The Inland South vs.
The Southeastern Coast
The southeastern United States can be divided into two separate and distinct regions - the Inland South and the Southeastern Coast. These two regions will be compared and contrasted, with the differences noted.
In the Inland South, the event that stimulated the settlement of the region, was the invention of the cotton gin, by Eli Whitney, that separated the seeds from the cotton lint that is used to make clothes, making it easier, and more profitable, to grow cotton as a cash crop. It also, sadly, was the catalyst that strengthened the legitimacy and rationale of the slave trade in the old south (Remember the Biblical saying: the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil). On the other hand, the Southeastern Coast region was quite sparsely populated, except for the few port cities that hve long had their own distinct reputations, including Savannah and Charleston with their beautiful southern Belle architectural style of homes, New Orleans with its French heritage and culture, and Houston as a later manufacturing center. The problem with the Southeastern Coast was the excessive heat that hindered people from wanting to move to the region.
Within the past few decades, though, the Inland South has grown at a moderate rate, with the exception of Texas, which, in the past decade, was the fastest-growing state in the nation, with a growth rate of about 20% over the course of the decade. Part of this moderate growth rate is due to the fact that the former American industrial base, which was located in the Heartland Region and Megalopolis, has expanded to include many other areas of the nation, especially the Inland South, helping to draw outsiders to the region. It is also due to the fact that the African American population, which in earlier decades, migrated from rural lands in the south to the industrial bases of the north, started remigrating back south, this time to the urban centers of the south, where there was a plentitude of jobs. The Southeastern Coast, unlike the moderate growth felt in the Inland South, has exploded in growth in the last several decades, especially along the Texas coast and the state of Florida, no doubt propelled by the advent of the air conditioner, which helped to alleviate some of the excessive heat felt in the summer months in this region.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
The Inland South, in terms of natural resources and agriculture, tended to be more focused on the growing of cotton originally, and later on the growing of cattle, poultry, and hogs. They have also developed an aquaculture, such as in what are known as catfish farms. The Southeastern Coast focused more on commercial fishing, including shrimp, the growing of citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits, sugarcane, rice, as well as the growing of vegetables which are grown when it is too cold to grow in the northern states, and trucked to those regions with colder climates. There has also been a regrowth of the cattle industry, particularly in the state of Florida.
When it comes to natural resources, the Inland South is second only to the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming) when it comes to forestry products. These include both hardwoods and softwoods, which are used for lumber, or as pulp for paper products. When driving through the Inland South, you will see an almost endless covering of woods, or, should I say, tree farms. Oil and Natural Gas had helped in causing an economic boom in the Inland South in decades past, but that boom dried up in the 1980’s causing a blow to the economy.
The Southeastern Coast really does not have much in the way of forests to harvest, but it has had as much of a share of the southern oil boom as had the Inland South. Still today oil platforms are found in the Gulf of Mexico off of the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. As for other resources, this region tends to have a substantial quantity of salt, found in underground salt domes, phosphate, such as that used in fertilizer, and sulfur. Also, since calcium, used in making concrete, is less likely to be extracted from quarries, it is acquired through an extraction process that picks up oyster and clam shells off the floors of bays in shallower areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
Economics and Manufacturing
The economies of the Inland South and the Southeastern Coast are today substantially larger than they were several decades ago. As northern industries expanded, they expanded out of their earlier home base within the Heartland Region and Megalopolis to include the Inland South, possibly driven by cheaper labor costs and the lessening of transportation costs through the building of extensive infrastructure networks, particularly roadways. This growth of the manufacturing sector of the economy of the Inland South has allowed their economy to become quite diversified, which tends to be a good thing, as different sectors work as backups to each other. This diversification includes industries such as the automobile industry, including primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors of those industries, as well as other sectors that cater to the working people in those main sectors of the economy, including trade, finance, services, government, transportation, and construction – all this on top of the old agricultural sector of the economy.
The Southeastern Coast, whose economy has probably grown just as much, grew not on manufacturing as much as it did in the Inland South, but on tourism, and the service and trade sectors of the economy that are based on that growth of tourism. Although manufacturing isn’t the most important factor in the economic growth of the Southeastern Coast, there has still been a substantial growth in industry in areas of this region. This included oil refineries, industries related to the oil industry, as well as chemical production. For more on the reasons why tourism has helped explode the economy, you might check out this article about the booming growth of Florida’s cities, which are reflective of tourism in the region as a whole.
Hopefully this has helped to show the differences in the economies and cultures of the Inland South and the Southeastern Coast regions of the United States.
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