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| |-+  Political Geography & Demographics (Moderator: muon2)
| | |-+  is there a southern element to some of the west?
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Author Topic: is there a southern element to some of the west?  (Read 548 times)
freepcrusher
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« on: August 19, 2012, 10:04:26 pm »
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I remember reading somewhere that from the 30s-50s a lot of poor people from the south (particularly the peripheral south) started populating what would become "proto sunbelt cities" in the western states such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Denver.

As you would know the Military Industrial Complex really drove these metro areas and brought a lot of entry level white collar and high paying blue collar jobs became available. It was often thought that the companies tried to recruit these people because they knew they would be less likely to unionize.

Another thing I've wondered is if this explains the impact the religious right had in those areas.
Although it doesn't show up on maps, there was a definite fundamentalist christian bent to some of those areas. The parts of Orange County west of HWY 55 went through a "Great Awakening" of sorts in the 1950s and 1960s with lots of fundamentalist churches such as Bob Shuller's church and there was a "Christian AntiCommunist Crusade" around that same era.

Colorado Springs also has a large conservative christian presence even though it isn't in the south so I'm wondering if that area has had a large southern migration. The congressman who represented that area for several years, Hefley, was an okie IIRC.

Also, in some of the western working class areas of OC like GG, Anaheim, SA and BP; I think that if there was a large Okie population, it may also explain the schizophrenic political bent of the area in the 60s 70s and 80s where it was heavily democratic in registration and for local offices, electing democrats to congress such as Dick Hanna and Jerry Patterson, but often voted republican for president (although not as GOP as the nearby Dannemeyer and Badham districts).
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bgwah
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2012, 10:45:08 pm »
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Okies moving to California are probably the best known example.

I think this map is very interesting. Once you remove the Mormon and Hispanic/Catholic layers, you see a lot of the remaining people in the SW are likely of Southern origin.

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They call me PR
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2012, 10:50:17 pm »
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Not really Southern, more of a Midwestern/Great Plains/Lower Midwest/Upper South influence. The Central Valley and other inland parts of California historically were populated by "Okies" and '"Arkies", especially after the Dust Bowl.

The religious right has never just been a Southern phenomenon. Plenty of Midwesterners have had strong right-wing Christian views throughout the year. You've got to understand, the main reason the religious right is so prevalent in the Sun Belt suburbs is because a huge number of out-of-state transplants (many of them already deeply religious) came to those areas during the post-War years. Not many people knew each other in those new communities. Since the Sun Belt suburban boom was based on the creation of solidly white middle-class suburbs that were intensely privatized in terms of urban space (old community/town centers were often destroyed in places like Southern CA to make room for isolated sub-divisions), the only place for many of these people to mingle and meet people were the conservative/evangelical churches. And those churches reaffirmed individual economic freedom, social conservatism, "personal salvation" instead of the Social Gospel...in other words, intensely right-wing interpretations of the Gospel.

In terms of the military-industrial complex: the strong ties to not just the military, but also defense-related industries of places like suburban Southern California, Maricopa County, Arizona, Colorado Springs, and also many of the suburban Sun Belt regions of the Southeast (Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas, etc.) made the link between the Cold War, prosperity, and anti-communism very real for millions of Sun Belt residents. When a huge portion of your economy is devoted to fighting the Reds, and you benefit directly from that defense spending, it's easy to see why some  people in those areas joined the John Birch Society or the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade.



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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 01:09:24 pm »
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Basically, isolated anti-communists who only meet in churches which practiced cultural nationalism as a way of socialization and to contrast themselves from the enemies they were paid to fight.
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