The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—is a region of the United States of America. The South does not exactly match the geographic south, but is predominantly located in the southeastern corner; Arizona and New Mexico, which are geographically in the southern part of the country, are rarely considered part of the Southern United States, while West Virginia, which separated from Virginia in 1863,〔McPherson, James M., ''Battle Cry of Freedom. the Civil War Era'', Oxford Univ. Press, 1998, pg. 304〕 commonly is.〔(Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers )〕〔(Geological Society of America )〕〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Southern Legislative Conference – Serving the South )〕 Some scholars have proposed definitions of the South that do not coincide neatly with state boundaries.
Usually, the South is defined as including the southeastern and south-central United States. The region is known for its culture and history, having developed its own customs, musical styles, and cuisines, which have distinguished it in some ways from the rest of the United States. The Southern ethnic heritage is diverse and includes strong European (mostly English, Irish, Scotch-Irish, Scottish and French), African, and some Native American components.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title= Scots to Colonial North Carolina Before 1775 )〕
Some other aspects of the historical and cultural development of the South have been influenced by an early support for the doctrine of states' rights, the institution of slave labor on plantations in the Lower South to an extent seen nowhere else in the United States; the presence of a large proportion of African Americans in the population; and the legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era, as seen in thousands of lynchings (mostly from 1880 to 1930), the segregated system of separate schools and public facilities known as "Jim Crow", that lasted until the 1960s, and the widespread use of poll taxes and other methods to frequently deny black people of the right to vote or hold office until the 1960s. In more modern times, however, the South has become the most integrated region of the country. Since the late 1960s, black people have held many high-ranking offices—e.g., governor and U.S. senator—in Atlantic coast states Virginia and South Carolina. Black Americans have also been elected or appointed as mayors and police chiefs in U.S. Southern metropolises Houston, Atlanta and New Orleans.〔("Gallup Poll: U.S. race relations by region; The South" ). November 19, 2002.〕
Historically, the South relied heavily on agriculture, and was highly rural until after 1945. It has since become more industrialized and urban and has attracted national and international migrants. The American South is now among the fastest-growing areas in the United States. Houston is the largest city in the Southern United States. Sociological research indicates that Southern collective identity stems from political, demographic, and cultural distinctiveness from the rest of the United States. The region contains the Bible Belt, an area of high church attendance (especially in Evangelical churches such as the Southern Baptist Convention) and predominantly conservative, religion-influenced politics. Indeed, studies have shown that Southerners are more conservative than non-Southerners in several areas, including religion, morality, international relations and race relations. This is evident in both the region's religious attendance figures and in the region's usually strong support for the Republican Party in political elections since the 1960s.〔〔
Apart from its climate, the living experience in the South increasingly resembles the rest of the nation. The arrival of millions of Northerners (especially in major metropolitan areas and coastal areas)〔Marc Egnal, ''Divergent paths: how culture and institutions have shaped North American growth'' (1996) p 170〕 and millions of Hispanics〔Rebecca Mark and Robert C. Vaughan, ''The South'' (2004) p. 147〕 meant the introduction of cultural values and social norms not rooted in Southern traditions.〔Cooper and Knotts, "Declining Dixie: Regional Identification in the Modern American South", p. 1084〕〔Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts, eds. ''The New Politics of North Carolina'' (2008)〕 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".〔Edward L. Ayers, ''What Caused the Civil War? Reflections on the South and Southern History'' (2005) p. 46〕 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".〔Michael Hirsh (April 25, 2008). ("How the South Won (This) Civil War" ), ''Newsweek, accessed November 22, 2008〕
The question of how to define the subregions in the South has been the focus of research for nearly a century.〔Howard W. Odum, ''Southern regions of the United States'' (1936)〕〔Rebecca Mark, and Rob Vaughan, ''The South: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures'' (2004)〕
As defined by the United States Census Bureau,〔(【引用サイトリンク】url=http://www.census.gov/econ/census07/www/geography/regions_and_divisions.html )〕 the Southern region 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.〔http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-01.pdf〕 The Census Bureau defined three smaller divisions:
*The South Atlantic States: Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Delaware
*The East South Central States: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee
*The West South Central States: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
The Council of State Governments, an organization for communication and coordination between states, includes in its South regional office the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Other terms related to the South include:
*The Old South: can mean either the slave states that existed in 1776 (Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina)〔Mary Johnston, (''Pioneers of the Old South, A Chronicle of English Colonial Beginnings'' (1918) )〕 or all the slave states before 1860 (which included the newer states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas).〔James Oakes, ''Slavery and Freedom : An Interpretation of the Old South'' (1998)〕
*The New South: usually including the South Atlantic States.〔C. Vann Woodward, ''The Origins of the New South, 1877–1913'' (1951)〕
*The Solid South: region largely controlled by the Democratic Party from 1877 to 1964, especially after disfranchisement of most blacks at the turn of the 20th century. Before that, blacks were elected to national office and many to local office through the 1880s; Populist-Republican coalitions gained victories for Fusionist candidates for governors in the 1890s. Includes at least all the 11 former Confederate States.〔George Brown Tindall, ''The Disruption Of The Solid South'' (1972)〕
*Southern Appalachia: mainly refers to areas situated in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, namely Eastern Kentucky, East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, Western Maryland, West Virginia, Southwest Virginia, North Georgia, and Northwestern South Carolina.〔Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell, eds. (2006)〕
*Southeastern United States: usually including the Carolinas, the Virginias, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and at times Maryland and Delaware.〔
*The Deep South: various definitions, usually including Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. Occasionally, parts of adjoining states are included (sections of East Texas, the Mississippi embayment areas of Arkansas and Tennessee, and northern and central Florida).〔Neal R. Peirce, ''The Deep South States of America;: People, politics, and power in the seven Deep South States'' (1974)〕
*The Gulf South: various definitions, usually including Gulf coasts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama.
*The Upper South: Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and occasionally Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware.〔"(United States: The Upper South )." ''Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.''〕
*Dixie: various definitions, but most commonly associated with the 11 states of the Old Confederacy.
*The Mid-South: Various definitions, including that of the Census Bureau of the East and West South Central United States; in another informal definition, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and sometimes adjoining areas of other states.〔("GOP eyes potential for picking up U.S. House seats in Mid-South" ), ''Memphis Commercial Appeal''〕〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=VA health care resource allocations to medical centers in the Mid South ... )〕〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=The Mid-South )〕〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=The Tchula Period in the Mid-South and Lower Mississippi Valley )〕
*Border South: Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware 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 stars on the Confederate battle flag. West Virginia was formed in 1863 after the western region of Virginia broke away to protest the Old Dominion's joining of the Confederacy, but residents of the new state were about evenly divided on supporting the Union or the Confederacy.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=The Civil War in West Virginia )〕
The popular definition of the "South" is more informal and generally associated with the 11 states that seceded before or during the Civil War to form the Confederate States of America.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=south )〕 In order of their secession, these were: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. These states share commonalities of history and culture that carry on to the present day. Oklahoma was not a state during the Civil War, but all its major Native American tribes signed (formal treaties ) of alliance with the Confederacy.
The South is a diverse meteorological region with numerous climatic zones, including temperate, sub-tropical, tropical, and arid—though the South 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 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 oaks, Lagerstroemia indica, Nandina domestica, camellias, southern magnolia trees, yellow jessamine vines, Spanish moss, cabbage palms and flowering dogwoods. Another common environment is found in the bayous and swamplands of the Gulf Coast, especially in Louisiana and Texas. Parts of the rural South have been overrun by kudzu, an invasive, fast-growing, leafy vine that can spread over trees, land, roads, and buildings, choking and killing indigenous plants. Kudzu is a particularly severe problem in the Piedmont regions of South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.
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