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Appalachia Essay

3245 words - 13 pages

Television shows such as ?The Beverly Hillbillies,? ?Hee-Haw,? and ?The Dukes of Hazard,? movies such as Deliverance, as well as comic strips such as L?il Abner have placed permanent cultural stereotypes on the Appalachian Region (Appy Culture). Thanks to these hastened conclusions by others, this agriculturally based region is portrayed as a cesspool for inbreeding, inherent poverty, high unemployment, insufficient education, and cultural ineptitude. Although Appalachia does have several economic and geographical endeavors that it must improve on, the states within the region known as Appalachia have an equal (if not greater) amount of history and culture than the other thirty-seven states of the Union. In fact, it can be argued that although the Appalachian region has its many problems such as inhabitant migration, economic ambiguity, and lack of jobs, it does contain remnants of culture that others can learn from. Appalachian culture has affected American language, fine arts, religion, and the American ways of life. Indeed, without Appalachia, our country would be far less ?cultured.? The purpose of this paper is to show that the thirteen states of this region have been treated unfairly. Especially since the outsiders? initial indifference to the problems of this great area are the causes for these problems. This indifference ? our nation?s inattention to the importance of this region and place ? may be the greatest intellectual failing of the Twentieth Century (Cratis).Historical Appalachia The federal government defines Appalachia as parts of West Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi (ARC). It incorporates 397 counties in thirteen states, covers a total of 195,000 square miles, and has a current population of twenty million (Appy Culture). The terrain is very mountainous and hilly, creating natural barriers against weather, intruders, and sometimes its own inhabitants. Soil in Appalachia can be very rich and optimal for agriculture, but it can also be on very rocky terrain, creating problems for farmers. The temperate climate fluctuates on a four-seasonal year. Natural resources are abundant in Appalachia. The region is vastly covered with wildlife and flourishing deciduous forests. Coal, iron ore, wood, and oil have proved to be the region?s largest asset.The founders of Appalachia descended from pioneers who moved into the highlands of the south during the brink of the American Revolution (Cratis). By migrating to this region, the Scots-Irish lived peacefully (except for a few Indian attacks) in the remote mountains. In choosing such a secluded geographical setting, the Scots-Irish thereby freed themselves from the ensuing Revolutionary War, and could continue to practice their native culture. As time progressed, however, more ethnic groups such as the English, the Germans, the Swiss, the French, the Africans, and the Welsh moved...

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