Regions and Regionalism in the United States by Michael Bradshaw (auth.)

By Michael Bradshaw (auth.)

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Adefinite core zone around the north-eastern ports was expanding westwards through the manufacturing belt, but other parts were all peripheral in some way or other, and the South remained the most deprived region. This was the era when regions could be differentiated by a combination of economic and natural characteristics. Another feature of this time was the demise of medieval views of 'wilderness': once the frontier had dosed, wilderness took on a new form in the minds of Americans - as a desirable change from the growing urbanisation of America.

On the west coast the timber in the north and some of the farming produ{:ts in the south were beginning to attract new settlers, but the process was slow until the US Congress decided in 1902 to fund the extension of irrigation projects in a major way. Much of the land in this arid and mountainous west was not attractive to farmers and remained in the hands of the Federal government, or ofthe railroad companies which acquired it as a subsidy to cover their building costs. Large areas ofunoccupied land remained between what were effectively oasis towns (Meinig, 1972).

New England acquired a reputation as a run-down region with out-of-date manufacturing products, high living costs, and high levels of unemployment. The seeds of this began when the region failed to diversify from its early industrial base of textiles, leather and small-metal goods. I t suffered HISTORIC BASIS OF REGIONAL DIFFERENCES 51 greatly in the depression years of the 1930s and the impression was enhanced again in the 1950s after aperiod of wartime prosperity. Many farmers from the Midwest also moved farther west in their transition to urban living.

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