic growth, the South still has persistent poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

, and every Southern state with the exceptions of Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 and Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 has a higher poverty rate than the American average. Poverty is especially prevalent in rural areas. Sociological research has indicated that Southern collective identity stems from political, demographic and cultural distinctiveness. Studies have shown that Southerners are more conservative than non-Southerners in several areas including religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

, international relations
International relations
International relations is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations , international nongovernmental organizations , non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations...

 and race relations. This is especially evident during presidential elections and in religious attendance
Religion in the United States
Religion in the United States is characterized by both a wide diversity in religious beliefs and practices, and by a high adherence level. According to recent surveys, 83 percent of Americans claim to belong to a religious denomination, 40 percent claim to attend services nearly every week or...

 figures.

In the 21st century, the South remains demographically distinct with higher percentages of blacks. Demographically, the South has lower percentages of high school graduates, lower housing values, lower household incomes and higher percentages of people in poverty. These factors, combined with the fact that Southerners continue to maintain strong loyalty to family ties, has led some sociologists to label white Southerners a "quasi-ethnic regional group." In previous censuses, the largest ancestry group identified by Southerners was English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

 or mostly English, with 19,618,370 self-reporting "English" as an ancestry on the 1980 census, followed by 12,709,872 listing "Irish
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

" and 11,054,127 "Afro-American".

Apart from the still-distinctive climate, the living experience in the South increasingly resembles the rest of the nation. The arrival of millions of Northerners (especially in the suburbs and coastal areas) and millions of Hispanics means 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 "Southernization
Southernization (U.S.)
The idea of Southernization came from the observation that "Southern" values and beliefs were becoming more central to political success, reaching an apogee in the 1990s, with a Democratic president and vice-president from the South and Congressional leaders in both parties being from the South...

".

Geography


The question of how to define the subregions in the South has been the focus of research for nearly a century.

As defined by the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the Southern region
Region
Region is most commonly found as a term used in terrestrial and astrophysics sciences also an area, notably among the different sub-disciplines of geography, studied by regional geographers. Regions consist of subregions that contain clusters of like areas that are distinctive by their uniformity...

 of the 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 units, or divisions:
  • The South Atlantic States
    South Atlantic States
    The South Atlantic United States form one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions within the United States that are recognized by the United States Census Bureau....

    :
    Florida
    Florida
    Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

    , Georgia
    Georgia (U.S. state)
    Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

    , Maryland
    Maryland
    Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

    , North Carolina
    North Carolina
    North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

    , South Carolina
    South Carolina
    South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

    , Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

    , West Virginia
    West Virginia
    West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

    , and Delaware
    Delaware
    Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

  • The East South Central States
    East South Central States
    The East South Central States constitute one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions of the United States.Four states make up the division: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee...

    :
    Alabama
    Alabama
    Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

    , Kentucky
    Kentucky
    The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

    , Mississippi
    Mississippi
    Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

     and Tennessee
    Tennessee
    Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

  • The West South Central States
    West South Central States
    The West South Central States form one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions of the United States that are officially designated by the United States Census Bureau.Four states compose the division: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas...

    :
    Arkansas
    Arkansas
    Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

    , Louisiana
    Louisiana
    Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

    , Oklahoma
    Oklahoma
    Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

    , and Texas
    Texas
    Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...



Other terms related to the South include:
  • The Old South
    Old South
    Geographically, Old South is a subregion of the American South, differentiated from the "Deep South" as being the Southern States represented in the original thirteen American colonies, as well as a way of describing the former lifestyle in the Southern United States. Culturally, the term can be...

    :
    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
    New South
    New South, New South Democracy or New South Creed is a phrase that has been used intermittently since the American Civil War to describe the American South, after 1877. The term "New South" is used in contrast to the Old South of the plantation system of the antebellum period.The term has been used...

    :
    usually including the South Atlantic States
    South Atlantic States
    The South Atlantic United States form one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions within the United States that are recognized by the United States Census Bureau....

    .
  • The Solid South
    Solid South
    Solid South is the electoral support of the Southern United States for the Democratic Party candidates for nearly a century from 1877, the end of Reconstruction, to 1964, during the middle of the Civil Rights era....

    :
    region controlled by the Democratic Party from 1877 to 1964. Includes at least all the 11 former Confederate States.
  • Southern Appalachia
    Appalachia
    Appalachia is a term used to describe a cultural region in the eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York state to northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. While the Appalachian Mountains stretch from Belle Isle in Canada to Cheaha Mountain in the U.S...

    :
    mainly refers to areas situated in the Southern Appalachian Mountains
    Appalachian Mountains
    The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

    , namely Eastern Kentucky
    Eastern Mountain Coal Fields
    The Eastern Mountain Coal Fields is part of the Central Appalachian bituminous coal field, covering all or parts of 30 Kentucky counties and adjoining areas in Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee. It covers an area from the Allegheny Mountains in the east across the Cumberland Plateau and...

    , East Tennessee
    East Tennessee
    East Tennessee is a name given to approximately the eastern third of the U.S. state of Tennessee, one of the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee defined in state law. East Tennessee consists of 33 counties, 30 located within the Eastern Time Zone and three counties in the Central Time Zone, namely...

    , Western North Carolina
    Western North Carolina
    Western North Carolina is the region of North Carolina which includes the Appalachian Mountains, thus it is often known geographically as the state's Mountain Region. It is sometimes included with upstate South Carolina as the "Western Carolinas", which is also counted as a single media market...

    , Western Maryland
    Western Maryland
    Western Maryland is the portion of the U.S. state of Maryland that consists of Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties. The region is bounded by the Mason-Dixon line to the north, Preston County, West Virginia to the west, and the Potomac River to the south. There is dispute over the...

    , West Virginia
    West Virginia
    West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

    , Southwest Virginia
    Southwest Virginia
    Southwest Virginia, often abbreviated as SWVA, is a mountainous region of Virginia in the westernmost part of the commonwealth. Southwest Virginia has been defined alternatively as all Virginia counties on the Appalachian Plateau, all Virginia counties west of the Eastern Continental Divide, or...

    , North Georgia
    North Georgia
    North Georgia is the hilly to mountainous northern region of the U.S. state of Georgia. At the time of the arrival of settlers from Europe, it was inhabited largely by the Cherokee. The counties of North Georgia were often scenes of important events in the history of Georgia...

    , and Northwestern South Carolina.
  • Southeastern United States
    Southeastern United States
    The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

    :
    usually including the Carolinas
    The Carolinas
    The Carolinas is a term used in the United States to refer collectively to the states of North and South Carolina. Together, the two states + have a population of 13,942,126. "Carolina" would be the fifth most populous state behind California, Texas, New York, and Florida...

    , Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

    , Tennessee
    Tennessee
    Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

    , Kentucky
    Kentucky
    The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

    , West Virginia
    West Virginia
    West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

    , Georgia
    Georgia (U.S. state)
    Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

    , Alabama
    Alabama
    Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

    , Mississippi
    Mississippi
    Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

    , Florida
    Florida
    Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

     and at times Maryland
    Maryland
    Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

  • The Deep South
    Deep South
    The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

    :
    various definitions, usually including Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. Occasionally, parts of adjoining states are included (sections of East Texas, delta areas of Arkansas and Tennessee, and parts of Florida such as the Panhandle
    Florida Panhandle
    The Florida Panhandle, an informal, unofficial term for the northwestern part of Florida, is a strip of land roughly 200 miles long and 50 to 100 miles wide , lying between Alabama on the north and the west, Georgia also on the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Its eastern boundary is...

     and the north-central part of the state).
  • The Gulf South
    Gulf Coast of the United States
    The Gulf Coast of the United States, sometimes referred to as the Gulf South, South Coast, or 3rd Coast, comprises the coasts of American states that are on the Gulf of Mexico, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and are known as the Gulf States...

    :
    various definitions, usually including Gulf coasts of Florida
    Florida
    Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

    , Louisiana
    Louisiana
    Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

    , Mississippi
    Mississippi
    Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

    , Texas
    Texas
    Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

     and Alabama
    Alabama
    Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

    .
  • The Upper South
    Upland South
    The terms Upper South and Upland South refer to the northern part of the Southern United States, in contrast to the Lower South or Deep South.-Geography:There is a slight difference in usage between the two terms...

    :
    Kentucky
    Kentucky
    The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

    , Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

    , West Virginia
    West Virginia
    West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

    , Maryland
    Maryland
    Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

    , Tennessee
    Tennessee
    Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

    , and North Carolina
    North Carolina
    North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

    .
  • Dixie
    Dixie
    Dixie is a nickname for the Southern United States.- Origin of the name :According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origins of this nickname remain obscure. According to A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles , by Mitford M...

    :
    various definitions, but most commonly associated with the 11 states of the Old Confederacy.
  • The Mid-South: defined by the Census as the South Central United States
    South Central United States
    The South Central United States or South Central states is a region of the United States located in the south central part of the country. It evolved out of the archaic southwest, which originally was literally the western U.S. South...

    ; in another informal definition, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and sometimes adjoining areas of other states.
  • Border South: Missouri
    Missouri
    Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

    , Kentucky
    Kentucky
    The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

    , Maryland
    Maryland
    Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

    , and Delaware
    Delaware
    Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

     were states on the outer rim of the Confederacy that did not secede from the United States, but did have significant numbers of residents who joined the Confederate armed forces. Kentucky and Missouri had Confederate governments in exile and were represented in the Confederate Congress and by the Confederate battle flag. West Virginia
    West Virginia
    West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

     formed in 1863 after the western region broke away from Virginia, though support for the Confederacy and the Union in the new state was about evenly divided.


The popular definition of the "South" is more informal and generally associated with the eleven states that seceded during the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 to form the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

. Those states share commonalities of history and culture that carry on to the present day. Oklahoma is often included; it was not a state, but all its major Indian tribes signed formal treaties of alliance with the Confederacy.

The South is a diverse meteorological region with numerous climatic zones, including temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

, sub-tropical
Subtropics
The subtropics are the geographical and climatical zone of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S...

, tropical
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

, and arid
Arid
A region is said to be arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or even preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life...

--though the South is generally regarded 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
Humid subtropical climate
A humid subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters...

 zone. Crops grow easily in the South; its climate consistently provides growing seasons of at least six months before the first frost. Landscapes, particularly in the Southeast, are characterized by live oak
Live oak
Live oak , also known as the southern live oak, is a normally evergreen oak tree native to the southeastern United States...

s, magnolia
Magnolia
Magnolia is a large genus of about 210 flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae. It is named after French botanist Pierre Magnol....

 trees, yellow jessamine vines, Spanish moss
Spanish Moss
Spanish moss is a flowering plant that grows upon larger trees, commonly the Southern Live Oak or Bald Cypress in the southeastern United States....

, cabbage palms
Sabal palmetto
Sabal palmetto, also known as cabbage palm, palmetto, cabbage palmetto, palmetto palm, blue palmetto, Carolina palmetto, common palmetto, swamp cabbage and sabal palm, is one of 15 species of palmetto palm . It is native to the southeastern United States, Cuba, and the Bahamas...

 and flowering dogwood
Dogwood
The genus Cornus is a group of about 30-60 species of woody plants in the family Cornaceae, commonly known as dogwoods. Most dogwoods are deciduous trees or shrubs, but a few species are nearly herbaceous perennial subshrubs, and a few of the woody species are evergreen...

s. Another common environment is found in the bayou
Bayou
A bayou is an American term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying areas, and can refer either to an extremely slow-moving stream or river , or to a marshy lake or wetland. The name "bayou" can also refer to creeks that see level changes due to tides and hold brackish water which...

s and swamplands of the Gulf Coast
Gulf Coast of the United States
The Gulf Coast of the United States, sometimes referred to as the Gulf South, South Coast, or 3rd Coast, comprises the coasts of American states that are on the Gulf of Mexico, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and are known as the Gulf States...

, especially in Louisiana and Texas. Parts of the rural South have been overrun by Kudzu
Kudzu
Kudzu is a plant in the genus Pueraria in the pea family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. It is a climbing, coiling, and trailing vine native to southern Japan and southeast China. Its name comes from the Japanese name for the plant, . It is a weed that climbs over trees or shrubs and grows so...

, an invasive, fast-growing, leafy vine that can spread over trees, land, roads, and buildings, choking and killing indigenous plants. Kudzu is a particularly big problem in the Piedmont regions of South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

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 Paleo-Indians. Paleoindians were hunter-gathers that roamed in bands and frequently hunted megafauna
Megafauna
In terrestrial zoology, megafauna are "giant", "very large" or "large" animals. The most common thresholds used are or...

. 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
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

.

The Mississippian culture was a complex, mound-building Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 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 decline, included Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez was a Spanish conqueror and soldier in the Americas. He is most remembered as the leader of two expeditions, one to Mexico in 1520 to oppose Hernán Cortés, and the disastrous Narváez expedition to Florida in 1527....

 (1528), Hernando de Soto (1540), and Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville
Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville
Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville pronounced as described in note] Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville pronounced as described in note] Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville pronounced as described in note] (16 July 1661 – 9 July 1702 (probable)was a soldier, ship captain, explorer, colonial administrator, knight of...

 (1699).

Native American descendants of the mound-builders include Alabama
Alabama (people)
The Alabama or Alibamu are a Southeastern culture people of Native Americans, originally from Mississippi...

, Apalachee
Apalachee
The Apalachee are a Native American people who historically lived in the Florida Panhandle, and now live primarily in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Their historical territory was known to the Spanish colonists as the Apalachee Province...

, Caddo
Caddo
The Caddo Nation is a confederacy of several Southeastern Native American tribes, who traditionally inhabited much of what is now East Texas, northern Louisiana and portions of southern Arkansas and Oklahoma. Today the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma is a cohesive tribe with its capital at Binger, Oklahoma...

, Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

, Chickasaw
Chickasaw
The Chickasaw are Native American people originally from the region that would become the Southeastern United States...

, Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

, Creek, Guale
Guale
Guale was an historic Native American chiefdom along the coast of present-day Georgia and the Sea Islands. Spanish Florida established its Roman Catholic missionary system in the chiefdom in the late 16th century. During the late 17th century and early 18th century, Guale society was shattered...

, Hitchiti
Hitchiti
The Hitchiti were a Muskogean-speaking tribe formerly residing chiefly in a town of the same name on the east bank of the Chattahoochee River, 4 miles below Chiaha, in west Georgia. They spoke the Hitchiti language, which was mutually intelligible with Mikasuki; both tribes were part of the loose...

, Houma
Houma Tribe
The Houma people are a Native America tribe. They belong to the United Houma Nation, a state recognized tribe in Louisiana. They primarily live in East and West Feliciana, and Pointe Coupee Parishes, about 100 miles north of the town of Houma named for them, west of the mouth of the Mississippi...

, and Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

 peoples, many of whom still reside in the South.

European colonization


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
British colonization of the Americas
British colonization of the Americas began in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia and reached its peak when colonies had been established throughout the Americas...

. In the 17th century, most voluntary immigrants were of English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 origins who settled chiefly along the coastal regions of the Eastern seaboard but had pushed as far inland as the Appalachian mountains by the 18th century. The majority of early British settlers were indentured servant
Indentured servant
Indentured servitude refers to the historical practice of contracting to work for a fixed period of time, typically three to seven years, in exchange for transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities during the term of indenture. Usually the father made the arrangements and signed...

s, 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 settlement.

The Spanish and French established colonies in Florida
Spanish Florida
Spanish Florida refers to the Spanish territory of Florida, which formed part of the Captaincy General of Cuba, the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and the Spanish Empire. Originally extending over what is now the southeastern United States, but with no defined boundaries, la Florida was a component of...

, Texas
Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas was one of the interior provinces of New Spain from 1690 until 1821. Although Spain claimed ownership of the territory, which comprised part of modern-day Texas, including the land north of the Medina and Nueces Rivers, the Spanish did not attempt to colonize the area until after...

 , and Louisiana
Louisiana (New France)
Louisiana or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control from 1682–1763 and 1800–03, the area was named in honor of Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle...

. 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 plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

s that dominated export agriculture and used black slaves. Many were involved in the labor-intensive cultivation of tobacco, the first cash crop of Virginia. Tobacco exhausted the soil quickly, requiring new fields to be cleared on a regular basis. Old fields were used as pasture and for crops such as corn and wheat, or allowed 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
Anglo-Scottish border
The Anglo-Scottish border is the official border and mark of entry between Scotland and England. It runs for 154 km between the River Tweed on the east coast and the Solway Firth in the west. It is Scotland's only land border...

 region immigrated and settled in the back country of Appalachia
Appalachia
Appalachia is a term used to describe a cultural region in the eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York state to northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. While the Appalachian Mountains stretch from Belle Isle in Canada to Cheaha Mountain in the U.S...

 and the Piedmont
Piedmont (United States)
The Piedmont is a plateau region located in the eastern United States between the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the main Appalachian Mountains, stretching from New Jersey in the north to central Alabama in the south. The Piedmont province is a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division...

. They were the largest group of non-English immigrants from the British Isles before the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

.. In the 1980 Census, a large plurality 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
Endemic warfare
Endemic warfare is the state of continual, low-threshold warfare in a tribal warrior society. Endemic warfare is often highly ritualized and plays an important function in assisting the formation of a social structure among the tribes' men by proving themselves in battle.Ritual fighting permits...

, trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

, and cultural exchanges. Those living in the backcountry were more likely to encounter Creek Indians, Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

, and Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

s and other regional native groups.

The oldest university in the South, The College of William & Mary, was founded in 1693 in Virginia; it pioneered in the teaching of political economy
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

 and educated future U.S. Presidents Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

 and Tyler
John Tyler
John Tyler was the tenth President of the United States . A native of Virginia, Tyler served as a state legislator, governor, U.S. representative, and U.S. senator before being elected Vice President . He was the first to succeed to the office of President following the death of a predecessor...

, all from Virginia. Indeed, the entire region dominated politics in the First Party System
First Party System
The First Party System is a model of American politics used by political scientists and historians to periodize the political party system existing in the United States between roughly 1792 and 1824. It featured two national parties competing for control of the presidency, Congress, and the states:...

 era: for example, four of the first five Presidents
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

, and Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

 — were from Virginia. The two oldest public universities are also in the South: the University of North Carolina
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States...

 (1789) and the University of Georgia
University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is a public research university located in Athens, Georgia, United States. Founded in 1785, it is the oldest and largest of the state's institutions of higher learning and is one of multiple schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States...

 (1785).

American Revolution



With Virginia in the lead, the southern colonies embraced the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, providing such leaders as commander in chief George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, and the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

.

In 1780-81, the British largely gave up 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. Many Loyalist did join the British, often switching sides once or twice, but not nearly enough to overcome the Americans. Led by Nathaniel Greene
Nathaniel Greene
Nathaniel Greene may refer to:*Nathanael Greene , American Revolutionary War general*Nathaniel Greene , American journalist...

 and other generals, the Americans engaged in Fabian tactics
Fabian strategy
The Fabian strategy is a military strategy where pitched battles and frontal assaults are avoided in favor of wearing down an opponent through a war of attrition and indirection. While avoiding decisive battles, the side employing this strategy harasses its enemy through skirmishes to cause...

 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
Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis
Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis KG , styled Viscount Brome between 1753 and 1762 and known as The Earl Cornwallis between 1762 and 1792, was a British Army officer and colonial administrator...

 realized his mission was hopeless, so he moved north to Virginia to await rescue by the British Navy. The British Navy did arrive, but so it too 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, Virginia
Yorktown, Virginia
Yorktown is a census-designated place in York County, Virginia, United States. The population was 220 in the 2000 census. It is the county seat of York County, one of the eight original shires formed in colonial Virginia in 1634....

 in October 1781, effectively winning 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. There was sharp decline between 1770 and 1790 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 often freed slaves by their wills, as did George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

. 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.

Antebellum years



Cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 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 most Native 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 African Americans 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
Nullification (U.S. Constitution)
Nullification is a legal theory that a State has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional...

, a procedure in which a state would in effect repeal a Federal law. Soon a naval flotilla was sent to Charleston
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

 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 decades.

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
Mexican–American War
The Mexican–American War, also known as the First American Intervention, the Mexican War, or the U.S.–Mexican War, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S...

, 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 most immigrants. Hugenots were among the first settlers in Charleston, along with the largest number of Hasidic Jews outside of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. Numerous Irish immigrants flooded New Orleans, so much so that one of the sections of the city became known as the Irish Channel. Germans also went to 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 Texas (especially 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.

Presidential history


The South produced nine of the first 12 U.S. Presidents prior to the Civil War. For more than a century after the Civil War, no Southerner became President unless he either moved North (like Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

) or was vice president when their president died in office (like Vice-Presidents Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

, Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

). In 1976, Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 defied this trend and became the first Southerner to break the pattern since Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass...

 in 1848. The South produced five of the last eight American Presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 (1963–69), Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 (1977–81), George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 (1989–93), Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 (1993–2001) and George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 (2001–2009). Carter was from Georgia, Clinton from Arkansas, while George H.W. and George W. Bush were from Texas, although born in New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

.

Civil War



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
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 before Lincoln was inaugurated. The United States government, both outgoing and incoming, refused to recognize the Confederacy, and when the new Confederate President Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

 ordered his troops to open fire on Fort Sumter
Battle of Fort Sumter
The Battle of Fort Sumter was the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina, that started the American Civil War. Following declarations of secession by seven Southern states, South Carolina demanded that the U.S. Army abandon its facilities in Charleston Harbor. On...

 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 the rebellion, 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.
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, capturing 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 rebel army under Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

 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 Antietam (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 North. The Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 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
Union Navy
The Union Navy is the label applied to the United States Navy during the American Civil War, to contrast it from its direct opponent, the Confederate States 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 was captured in April 1865. All the Confederate forces surrendered, and there was no insurgency as 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


After the Civil War, the South was devastated in terms of population, infrastructure
Infrastructure
Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

 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 disfranchised. 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 legistures, which persisted 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 freedpeople moved from plantation areas to cities or towns for a chance to get different jobs and out from under white control. 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 in the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta bottomlands and Texas.

With passage of the 13th Amendment
Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, passed by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On...

 to the Constitution of the United States (which outlawed slavery), the 14th Amendment
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

 (which granted full U.S. citizenship to African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

s) and the 15th amendment
Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude"...

 (which extended the right to vote to African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 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 was 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. Also, as is often the case in volatile environments, 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
Vigilante
A vigilante is a private individual who legally or illegally punishes an alleged lawbreaker, or participates in a group which metes out extralegal punishment to an alleged lawbreaker....

 organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

—an organization sworn to perpetuate white supremacy
White supremacy
White supremacy is the belief, and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior to people of other racial backgrounds. The term is sometimes used specifically to describe a political ideology that advocates the social and political dominance by whites.White supremacy, as with racial...

—had arisen quickly after the war's end and used lynching
Lynching
Lynching is an extrajudicial execution carried out by a mob, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting, in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate, control, or otherwise manipulate a population of people. It is related to other means of social control that...

, 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 white Southerners created increasing resistance to the altered social structure. Paramilitary organizations such as the White League
White League
The White League was a white paramilitary group started in 1874 that operated to turn Republicans out of office and intimidate freedmen from voting and political organizing. Its first chapter in Grant Parish, Louisiana was made up of many of the Confederate veterans who had participated in the...

 in Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 (1874), the Red Shirts in Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 (1875) and rifle clubs, all "White Line" organizations, used organized violence against Republicans, blacks and whites, to turn Republicans out of office, repress and bar black voting, and restore Democrats to power. In 1876 white Democrats regained power in most of the state legislatures. They began to pass laws designed to strip 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.

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
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 and Italian
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

 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 oth 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 1910–1940, 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, 10 of the 11 states passed disfranchising constitutions or amendments which had provisions for voter registration, such as poll tax
Poll tax
A poll tax is a tax of a portioned, fixed amount per individual in accordance with the census . When a corvée is commuted for cash payment, in effect it becomes a poll tax...

es, residency requirements and literacy test
Literacy test
A literacy test, in the context of United States political history, refers to the government practice of testing the literacy of potential citizens at the federal level, and potential voters at the state level. The federal government first employed literacy tests as part of the immigration process...

s, which were hard for many poor to meet. Most African Americans, Mexican Americans and tens of thousands of poor whites were disfranchised, losing the vote for decades. In some states grandfather clause
Grandfather clause
Grandfather clause is a legal term used to describe a situation in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations, while a new rule will apply to all future situations. It is often used as a verb: to grandfather means to grant such an exemption...

s were temporarily used to exempt white illiterates from literacy tests. The numbers of voters dropped drastically throughout the South as a result. This can be seen on 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. Legislatures passed Jim Crow laws
Jim Crow laws
The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans...

 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
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 decisions overturning such provisions were rapidly followed by new state laws with new devices to restrict voting. Most blacks in the South could not vote until 1965, after passage of the Voting Rights Act and Federal enforcement to ensure people could register. 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.

Late 19th and 20th century—industrialization and Great Migration


At the end of the 19th century, white Democrats in the South had created state constitutions that were hostile to industry and business development. Banking was limited, as was access to credit. States persisted in agricultural economies. As in Alabama, rural minorities held control in many state legislatures long after population had shifted to industrializing cities, and the legislators resisted business and modernizing interests. For instance, Alabama refused to redistrict from 1901 to 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 state in 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 100 strikes, chiefly interstate strikes of telegraphers and railway workers, occurred in the year 1886."

In 1890 Dallas was the largest city in Texas. 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 center of other manufacturing. As an example of its ambitions, in 1907 Dallas built the Praetorian Building, 15 stories tall and the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi. Others soon followed. 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 50,000 in population by 1920, with the major cities having three times that population.

Business interests were ignored by the Bourbon 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 Spindletop
Spindletop
Spindletop is a salt dome oil field located in the southern portion of Beaumont, Texas in the United States. The Spindletop dome was derived from the Louann Salt evaporite layer of the Jurassic geologic period. On January 10, 1901, a well at Spindletop struck oil . The new oil field soon produced...

 near Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont is a city in and county seat of Jefferson County, Texas, United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's population was 118,296 at the 2010 census. With Port Arthur and Orange, it forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the...

, on the morning of January 10, 1901. Other oil fields were later discovered nearby in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and under the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. The resulting "Oil Boom" permanently transformed the economy of the West/South Central states and led to the most significant economic expansion after the Civil War.

In the early 20th century, invasion of the boll weevil
Boll weevil
The boll weevil is a beetle measuring an average length of six millimeters, which feeds on cotton buds and flowers. Thought to be native to Central America, it migrated into the United States from Mexico in the late 19th century and had infested all U.S. cotton-growing areas by the 1920s,...

 devastated cotton crops in states of the South. This was 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
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

 to northern and midwestern cities, making multiple acts of resistance against persistent lynching
Lynching
Lynching is an extrajudicial execution carried out by a mob, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting, in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate, control, or otherwise manipulate a population of people. It is related to other means of social control that...

 and violence, segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

, poor education, and inability to vote. Their movements transformed many cities, creating new cultures and music in the North. 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.

Later, the southern economy was dealt additional blows by the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 and the Dust Bowl
Dust Bowl
The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936...

. After the Wall Street Crash of 1929
Wall Street Crash of 1929
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 , also known as the Great Crash, and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, taking into consideration the full extent and duration of its fallout...

, 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
Drought
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

 caused an exodus from Texas and Arkansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle
Oklahoma Panhandle
The Oklahoma Panhandle is the extreme western region of the state of Oklahoma, comprising Cimarron County, Texas County, and Beaver County. Its name comes from the similarity of shape to the handle of a cooking pan....

 region and the surrounding plains, in which over 500,000 Americans
Maps of American ancestries
The ancestry of the people of the United States is widely varied and includes descendants of populations from around the world, some presumably extinct elsewhere...

 were homeless, hungry and jobless. Thousands left the region forever to seek economic opportunities along the West Coast
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 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 Tennessee Valley Authority
Tennessee Valley Authority
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter in May 1933 to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected...

 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
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 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 soybean
Soybean
The soybean or soya bean is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses...

s, corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, and other foods.

This growth increased in the 1960s and greatly accelerated into the 1980s and 1990s. Large urban areas with over 4 million people rose in Texas, Georgia, and Florida. 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 serious air pollution problems in cities such as Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Austin, Charlotte, and others which have relied on sprawling development and highway networks.

Growth and poverty


In the antebellum years, by 1840 New Orleans was the wealthiest city in the country and the third largest in population, based on the growth of international trade associated with products being shipped to and from the interior of the country down the Mississippi River. It had the largest slave market in the country, as traders brought slaves to New Orleans 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 did other areas of the South. Because of lack of investment, construction of railroads to span the region lagged behind that in the North. People relied most heavily on river traffic for getting their crops to market and for transportation.

In Mississippi before the war, for instance, most plantations were developed along the Mississippi and other navigable rivers. The bottomlands were not developed until after the war, when the chance to buy land attracted tens of thousands of migrants, both black and white. By the end of the century, two-thirds of farm owners in the Delta bottomlands were black. The long agricultural depression meant that many had to take on too much debt—together with disfranchisement and lack of access to credit, by 1910 many had lost their property and by 1920, most blacks in the Delta were sharecroppers or landless workers. More than two generations of free African Americans had lost their stake in property.

Economy


In the late 20th century, the South changed dramatically. It saw a boom in its service economy
Service economy
Service economy can refer to one or both of two recent economic developments. One is the increased importance of the service sector in industrialized economies. Services account for a higher percentage of US GDP than 20 years ago...

, manufacturing base, high technology industries, and the financial sector. 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
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Mercedes-Benz U.S. International
Mercedes-Benz U.S. International is a Mercedes-Benz automobile manufacturing plant near Vance, Alabama. It is located about miles west of Birmingham and about miles east of downtown Tuscaloosa. The factory was announced in 1993 and produced its first vehicle, a ML320, in February 1997.From...

; Hyundai
Hyundai Motor Company
Hyundai Motor Company is a Korean multinational automaker based in Seoul, South Korea which, along with Kia, comprises the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, the world's fourth largest automaker as of 2009. As of 2011, it is the world's fastest growing automaker for two years running...

 in Montgomery, Alabama
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama is an automobile factory in Montgomery, Alabama. It is owned and operated by Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Construction completed in June, 2004, with the first vehicles produced in March of 2005. The official grand opening ceremony on May 20, 2005, was...

; the BMW
BMW
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. It also owns and produces the Mini marque, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna brands...

 production plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina; Toyota plants in Georgetown, Kentucky
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc. is an automobile manufacturing factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, USA. It is part of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America , owned by Toyota Motor Company of Japan....

, Blue Springs, Mississippi
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi is a Toyota manufacturing facility in Blue Springs, Mississippi. It will be the eighth North American vehicle assembly plant for Toyota .The plant was originally going to produce the Toyota Highlander beginning in 2010, but production was...

 and San Antonio
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, Inc is an automobile production subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation based in San Antonio, Texas, USA which owns and operates a manufacturing and assembly facility for the parent company...

; the GM
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee
Spring Hill Manufacturing
Spring Hill Manufacturing is a General Motors factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee. It opened in 1990 as the site for Saturn manufacturing and continued through March 2004 as the sole manufacturing plant overseen by the Saturn subsidiary...

; the Nissan North American headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee
Franklin, Tennessee
Franklin is a city within and the county seat of Williamson County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 62,487 as of the 2010 census Franklin is located approximately south of downtown Nashville.-History:...

; and the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant
Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant
Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant is an automobile assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee that began production in April 2011, was formally inaugurated in May 2011 and is expected to employ approximately 2,000 once fully operational...

. The two largest research parks in the country are located in the South: Research Triangle Park
Research Triangle Park
The Research Triangle Park is a research park in the United States. It is located near Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill, in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina...

 in North Carolina (the world's largest) and the Cummings Research Park
Cummings Research Park
Cummings Research Park, located primarily in the city of Huntsville, Alabama is the second largest research park in the United States, and the fourth largest in the world. The Research Triangle Park in North Carolina is the only research park in the United States that is larger. Cummings Research...

 in Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the central part of the far northern region of the U.S. state of Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 Census....

 (the world's fourth largest). Many major banking corporations have headquarters in the region. Charlotte
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

 is home to Bank of America
Bank of America
Bank of America Corporation, an American multinational banking and financial services corporation, is the second largest bank holding company in the United States by assets, and the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by market capitalization. The bank is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina...

, and was also home to Wachovia
Wachovia
Wachovia was a diversified financial services company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Before its acquisition by Wells Fargo in 2008, Wachovia was the fourth-largest bank holding company in the United States based on total assets...

 before its purchase by Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is an American multinational diversified financial services company with operations around the world. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by assets and the largest bank by market capitalization. Wells Fargo is the second largest bank in deposits, home...

; Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S...

 boasts Regions Financial Corporation, AmSouth Bancorporation
AmSouth Bancorporation
AmSouth Bancorporation was a banking company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, and operated for its final year in existence as a bank holding company of Regions Financial Corporation after a merger between the two banks. AmSouth was previously known as First National Bank of Birmingham, which...

, and BBVA Compass; Atlanta is home to SunTrust Banks
SunTrust Banks
SunTrust Banks, Inc., is an American bank holding company. The largest subsidiary is SunTrust Bank. It had US$172.7 billion in assets as of September 30, 2009...

 and the district headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is responsible for the sixth district, which covers the states of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, 74 counties in the eastern two-thirds of...

; and BB&T
BB&T
BB&T Corporation is an American bank with assets of $157 billion , offering full-service commercial and retail banking services along with other financial services like insurance, investments, retail brokerage, mortgage, corporate finance, consumer finance, payment services, international...

 is headquartered in Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem is a city in the U.S. state of North Carolina, with a 2010 population of 229,617. Winston-Salem is the county seat and largest city of Forsyth County and the fourth-largest city in the state. Winston-Salem is the second largest municipality in the Piedmont Triad region and is home to...

. Atlanta and its surrounding area are also home to many major corporations outside the banking sector, such as The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company is an American multinational beverage corporation and manufacturer, retailer and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in Columbus, Georgia...

 and The Home Depot
The Home Depot
The Home Depot is an American retailer of home improvement and construction products and services.The Home Depot operates 2,248 big-box format stores across the United States , Canada , Mexico and China, with a 12-store chain...

, and also to many cable television networks, such as CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, TBS
TBS (TV channel)
TBS , stylized in the logo as tbs, is an American cable television channel owned by Time Warner that shows a variety of programming, with a focus on comedy. TBS was originally known as WTCG, a UHF terrestrial television station that broadcast from Atlanta, Georgia, during the late 1970s...

, TNT, Turner South
Turner South
Turner South was an American cable television network launched on October 1, 1999 by Turner Broadcasting System as the first regional entertainment network developed especially for viewers in the southern United States...

, Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network is a name of television channels worldwide created by Turner Broadcasting which used to primarily show animated programming. The channel began broadcasting on October 1, 1992 in the United States....

, and The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel is a US cable and satellite television network since May 2, 1982, that broadcasts weather forecasts and weather-related news, along with entertainment programming related to weather 24 hours a day...

. 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: Miami, Florida and Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

. In 2011, nine out of ten poorest states were in the South.

Education


Southern public schools have consistently ranked in the bottom of many national surveys and average test-score rankings before allowances for race are made. 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. Mississippi scores lower than average no matter how the statistics are compared.

Culture



The predominant culture of the South has its origins with the settlement of the region by large groups of Northern English
Northern England
Northern England, also known as the North of England, the North or the North Country, is a cultural region of England. It is not an official government region, but rather an informal amalgamation of counties. The southern extent of the region is roughly the River Trent, while the North is bordered...

, Scots lowlanders
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 and Ulster-Scots (later called the Scotch-Irish) who settled in Appalachia
Appalachia
Appalachia is a term used to describe a cultural region in the eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York state to northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. While the Appalachian Mountains stretch from Belle Isle in Canada to Cheaha Mountain in the U.S...

 and the Piedmont
Piedmont (United States)
The Piedmont is a plateau region located in the eastern United States between the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the main Appalachian Mountains, stretching from New Jersey in the north to central Alabama in the south. The Piedmont province is a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division...

 in the 18th century, and from parts of southern England
Southern England
Southern England, the South and the South of England are imprecise terms used to refer to the southern counties of England bordering the English Midlands. It has a number of different interpretations of its geographic extents. The South is considered by many to be a cultural region with a distinct...

 such as East Anglia
East Anglia
East Anglia is a traditional name for a region of eastern England, named after an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom, the Kingdom of the East Angles. The Angles took their name from their homeland Angeln, in northern Germany. East Anglia initially consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk, but upon the marriage of...

, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

 and the West Country
West Country
The West Country is an informal term for the area of south western England roughly corresponding to the modern South West England government region. It is often defined to encompass the historic counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset and the City of Bristol, while the counties of...

 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 comprise the United States' second-largest racial minority, accounting for 12.1 percent of the total population according to the 2000 census. Despite Jim Crow
Jim Crow laws
The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans...

 era outflow to the North
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

, the majority of the black population remains concentrated in the southern states, and has heavily contributed to the cultural blend (the charismatic brand of Christianity, foods, art, music (see spiritual
Spiritual (music)
Spirituals are religious songs which were created by enslaved African people in America.-Terminology and origin:...

, blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 and rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

) that characterize Southern culture today.

The South has been seen largely as a stronghold
Bible Belt
Bible Belt is an informal term for a region in the southeastern and south-central United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation's average.The...

 of Protestant Christianity
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

. Although the traditional Southerner was Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

, or more accurately Episcopalian
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

, the predominant denominations in the South are now Baptists (especially the Southern Baptist Convention
Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention is a United States-based Christian denomination. It is the world's largest Baptist denomination and the largest Protestant body in the United States, with over 16 million members...

), followed by Methodists, with other denominations found throughout the region. Roman Catholics historically were concentrated in 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.

Health


Eight southern states have obesity rates over 30% of the population, the highest in the country: Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Rates for hypertension and diabetes for these states are also the highest in the nation.

The South also has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country, with states like Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas having rates exceeding 60 per 1,000 teens.

Recent politics


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 turned Republicans out of office and suppressed black voting. From 1890 to 1908, ten of eleven states ratified new constitutions or amendments that effectively disfranchised 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.

As the Supreme Court began to find such disfranchisement provisions 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 seats apportioned to their states, they had outsize power in Congress and filibustered or defeated efforts by others to pass legislation against lynching, for example. The region became known as the Solid South
Solid South
Solid South is the electoral support of the Southern United States for the Democratic Party candidates for nearly a century from 1877, the end of Reconstruction, to 1964, during the middle of the Civil Rights era....

. The Republicans controlled parts of the Appalachian Mountains and competed for power in the Border States. From the late 1870s to the 1960s, it was rare for a state or national Southern politician to be Republican.

Increasing support for civil rights legislation by the national Democratic Party beginning in 1948 caused segregationist Southern Democrats to nominate J. Strom Thurmond on a third-party "Dixiecrat" ticket in 1948. These Dixicrats 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
Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 , was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which...

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 [that] 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 Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

, and Tennessee senators Albert Gore, Sr.
Albert Gore, Sr.
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Sr. was an American politician, serving as a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party from Tennessee....

 and Estes Kefauver
Estes Kefauver
Carey Estes Kefauver July 26, 1903 – August 10, 1963) was an American politician from Tennessee. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the U.S...

. Virginia closed schools in Warren County
Warren County, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 31,584 people, 12,087 households, and 8,521 families residing in the county. The population density was 148 people per square mile . There were 13,299 housing units at an average density of 62 per square mile...

, Prince Edward County
Prince Edward County, Virginia
Prince Edward County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2010, the population was 23,368. Its county seat is Farmville.-Formation and County Seats:...

, Charlottesville
Charlottesville, Virginia
Charlottesville is an independent city geographically surrounded by but separate from Albemarle County in the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States, and named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the queen consort of King George III of the United Kingdom.The official population estimate for...

, and Norfolk
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

 rather than integrate, but no other state followed suit. Democratic governors Orval Faubus
Orval Faubus
Orval Eugene Faubus was the 36th Governor of Arkansas, serving from 1955 to 1967. He is best known for his 1957 stand against the desegregation of Little Rock public schools during the Little Rock Crisis, in which he defied a unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court by ordering the...

 of Arkansas, Ross Barnett
Ross Barnett
Ross Robert Barnett was the governor of Mississippi from 1960 to 1964. He was a States' Rights Democrat.- Early life :...

 of Mississippi, Lester Maddox
Lester Maddox
Lester Garfield Maddox was an American politician who was the 75th Governor of the U.S. state of Georgia from 1967 to 1971....

 of Georgia, and, especially, George Wallace
George Wallace
George Corley Wallace, Jr. was the 45th Governor of Alabama, serving four terms: 1963–1967, 1971–1979 and 1983–1987. "The most influential loser" in 20th-century U.S. politics, according to biographers Dan T. Carter and Stephan Lesher, he ran for U.S...

 of Alabama resisted integration and appealed to a rural and blue-collar electorate.

The northern Democrats' support of civil rights issues culminated when Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation...

 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
United States presidential election, 1964
The United States presidential election of 1964 was held on November 3, 1964. Incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson had come to office less than a year earlier following the assassination of his predecessor, John F. Kennedy. Johnson, who had successfully associated himself with Kennedy's...

, Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

's only electoral victories outside his home state of Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 were in the states of the Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

 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
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

, which caused a backlash among moderates. Major resistance to school busing extending into the 1970s.

National Republicans such as Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 began to develop their Southern strategy
Southern strategy
In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to the Republican Party strategy of winning elections in Southern states by exploiting anti-African American racism and fears of lawlessness among Southern white voters and appealing to fears of growing federal power in social and economic matters...

 to attract conservative white Southerners, especially the middle class and suburban voters, in addition to traditional GOP pockets (such as Appalachia) and migrants from the North. 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
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 in 1976, Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 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
Sonny Perdue
George Ervin "Sonny" Perdue III, was the 81st Governor of Georgia. Upon his inauguration in January 2003, he became the first Republican governor of Georgia since Benjamin F. Conley served during Reconstruction in the 1870s....

 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.

Other politicians and political movements


The South has produced various nationally-known politicians and political movements.

In 1948, a group of Democratic congressmen, led by Governor Strom Thurmond
Strom Thurmond
James Strom Thurmond was an American politician who served as a United States Senator. He also ran for the Presidency of the United States in 1948 as the segregationist States Rights Democratic Party candidate, receiving 2.4% of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes...

 of South Carolina, split from the Democrats in reaction to an anti-segregation speech given by Senator Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

 of Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

. They founded the States Rights Democratic or Dixiecrat
Dixiecrat
The States' Rights Democratic Party was a short-lived segregationist political party in the United States in 1948...

 Party. During that year's Presidential election, the party ran Thurmond as its candidate, but he was unsuccessful.

In the 1968 Presidential election
United States presidential election, 1968
The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial United States presidential election. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, it saw Johnson forced out of the race and Republican Richard Nixon elected...

, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace ran for President on the American Independent Party
American Independent Party
The American Independent Party is a right-wing political party of the United States that was established in 1967 by Bill and Eileen Shearer. In 1968, the American Independent Party nominated George C. Wallace as its presidential candidate and retired Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay as the vice...

 ticket. Wallace ran a "law and order" campaign similar to that of Republican candidate, Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

. Nixon's Southern Strategy
Southern strategy
In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to the Republican Party strategy of winning elections in Southern states by exploiting anti-African American racism and fears of lawlessness among Southern white voters and appealing to fears of growing federal power in social and economic matters...

 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 1994, another Southern politician, Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich
Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich is a U.S. Republican Party politician who served as the House Minority Whip from 1989 to 1995 and as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999....

, ushered in 12 years of GOP control of the House. Gingrich became Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, or Speaker of the House, is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives...

 in 1995 and served until his resignation in 1999. Tom DeLay
Tom DeLay
Thomas Dale "Tom" DeLay is a former member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Texas's 22nd congressional district from 1984 until 2006. He was Republican Party House Majority Leader from 2003 to 2005, when he resigned because of criminal money laundering charges in...

 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 Southerners: Howard Baker
Howard Baker
Howard Henry Baker, Jr. is a former Senate Majority Leader, Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee, White House Chief of Staff, and a former United States Ambassador to Japan.Known in Washington, D.C...

 (1981–85) of Tennessee, Trent Lott
Trent Lott
Chester Trent Lott, Sr. , is a former United States Senator from Mississippi and has served in numerous leadership positions in the House of Representatives and the Senate....

 (1996–2003) of Mississippi, Bill Frist
Bill Frist
William Harrison "Bill" Frist, Sr. is an American physician, businessman, and politician. He began his career as an heir and major stockholder to the for-profit hospital chain of Hospital Corporation of America. Frist later served two terms as a Republican United States Senator representing...

 (2003–2006) of Tennessee, and Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell
Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. is the senior United States Senator from Kentucky and the Republican Minority Leader.- Early life, education, and military service :...

 (2007–present) of Kentucky.

The Republicans candidates for President have won the South in elections since the 1960s, except for 1976
United States presidential election, 1976
The United States presidential election of 1976 followed the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It pitted incumbent President Gerald Ford, the Republican candidate, against the relatively unknown former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic...

. However, the region is not entirely monolithic, and every successful Democratic candidate has claimed at least three Southern states.

Native Americans


Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 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
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 and the Seminole Wars
Seminole Wars
The Seminole Wars, also known as the Florida Wars, were three conflicts in Florida between the Seminole — the collective name given to the amalgamation of various groups of native Americans and Black people who settled in Florida in the early 18th century — and the United States Army...

, and most were removed west to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

Civil rights



The South witnessed two major events in the lives of 20th century African Americans: the Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

 and the American Civil Rights Movement.

The Great Migration began during World War I, hitting its high point during World War II. During this migration, blacks left the racism and lack of opportunities in the South and settled in northern cities like Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, and Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, where they found work in factories and other sectors of the economy. (Katzman, 1996) However, Chicago quickly became the most segregated city in the north. This migration produced a new sense of independence in the Black community and contributed to the vibrant black urban culture seen during the Harlem Renaissance
Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, it was known as the "New Negro Movement", named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke...

.

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
Montgomery Bus Boycott
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political and social protest campaign that started in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, USA, intended to oppose the city's policy of racial segregation on its public transit system. Many important figures in the civil rights movement were involved in the boycott,...

, the Mississippi Freedom Summer
Freedom Summer
Freedom Summer was a campaign in the United States launched in June 1964 to attempt to register as many African American voters as possible in Mississippi which had historically excluded most blacks from voting...

, the March on Selma, Alabama
Selma, Alabama
Selma is a city in and the county seat of Dallas County, Alabama, United States, located on the banks of the Alabama River. The population was 20,512 at the 2000 census....

, and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

. 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
Letter from Birmingham Jail
The Letter from Birmingham Jail or Letter from Birmingham City Jail, also known as The Negro Is Your Brother, is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King, Jr., an American civil rights leader...

". Most of the civil rights landmarks can be found around the South. The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site in 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.

As a result of the Civil Rights Movement, Jim Crow laws across the South were dropped. A second migration appears to be underway, with African Americans from the North moving to the South
New Great Migration
The New Great Migration is the term for demographic changes from 1965 to the present which are a reversal of the previous 35-year trend of black migration within the United States...

 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 Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Virginia Beach, Charlotte
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

, Nashville-Davidson
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

, and Jacksonville
Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida in terms of both population and land area, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968...

 were the four most integrated of the nation's fifty largest cities, with Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

 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.

Symbolism


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
League of the South
The League of the South is a Southern nationalist organization, headquartered in Killen, Alabama, which states that its ultimate goal is "a free and independent Southern republic." The group defines the Southern United States as the states that made up the former Confederacy...

, promote secession
Secession
Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

 from the United States, citing a desire to protect and defend Southern heritage.

Other symbols of the Antebellum South include the Bonnie Blue Flag
Bonnie Blue Flag
The Bonnie Blue Flag, a single white star on a blue field, was the flag of the short-lived Republic of West Florida. Decades later, during the Civil War, it became an unofficial banner of the Confederacy, inspiring the song "The Bonnie Blue Flag," which was often sung by Southern troops.The flag...

, magnolia
Magnolia
Magnolia is a large genus of about 210 flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae. It is named after French botanist Pierre Magnol....

 trees, and the song "Dixie".

Major metropolitan areas


The South was heavily rural as late as the 1940s, but now the population is increasingly concentrated in metropolitan areas, including central cities and their suburbs.
Rank Metropolitan Statistical Area State(s) "Population and Housing Occupancy Status: 2010 - United States -- Metropolitan Statistical Area; and for Puerto Rico more information 2010 Census National Summary File of Redistricting Data". 2010 United States Census. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. April 14, 2011. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
1 Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington
Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex
The Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a title designated by the U.S. Census as of 2003, encompasses 12 counties within the U.S. state of Texas. The area is divided into two metropolitan divisions: Dallas–Plano–Irving and Fort Worth–Arlington. Residents of the area...

TX
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

6,371,773
2 Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown
Greater Houston
Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown is a 10-county metropolitan area defined by the Office of Management and Budget. It is located along the Gulf Coast region in the U.S. state of Texas...

TX
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

5,946,800
3 Washington–Arlington–Alexandria
Washington Metropolitan Area
The Washington Metropolitan Area is the metropolitan area centered on Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The area includes all of the federal district and parts of the U.S...

DC
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

VA
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...


MD
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

WV
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

5,582,170
4 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...

FL
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

5,564,635
5 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta GA
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

5,268,860
6 Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater
Tampa Bay Area
The Tampa Bay Area is the region of west central Florida adjacent to Tampa Bay. Definitions of the region vary. It is often considered equivalent to the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area defined by the United States Census Bureau. The Census Bureau currently...

FL
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

2,783,243
7 Baltimore–Towson
Baltimore Metropolitan Area
The Baltimore-Towson Metropolitan Statistical Area, also known as Central Maryland, is a Metropolitan Statistical Area in Maryland as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget...

MD
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

2,710,489
8 San Antonio
Greater San Antonio
Greater San Antonio is a 8-county metropolitan area defined by the Office of Management and Budget. It is located in the South Central region of Texas. The MSA of Greater San Antonio is colloquially referred to as the "San Antonio-New Braunfels" metropolitan area as of the 2010 census.The official...

TX
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

2,142,508
9 Orlando-Kissimmee FL
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

2,134,411
10 Charlotte–Gastonia–Concord
Charlotte metropolitan area
The Charlotte metropolitan area is a metropolitan area/region of North and South Carolina within and surrounding the city of Charlotte...

NC
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

SC
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

1,758,038
11 Austin–Round Rock-San Marcos
Greater Austin
Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos is a five-county metropolitan area in the US state of Texas, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget. The metropolitan area straddles on the eastern edge of the and is situated in Central Texas....

TX
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

1,716,289
12 Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News
Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads is the name for both a body of water and the Norfolk–Virginia Beach metropolitan area which surrounds it in southeastern Virginia, United States...

VA
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

NC
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

1,671,683
13 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin TN
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

1,589,934
14 Jacksonville FL
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

1,345,596
15 Memphis
Memphis Metropolitan Area
The Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area, TN-MS-AR , more commonly known as The Mid-South, is the 41st largest among similarly designated areas in the United States. The metropolitan area covers eight counties in three states – Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas...

TN
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

MS
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

AR
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

1,316,100
16 Louisville–Jefferson County
Louisville metropolitan area
The Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area, commonly called the Louisville metropolitan area or Kentuckiana, is the 42nd largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States...

KY
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

IN
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

1,307,647
17 Richmond
Richmond-Petersburg
The Greater Richmond Region is a region located in a central part of the state of Virginia in the United States. As of 2010, it had a population of 1,258,251, making it the 43rd largest MSA in the country...

VA
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

1,258,251
18 Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City metropolitan area
-Metro-area suburbs and exurbs:The following communities are suburbs and exurbs of Oklahoma City with populations of at least 1,000 found within the bounds of State Highway 33 to the north, State Highway 18 and US-177 to the east, State Highway 39 and State Highway 9 to the south, and US-81 to the...

OK
Oklahoma city
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.Oklahoma City may also refer to:*Oklahoma City metropolitan area*Downtown Oklahoma City*Uptown Oklahoma City*Oklahoma City bombing*Oklahoma City National Memorial...

1,252,987
19 New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner
New Orleans metropolitan area
New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner, or the Greater New Orleans Region is a metropolitan area designated by the United States Census encompassing seven parishes in the state of Louisiana, centering on the city of New Orleans...

LA
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

1,167,764
20 Raleigh–Cary NC
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

1,130,490
21 Birmingham–Hoover
Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area
The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area, also known as Greater Birmingham, is a metropolitan area composed of seven counties in central Alabama centered around its primary city of Birmingham. The population of this metropolitan area as of the 2009 census estimate was about 1,131,070....

AL
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

1,128,047
22 Tulsa OK
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

937,478
23 Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge metropolitan area
The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is a sprawling area consisting of nine parishes in Louisiana, anchored by the city of Baton Rouge...

LA
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

802,484
24 El Paso
El Paso metropolitan area
The El Paso Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of one county – El Paso – in far West Texas, anchored by the city of El Paso...

TX
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

800,647
25 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metropolitan area
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metropolitan area
The McAllen–Edinburg–Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area , as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of one county – Hidalgo – in the Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas, anchored by the cities of McAllen, Edinburg, Pharr and Mission...

TX
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

744,730

See also


  • Bible Belt
    Bible Belt
    Bible Belt is an informal term for a region in the southeastern and south-central United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation's average.The...

  • Black Belt (U.S. region)
    Black Belt (U.S. region)
    The Black Belt is a region of the Southern United States. Although the term originally described the prairies and dark soil of central Alabama and northeast Mississippi, it has long been used to describe a broad agricultural region in the American South characterized by a history of plantation...

  • Confederate States of America
    Confederate States of America
    The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

  • Cuisine of the Southern United States
    Cuisine of the Southern United States
    The cuisine of the Southern United States is defined as the historical regional culinary form of states generally south of the Mason Dixon Line dividing Pennsylvania from Maryland and Delaware as well as along the Ohio River, and extending west to Southern Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.The most...

  • Culture of honor (Southern United States)
  • Deep South
    Deep South
    The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

  • Dixie
    Dixie
    Dixie is a nickname for the Southern United States.- Origin of the name :According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origins of this nickname remain obscure. According to A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles , by Mitford M...

  • List of plantations in the United States
  • New South
    New South
    New South, New South Democracy or New South Creed is a phrase that has been used intermittently since the American Civil War to describe the American South, after 1877. The term "New South" is used in contrast to the Old South of the plantation system of the antebellum period.The term has been used...

  • Old South
    Old South
    Geographically, Old South is a subregion of the American South, differentiated from the "Deep South" as being the Southern States represented in the original thirteen American colonies, as well as a way of describing the former lifestyle in the Southern United States. Culturally, the term can be...

  • Southern American English
    Southern American English
    Southern American English is a group of dialects of the English language spoken throughout the Southern region of the United States, from Southern and Eastern Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky to the Gulf Coast, and from the Atlantic coast to most of Texas and Oklahoma.The Southern dialects make...

  • Southern art
    Southern art
    Southern art is a broad term that applies to art of, about, and from the American South. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans houses the largest single collection of Southern art...

  • Southern hospitality
    Southern hospitality
    Southern hospitality is a phrase used in American English to describe the stereotype of residents of the Southern United States as particularly warm and welcoming to visitors to their homes, or to the South in general.__FORCETOC__...

  • Southern literature
    Southern literature
    Southern literature is defined as American literature about the Southern United States or by writers from this region...



Further reading

  • Davis, Donald, and Mark R. Stoll. Southern United States: An Environmental History (2006)
  • Edwards, Laura F. “Southern History as U.S. History,” Journal of Southern History, 75 (Aug. 2009), 533–64.
  • Morris, Christopher, “A More Southern Environmental History”, Journal of Southern History, 75 (Aug. 2009), 581–98.
  • * Virts, Nancy, “Change in the Plantation System: American South, 1910–1945,” Explorations in Economic History, 43 (Jan. 2006), 153–76.
  • Wells, Jonathan Daniel. "The Southern Middle Class," Journal of Southern History, Volume: 75#3 2009. pp 651+.

External links