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Old 06-04-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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A thread about the most backward places in the United States had a lot of members stating that The Appalachians was one of the most backward places in the U.S.A. Now certainly this is up for debate but it does appear that one reason for this stigma is lack the infrastucture, bad schools, etc...

My question is this: What or whom failed this part of the United States? Did it just come down to incompetent and / or uncaring political leadership?

One more thing, I know The Appalachians encompasses a very large area but I'm referring to the parts where abject poverty, bad schools and poor infrastructure exists.

Thank you
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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Well, I think incompetent political leadership has had a lot to do with it. When areas begin electing honest, competent leaders, it's very interesting to watch the subsequent change in the area's economic growth and education levels.

We moved to Alabama in 1992 just when it was ending the 120-year monopoly of power by the Democratic Party. Today, the state has made a great deal of progress in just about every category one cares to name, so that it's not the cellar dweller it once was. In fact, the past eight years, Alabama has been fortunate to have an incredible governor, a Republican who has managed to earn a 70% approval rating even among Democrats. The man has been incredibly honest, rooted out cronyism, and ended all the cozy backroom politics that kept the state down so long. The result? A great deal of growth with new industry, higher per capita income, etc. etc.

Now, that previous paragraph is not an endorsement of the Republicans over the Democrats per se. However, it does speak to what happens when a very entrenched kleptocracy in local government gets overturned by a group intent on exercising political power in more responsible ways.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:54 PM
 
5,859 posts, read 14,051,512 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastwestman View Post
A thread about the most backward places in the United States had a lot of members stating that The Appalachians was one of the most backward places in the U.S.A. Now certainly this is up for debate but it does appear that one reason for this stigma is lack the infrastucture, bad schools, etc...

My question is this: What or whom failed this part of the United States? Did it just come down to incompetent and / or uncaring political leadership?

One more thing, I know The Appalachians encompasses a very large area but I'm referring to the parts where abject poverty, bad schools and poor infrastructure exists.

Thank you
It all boils down to the economy. Coal is no longer the region's bread and butter, and agricultural land is poor throughout the region. Even when the coal industry was thriving, most jobs were low skill, low pay. Those who owned the coal companies lived far away, and that's where the money went.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:15 PM
 
5,694 posts, read 8,762,354 times
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A friend of mine is descended from John Sevier (early settler) and his version is that in the olden days signs were posted to the effect of "don't settle here, this is Indian territory". So the only people that settled were illiterate or lawbreakers.

That said, I like it here and prefer it to the hustle and bustle and over regimented lives found in other regions.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:24 PM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
7,137 posts, read 9,909,375 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastwestman View Post
A thread about the most backward places in the United States had a lot of members stating that The Appalachians was one of the most backward places in the U.S.A. Now certainly this is up for debate but it does appear that one reason for this stigma is lack the infrastucture, bad schools, etc...

My question is this: What or whom failed this part of the United States? Did it just come down to incompetent and / or uncaring political leadership?

One more thing, I know The Appalachians encompasses a very large area but I'm referring to the parts where abject poverty, bad schools and poor infrastructure exists.

Thank you
After the revolution most people still made a living by farming and people bought land for farms they never should have --- like extremely steep slopes with poor soil in the mountains! Not suprisingly one by one these farms failed (some families lasted longer of course) and the now poverty stricken families moved into the local towns. Not suprisingly anybody with money in those towns did not want to be surrounded by poverty so they moved on to nicer places. So it started a vicious circle --- the more farms that failed --- the more the whole area declined into total poverty.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:54 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,690 posts, read 89,213,000 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastwestman View Post
A thread about the most backward places in the United States had a lot of members stating that The Appalachians was one of the most backward places in the U.S.A. Now certainly this is up for debate but it does appear that one reason for this stigma is lack the infrastucture, bad schools, etc...

My question is this: What or whom failed this part of the United States? Did it just come down to incompetent and / or uncaring political leadership?

One more thing, I know The Appalachians encompasses a very large area but I'm referring to the parts where abject poverty, bad schools and poor infrastructure exists.

Thank you
Economics. Huge fortunes were made in Appalachia via resource extraction. Unfortunately for the Appalachians, much of the wealth was exported out of the area to the East Coast and into the pockets of railroad and timber and coal barons. After they made their fortunes and resource extraction wasn't as profitable as it used to be (or had become just plain depleted), the residents of Appalachia were left holding the bag. Nature is slowly reclaiming much of Appalachia and turning it back into what it was before people rushed in to make their fortunes or to just find work.
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:58 AM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,144,092 times
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The Appalachians breed tough, proud and liberty oriented folk, who have no great need for urban amenities and so called development. I should know, I am one of those folk.
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:31 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,690 posts, read 89,213,000 times
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Originally Posted by BayAreaHillbilly View Post
The Appalachians breed tough, proud and liberty oriented folk, who have no great need for urban amenities and so called development. I should know, I am one of those folk.
That's the romanticized version anyway. Unfortunately, a whole lot of those "tough, proud and liberty-oriented folk" have fallen into a cycle of welfare dependency and growing substance abuse problems that may well prove just as destructive to the social fabric as it has been in the inner city.
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Old 06-05-2009, 06:04 AM
 
61 posts, read 63,268 times
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*Flat land is more useful than mts
*No ports
*Coal biz killed by environmentalists
*Difficult transportation and communication (historically)
*Low IQ for whites
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Old 06-05-2009, 06:16 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
13,856 posts, read 22,969,835 times
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Many Appalachians descend from people who lived in the more violent parts of Ulster and Scotland. The culture they came with was somewhat clannish and distrustful. Then in the US they also at times existed as a "buffer zone" between North and South. The Civil War particularly highlights that.

The decline of coal, as mentioned, is also significant. Although even when coal was king many Appalachians lived poorly and were exploited by outside interests. Much of their history, even back to Britain, is either being exploited or exploiting others. (Catholics in Ulster, Cherokees here) So it's a brew that can lead to a certain xenophobia perhaps. Also offers of progress may be threatening to the family/kin element of the culture. As someone who lived in Northwest Arkansas, which has cultural similarities to Appalachia, I don't think the idea the "modern life" is alienating is entirely wrong. People there would gather together at church or homestead to talk, etc. Now even there people increasingly talk through devices and once small towns worry about traffic or kidnappings.

Not to overly romanticizes. Back then the folks there also hated blacks and Catholics, which is much less true today. Heck some of my relatives down home accept gay people, which kind of amazes me.
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