Free «Looking at the South through a Geography Lens» Essay Sample

The author of this article is Christopher C Nehls. He is a professor at the University of Virginia. His extensive research in the field of history makes him one of the most valuable scholars in this field. He has contributed immensely in this field, hence bears one of the most informative viewpoints on the matter. He has been writing articles on the American history, some of which have been published in national journals. Upon reading this article, one will appreciate his insight, and the clarity with which he understands the topic.

The civil divide that took place in the United States of America during the civil war is one of the most historic events in the country’s time line. This divide threatened to tear the country into two. For some time, this materialized. There was the north and the south. These two sides held different ideologies that made it impossible for them to work together. There was clear segregation between citizens from the two sides. This went deeper than the color division in the country. Had it not been for the reconstruction efforts, it is probable that the country could have split into two.

This article aims at informing the reader of detailed events that took place during that time. Even after the efforts of reconstruction bore fruits, the southerners would carry their confederate culture forward. Much later, in the events of the Second World War, the southerners would still carry themselves with great pride for having withstood the arrogance of the north and succeeded in the stalemate (Christopher, 2002). This attitude, however, is not the healthiest for the country. A people should not hold on to grudges that go back to centuries. But the old rivalry between the two sides seems to have died down after reconstruction. In the 1900’s a new battle of supremacy was born between the two sides, this time without bloodshed.

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Both sides are essential to the economy of the country. The south, for instance, is a major economic hub especially in agriculture. The political base of the country is, however, in the north. This brought a feeling of condescension from the north. For a long time, the south has tried to segregate itself from the north because of this reason. Some of the actions that the south took to defy the north were during the great depression of 1930. The southerners tried to place all blame on the stock market, which was run from the north. It is important to remember that the south was the worst hit in terms of economy, after the reconstruction efforts (Edward, 1998). Due to loss of lives, property and manpower, the economy of the south was in shambles. It took a long time after this to recover.

Racial segregation in the south was an issue of concern in the early 1900’s. Schools were built for specific colors only. The article talks extensively on the white schools in the couth. African Americans were not supposed to attend schools built for the whites. Such an incidence occurred in 1951, but the student had to leave after only a semester. Such segregation was less rampant in the north. The whites seemed to have all privileges such as sports and extracurricular activities (Robert, 1988). Such were unheard of in black school. This was the case even in institutions of higher learning. It was not until the up rise of racial spokesmen such as Martin Luther King, that the woes of the blacks were heard. One will remember that states in the south refused to give up their treatment of blacks as slaves during the reconstruction efforts. The government had put in place measures that were geared toward liberating slaves. This had not happened in the south. Instead, African Americans were rounded up and put in camps where they would be subjected to hard labor and harsh treatment.

The issue of racism was embedded in the younger generation, as well. Most of them remained impartial to resolving the hatred that existed between the two races. While the younger generation should be a beacon of hope to a society, in the south this was not the case. There seemed to be no hope for resolving the issue. White students seemed to conform to the privileges that came with their skin color.

During the Second World War, the south showed a renewed sense of solidarity. While they took part in the war as Americans, the carried the confederate flag with them. At every victory they would fly the flag high, to show that the southern Americas had taken part in the war. While this solidarity is beneficial for a region, it might serve as a sign of disparity to the rest of the world. This flag was not only carried high in the war. According to the article, universities and colleges in the south also took to carrying the flag with pride.

The efforts of schools and civil movements helped put an end to the divide between the north and south, and even the African Americans. Following pretest that took place in the football season of 1950, the flag was less institutionalized. Occurrences of this flag being carried were less from then on. This marked the beginning of the end of the south’s attempts to remain autonomous from the north. This, however, was not accomplished in a day. Since then, it has been slightly over half a century, and the country now enjoys a united people. The country is in unison, both economically and politically.

This article can be read and appreciated by both a general and an academic audience. The language used is simple, yet it delivers the message that the author intended. It focuses extensively on university students and education at large. This is not to say that students in other levels of schooling cannot learn from that article. The general audience will appreciate the incorporation of aspects such as the war and the economy in the content. It is an eye opener to people who have not had a chance to read about the civil war and the road to recovery. The younger generation does not have much knowledge on the extensive history of America. This article opens up some of the issues that have not been discussed much by other writers.

This article is one of the few that have brought out the role that educational institutions played in the civil war and the division of the country into the north and south. Most of the other articles focus on the economic and political aspects of the matter. It is, however, refreshing to read about the other side of the story. It touches on the issues that have been discussed widely by other articles. These include the social, economic and political aspects. This gives it extra credibility for including a new aspect to the main issue. Before reading this article, most people were in the dark about the role that educational institutions played. Most of the time people think that these institutions are a safe haven, where students go to learn and become useful in the society. What people forget is that education is the most unifying factor in a country and hence can be used as a tool of propaganda. However, in general the article compared fairly, even gaining an advantage over others that have been published pertaining the topic of discussion.


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