Southernness: Southern United States and Agrarian Society Essay

Submitted By asdffdsaT
Words: 349
Pages: 2

At the beginning of the course, I did not consider myself to be southern. I thought there was only one set criterion for southernness—an all or nothing prospect. The trouble with defining southernness is the diversity that characterizes “the South”. In order to characterize the South as a geographical and cultural region, one must look into its historical origins, the Agrarian South.

The first division between the so-called North and South in the United States occurred when the North industrialized leaving behind the economically-tied agrarian southern states. The heavily embedded agrarian society lead to certain characteristics in southerners: love for home-cooked fatty/fried soul food and southern draw in speech. In addition, the music that developed in the rural agrarian communities was unique from that of the industrialized northern states. Therefore, southern taste in music (country, blues, jazz, bluegrass, etc) was different and developed independently. Finally, in the southern agrarian society, authority was seen in the church and state while the industrialized states moved toward atheism/science. Thus, a southerner developed into a more religious, Christian person.

When the ties between the North and South became too vast, the southern states formed the Confederacy, which had two lasting implications as to what defined a southerner. First, it led to the inherent since of state/home pride, which has culminated into strong feelings about the right to bear arms