Regionalism in America

Regionalism in America

Regionalism in America

Regionalism in America

Excerpt

The widespread use of the regional-sectional concept during the past few decades, especially by scholars and teachers in the social sciences, has tended to blind them to the fact that the concept had widespread use long before there was a generally accepted label for it. Consequently, the vast number of books and articles dealing with regional questions have often lacked a depth of perspective and hence a significance they might otherwise have had.

It is well, therefore, that a symposium on regionalism in America should begin with two papers which trace the development of the concept from the middle of the eighteenth century down to the present. As the first paper shows, the concept is rooted in the British colonies in the New World. Geography, economic life, and social traditions produced clearly recognizable regional groups such as the New England Colonies, the West Indian Colonies, and the Southern Colonies. These differences were recognized by administrators of the British Empire and by the colonists themselves, and they resulted in clashing interests and in differing legislation by Parliament and the colonial legislatures. Such regional differences and conflicts are a significant factor in the history of the United States from 1776 onwards. They are described by the "father of American geography," Jedidiah Morse, and by other geographers who followed him. As the United States grew, its government recognized the existence of regions or sections as a matter of course. In fact, it could not have avoided such recognition. Thus judicial and military districts were organized along regional lines. Census takers from 1790 onwards wrestled with the problem of organizing their data around regional-sectional concepts in order to give that data significance. By 1860 the term "section" was in common use. Meanwhile geogra-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.