From Cotton Belt to Sunbelt: Federal Policy, Economic Development, and the Transformation of the South, 1938-1980

Synopsis

This is a carefully executed study of the effects of federal economic policy in transforming the American South from the time of the New Deal to the present. Decrying the South's economic backwardness and political conservatism, the Roosevelt Administration launched a series of aggressive programs to reorder the Southern economy. A generation of young liberal Southerners entered the national government to preside over these policies. After 1950, however, Keynesianism replaced New Deal reform as the mainstay of national economic policy, and the national security state supplanted the social welfare state as the South's principal benefactor. Schulman here contrasts the diminished role of national welfare programs in the postwar South with the expansion of military and growth-oriented programs, analyzing their contributions to the South's remarkable economic growth, and the excruciating limits of that prosperity. Schulman ultimately relates these developments to Southern politics and race relations. A forcefully argued work, From Cotton Belt to Sun Belt will be an invaluable addition to the literature, and an essential guide to students and scholars of federal policy and modern Southern history.

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