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The Bottom and the Middle: Southern Exceptionalism and Midwestern Normativity

The American South occupies a specific place in the national political imaginary. Noted historians Matthew D. Lassiter and Joseph Crespino have boldly rejected the idea of southern distinctiveness, arguing that the image of a retrograde South serves as a “guiding fiction,” to use Edmund S. Morgan’s formulation. Southern exceptionalism, Lassiter and Crespino insist, undergirds American…

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What is the Midwest?

Ideas about region, space, and place sit at the heart of American history. Differing understandings of political economy often fall along sectional lines, and popular culture reflects and shapes notions of regional distinctiveness. Most broadly, the United States can ostensibly be divided between North and South, with the North functioning in the popular imagination as…