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The mean center of United States population has moved South since the 1920s

In the culture of the United States, the idea of Southernization came from the observation that Southern values and beliefs had become more central to political success, reaching an apogee in the 1990s, with a Democratic President and Vice President from the South and Congressional leaders in both parties being from the South.[1] Some[quantify] commentators said that Southern values seemed increasingly important in national elections through the early 21st century. American journalists in the late 2000s used the term "Southernization" to describe the political and cultural effects.[2]


Values and beliefs often ascribed to the American South include religious conservatism, particularly Protestantism,[3] culture of honor,[4] Southern hospitality,[5] military tradition,[6][7] agrarian ideals[8] and American nationalism. Besides the cultural influence, some said that the South had infiltrated the national political stage.[9]

In 1992, the winning presidential ticket consisted of Bill Clinton, the Governor of Arkansas; and Al Gore, a Senator from Middle Tennessee. From both parties, many leaders in Congress were also from the South. Meanwhile, the Republican Party underwent its own Southernization as more Republican leaders called for policies and principles previously held by conservative or moderate Southern Democrats.[10] Commentators such as Adam Nossiter and Michael Hirsh suggest that politics reached its apogee of Southernization in the 1990s.[1]

As of 2013, the American South has more electoral votes than ever due to an increase in population. However, the increasing influence of the region appeared to go beyond that. Liberal commentators had said that "Southernism" had gained prominence under the George W. Bush presidency. They credited many concepts such as frontierism and jingoism as well as anti-abortion and anti-international trade sentiments to the American South.[2]

Other uses[edit]

The term "Southernization" has also been used by historians to describe the influence of South Asia on the rest of the world by the 5th century A.D; this is intended to be similar to the use of Westernization for the influence of the West on the rest of the world since the 15th century and the beginning of exploration and colonization.[11] Examples of South Asian influence include Hindu-Arabic numerals; the spread of Buddhism; production and overseas trade of sugar, cotton and spices; and the spread of other inventions and discoveries.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Adam Nossiter. "For South, a Waning Hold on Politics". The New York Times. 12 November 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Michael Hirsh (April 25, 2008). "How the South Won (This) Civil War". Newsweek. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  3. ^ Cross, FL, ed. (2005), "Baptists", The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church, New York: Oxford University Press
  4. ^ Kenneth S. Greenberg, Honor & Slavery: Lies, Duels, Noses, Masks, Dressing as a Woman, Gifts, Strangers, Humanitarianism, Death, Slave Rebellions, the Proslavery Argument, Baseball, Hunting, and Gambling in the Old South (Princeton University Press, 1996)
  5. ^ Abbott, Jacob (1835). New England and her Institutions. John Allen. p. 223. ISBN 978-0807859896.
  6. ^ Kane, Tim. "Who Bears the Burden? Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Recruits Before and After 9/11". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Wood, Louise, Amy (2010). The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 19: Violence. Univ of North Carolina Press, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi and the Center for the Study of the American South. pp. 112–115. ISBN 9780807872161.
  8. ^ Hinson, Ferris, Glenn, William (2010). The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 14: Folklife. Univ of North Carolina Press, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi and the Center for the Study of the American South. p. 91. ISBN 978-0807859896.
  9. ^ Michiko Kakutani (March 17, 2006). "Tying Religion and Politics to an Impending U.S. Decline". The New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  10. ^ Richard Bernstein (July 12, 1996). "Books Of The Times; An Ex-Conservative Indicts the Right". The New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  11. ^ Shaffer, Lynda Noreen (2001). "Southernization". In Adas, Michael (ed.). Agricultural and Pastoral Societies in Ancient and Classical History. Critical perspectives on the past. American Historical Association. Temple University Press. p. 308. ISBN 9781566398329. Retrieved December 24, 2013. The term 'southernization' [...] is used [...] to refer to a multifaceted process that began in Southern Asia and spread from there [...]. The process included [...] many interrelated strands of development[:] [...] the metallurgical, the medical, [...] the literary [...] the development of mathematics; the production and marketing of subtropical or tropical spices; the pioneering of new trade routes; the cultivation, processing, and marketing of southern crops such as sugar and cotton; and the development of various related technologies. [...] Southernization was well under way in Southern Asia by the fifth century C.E.

Further reading[edit]