Jarret Ruminski

Rise of the Paranoid South: How Fear of 'Outsiders' Cemented Conservatism's Stranglehold in the Region

The Civil War ended in 1865. Before the war, it was common parlance in America to speak of two regions: the “North” and the “South,” which were divided, above all else, over the issue of slavery. After the war, however, the idea of the “North” gradually disappeared from American culture, but “The South” as a regional, cultural and ideological construction has lived on. The South still maintains a persistent hold on American culture, and while the Old Confederacy is unlikely to ever “rise again” in another militant bid for national independence, the South has continued to rise again as a political force to be reckoned with, most recently in the 2014 midterm elections, during which the Republican Party won near total political control of Dixieland. Thus, we come to the vexing question of Southern history: Is the South “exceptional” when compared to the rest of the country?

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