From Cotton Belt to Sunbelt

Federal Policy, Economic Development, and the Transformation of the South 1938–1980

From Cotton Belt to Sunbelt

Book Pages: 352 Illustrations: Published: November 1994

General Interest > NC and Regional U.S., History > U.S. History

From Cotton Belt to Sunbelt investigates the effects of federal policy on the American South from 1938 until 1980 and charts the close relationship between federal efforts to reform the South and the evolution of activist government in the modern United States. Decrying the South’s economic backwardness and political conservatism, the Roosevelt Administration launched a series of programs to reorder the Southern economy in the 1930s. After 1950, however, the social welfare state had been replaced by the national security state as the South’s principal benefactor. Bruce J. Schulman contrasts the diminished role of national welfare initiatives in the postwar South with the expansion of military and defense-related programs. He analyzes the contributions of these growth-oriented programs to the South’s remarkable economic expansion, to the development of American liberalism, and to the excruciating limits of Sunbelt prosperity, ultimately relating these developments to southern politics and race relations. By linking the history of the South with the history of national public policy, Schulman unites two issues that dominate the domestic history of postwar America—the emergence of the Sunbelt and the expansion of federal power over the nation’s economic and social life. A forcefully argued work, From Cotton Belt to Sunbelt, originally published in 1991(Oxford University Press), will be an important guide to students and scholars of federal policy and modern Southern history.


“An important contribution.” — Peter Coclanis , American Historical Review

"[This book] adds to our understanding of political, economic, and social change in the South. Its research depth, policy breadth, descriptive readability, and interpretive thesis commend it to a wide audience of political scientists and economists, not to mention historians." — Deil S. Wright , Political Science Quarterly

"An important work. . . . This well-researched and provocative book cannot be ignored by serious students of modern southern history." — Numan V. Bartley , Journal of Southern History

"From Cotton Belt to Sunbelt marks a breakthrough in social and political analysis, showing for the first time how the interconnection between national and regional politics, on the one hand, and government policy, on the other, brought about the transformation of the social economy of the South from the days of the New Deal to the 1980s. Moreover, it is written with verve and clarity and from a wealth of governmental and manuscript sources. All that is hard to beat." — Carl Degler, Stanford University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Bruce J. Schulman is Associate Professor of History at Boston University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface to the Duke Edition vii

Preface xi

1. Introduction: Becoming Economic Problem No. 1 5

2. "Wild Cards and Innovations" 39

3. The Wages of Dixie 63

4. "Bulldozers on the Old Plantation" 88

5. Persistent Whiggery: Federal Entitlements and Southern Politics 112

6. Missiles and Magnolias 135

7. "Shadows on the Sunbelt" 174

8. Conclusion: Place Over People 206

Essay on Selected Sources 222

Notes 232

Index 323
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1537-7
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