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| Not to be confused with Constitution Party (United States) or National Union Party (United States).|
Constitutional Union Party
John C. Breckinridge
Politics of United States
A Constitutional Union campaign poster for the 1860 election in which are shown John Bell (left), the presidential nominee; and Edward Everett, the vice presidential nominee
The Constitutional Union Party was a United States third party active during the 1860 elections. It consisted of conservative former Whigs, largely from the Southern United States, who wanted to avoid secession over the slavery issue and refused to join either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. The Constitutional Union Party campaigned on a simple platform “to recognize no political principle other than the Constitution of the country, the Union of the states, and the Enforcement of the Laws”.
The Whig Party had collapsed in the 1850s due to a series of sectional crises over slavery. Though some former Whigs joined the Democratic Party or the new, anti-slavery Republican Party, others joined the nativist American Party. The American Party collapsed following the 1856 elections, and in the lead-up to the 1860 elections John J. Crittenden and other former Whigs founded the Constitutional Union Party. The 1860 Constitutional Union Convention met in May 1860, nominating John Bell of Tennessee for president and Edward Everett of Massachusetts for vice president. Party leaders hoped to force a contingent election in the House of Representatives by denying any one candidate a majority in the Electoral College.
The 1860 election essentially consisted of two campaigns, as Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln competed with Northern Democratic candidate Stephen A. Douglas in the North, and Bell competed with Southern Democratic candidate John C. Breckinridge in the South. Ultimately, Lincoln won the election by winning nearly every Northern electoral vote. Bell took 12.6% of the nationwide popular vote, carried three states in the Upper South, and finished with the second highest vote total in each remaining slave state that held a popular vote. After the election, Crittenden and other Constitutional Unionists unsuccessfully sought to prevent a civil war with the Crittenden Compromise and the Peace Conference of 1861. Bell declared his support for the Confederacy following the Battle of Fort Sumter, but many other Constitutional Unionists remained loyal to the Union throughout the American Civil War.
3 National convention
4 1860 presidential election
7 See also
9 References 9.1 Works cited
10 External links
Further information: Whig Party (United States) § Decline
Results by county in the 1856 presidential election. Shades of yellow indicate counties that voted for American Party candidate Millard Fillmore. Many Fillmore supporters would later join the Constitutional Union Party.
The Constitutional Union Party had its roots in the Whig Party and the sectional crises of the 1850s. The Compromise of 1850 shook up partisan alignments in South, with elections being contested by unionists and extremist “Fire-Eaters” rather than Whigs and Democrats. The victory of pro-compromise Southern politicians in these elections, along with President Millard Fillmore‘s attempts at diligently enforcing the Fugitive Slave Clause, temporarily quieted Southern calls for secession. The debate over the Kansas–Nebraska Act again polarized legislators sectional lines, with Southern Whigs providing critical votes in the House as a narrow majority of Northern Democrats voted against it. A new, anti-slavery party known as the Republican Party was formed in May 1854. Republican leaders, including Abraham Lincoln, generally did not call for the abolition of slavery, but instead called for Congress to prevent the extension of slavery into the territories. By 1855, Republicans had replaced the Whigs as the main opposition to the Democrats in most Northern states. The nativist American Party displaced the Whigs in the remaining states; though some Democrats joined the American Party, in many Southern states the American Party consisted almost entirely of former Whigs.
The 1856 American National Convention nominated former President Fillmore for president in the 1856 presidential election; Fillmore also received the presidential nomination at the sparsely attended 1856 Whig National Convention. Many supporters of the American Party continued to identify primarily as Whigs, and Fillmore minimized the issue of nativism, instead attempting to use his campaign as a platform for unionism and a revival of the Whig Party. He finished in second in several states in the South and carried just a single state in the 1856 election, confirming that the Republican Party, rather than the American Party, would replace the Whigs as the main opposition to the Democrats. The American Party collapsed after the 1856 elections, and many Southern officeholders who refused to join the Democratic Party organized themselves into the Opposition Party.
Senator John J. Crittenden founded the party
Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky, Henry Clay‘s successor in border-state Whiggery, led a group of conservative, unionist congressmen in forming the Constitutional Union Party. At Crittenden’s behest, fifty former and current members of Congress met in Washington, D.C. in December 1859, where they agreed to form a new party dedicated to preserving the union and avoiding debates over slavery. The new party received the blessing of the respective national committees of the Whig Party and the American Party, and was officially formed on February 12, 1860.
Among the members of the new party’s executive committee were Crittenden, former Democratic Senator William Cabell Rives of Virginia, 1852 Whig vice presidential nominee William Alexander Graham of North Carolina, former Congressman John P. Kennedy of Maryland, and newspaper editor William Gannaway Brownlow of Tennessee. In the North, the party drew support from conservative former Whigs like Edward Everett and Robert Charles Winthrop. Many of these Northerners, including Everett, were followers of Daniel Webster, a Whig senator from Massachusetts who had died in 1852.
Party leaders did not expect to win the election outright, but instead sought to win states in the Upper South and the Lower North. They were particularly focused on Maryland, the lone state won by Fillmore in 1856, as well as Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Constitutional Unionists hoped to deny an electoral vote majority to any one candidate, thereby forcing a contingent election in the House of Representatives. Party leaders hoped that, in such a contingent election, the House would reject the other eligible candidates as too extreme and instead elect the Constitutional Union nominee.[a]
Main article: 1860 Constitutional Union Convention
Presidential nominee John Bell of Tennessee
The Constitutional Union national convention convened on May 9, 1860. Delegates came from 23 of the 33 states, though the vast majority of delegates came from the Upper South. As a large proportion of the delegates were over the age of sixty, some political opponents derided the Constitutional Unionists as the “Old Gentleman’s Party.” The party adopted a simple platform, stating that they would “recognize no political principle other than the Constitution…the Union…and the Enforcement of the Laws.” The party also established the National Central Executive Union Committee to wage the party’s election campaign; Congressman Alexander Boteler of Virginia was selected to head the committee.
Though the septuagenarian Crittenden was the acknowledged party leader, he declined to seek the presidential nomination due to his age. The two major contenders for the presidential nomination were former Senator John Bell of Tennessee and Governor Sam Houston of Texas. During his long career in the Whig Party, Bell had established a reputation as a moderate on the slavery issue, opposing both the Mexican–American War and the Kansas–Nebraska Act. Houston had served in two wars and had compiled a long political record as a leading member of the Democratic Party, and like Bell he had opposed the Kansas–Nebraska Act. However, his status a former protege of Andrew Jackson alienated many of the delegates, and Bell’s backers argued that Houston would have little appeal in the North. Aside from Bell and Houston, other potential candidates for the Constitutional Union presidential nomination included Everett, 1852 Whig nominee Winfield Scott, and Edward Bates of Missouri, who ultimately chose to support the Republican Party.
On the first presidential ballot, Bell won 68 1/2 votes compared to Houston’s 57, with the remainder of the delegates voting for Crittenden, Everett, and various favorite son candidates. Bell picked up support from dozens of delegates on the second ballot, thereby clinching the nomination. Houston refused to endorse Bell and ultimately declined to back any candidate in the 1860 election. Seeking to provide sectional balance to the ticket, the convention selected Everett as the party’s vice presidential nominee by acclamation. Everett reluctantly accepted the vice presidential nomination, as he felt that he had had a more accomplished career than Bell. With the nomination of two former Whigs, many regarded the Constitutional Union Party as a continuation of the Whig Party; one Southern newspaper called the new party the “ghost of the old Whig Party.”
1860 presidential election
Electoral votes in the 1860 presidential election
A split in the Democratic Party led to the nomination of two separate Democratic presidential candidates; Senator Stephen A. Douglas had the support of most Northern Democrats, while Vice President John C. Breckinridge garnered the backing of most Southern Democrats. Meanwhile, seeking to rally support in the Deep South, a group of Constitutional Unionists meeting in Alabama issued a platform holding that Congress and territorial legislatures could not prevent individuals from bringing slaves into the territories. This platform, though not adopted by the national party, badly damaged the standing of Constitutional Unionists in the North. Bell’s ownership of slaves further alienated Northerners, and his and Everett’s status as former Whigs limited the party’s ability to compete for the support of Northern Democrats. Thus, the 1860 presidential election essentially consisted of two separate campaigns. In the North, Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln faced Douglas, and in the South, the Constitutional Union ticket competed against Breckinridge.
Adhering to precedent, Bell remained at his home during the campaign, but Breckinridge and other party leaders gave numerous speeches. The party campaigned on the slogan, “the Union as it is, the Constitution as it is.” The party’s official lack of a stance on slavery positioned it between the Lincoln’s Republican Party, who campaigned on a platform against extending slavery to any new states or territories, and Breckinridge’s Southern Democrats, who favored allowing slavery in all territories. Historian Frank A. Towers writes that, “notwithstanding the nuances of local issues in selecting a president, voters could either endorse the compromise vision of the Union by choosing Douglas or Bell, or reject it by opting for Lincoln or Breckinridge.”[b] Southern Democrats attacked the Constitutional Union platform, arguing that the issue of slavery could not be ignored in the campaign. Constitutional Unionists responded by attacking Breckinridge (who publicly disavowed disunion) as a secessionist who had fallen under the influence of Fire-Eaters like William Lowndes Yancey. The party also attacked Lincoln as an inexperienced, sectional candidate whose election threatened to provoke the secession of the South.
Bell’s share of the vote by county in the 1860 presidential election.
Recognizing Lincoln’s likelihood of winning the election, some opponents of the Republican Party discussed the possibility of Bell, Breckinridge, and Douglas dropping out in favor of a new candidate, but Douglas and possibly Bell objected to this scheme. In August, August Belmont, the chairman of Douglas’s campaign, proposed an “entente cordiale” with the intent of denying Lincoln an electoral vote majority. After much negotiation, Douglas, Bell, and Breckinridge agreed to form a single fusion ticket in the state of New York. In the event of a fusion victory in the state, Douglas would receive eighteen electoral votes, Bell would receive ten electoral votes, and Breckinridge would receive seven electoral votes. Similar fusion tickets were established in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
Nationwide, Lincoln took 39.8% of the popular vote, while Douglas won 29.5% of the popular vote, Breckenridge won 18.1%, and Bell won 12.6%. Lincoln carried all but one Northern state, winning a majority of the electoral vote with 180 votes to 72 for Breckinridge, 39 for Bell, and 12 for Douglas. Lincoln won every county in New England and most of the remaining counties in the North, but he won just two of the 996 Southern counties. Lincoln won New York by a margin of 7.4 points; had he lost the state to the Fusion ticket, he would not have won a majority of the electoral vote and a contingent election would have been held in the House of Representatives. The vast majority of Bell’s support came from Southern voters, though he did win three percent of the vote in the North. Bell won a plurality of the vote in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia, and finished within five points of Breckinridge or Douglas in North Carolina, Maryland, Missouri, and Louisiana. Bell finished a distant second to Breckinridge in all of the remaining slave states except South Carolina, which did not hold a popular vote for president.
In addition to winning the presidency, the Republican Party made moderate gains in both the U.S. Senate and House in the 1860 elections, though Republicans failed to win a majority of seats in either. However, after southern Democrats withdrew to join the Confederacy, the party gained control of both chambers prior to the start of the 37th Congress. Democrats would have the second-largest number of members in both chambers, although many members identified as unionists rather than Democrats or Republicans.
During the American Civil War, some states from the Constitutional Union base in the Upper South seceded, but Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri all remained in the Union
Following Lincoln’s victory, several states in the Deep South seceded and formed the Confederate States of America, but the Upper South initially remained in the Union. Although some supporters of Breckinridge opposed secession and some supporters of Bell supported it, the secession movement was generally led by those who had voted for Breckindrige in the 1860 election, and efforts to avert secession in the South were generally led by those had voted for Bell. The Senate created the Committee of Thirteen, consisting of prominent senators such as Crittenden, Douglas, Democrat Robert Toombs of Georgia, and Republican Benjamin Wade of Ohio. Working closely with Douglas, Crittenden assumed leadership of the Committee of Thirteen even though he was not officially selected as the committee’s leader.
Crittenden proposed a package of six constitutional amendments, known as the Crittenden Compromise, that would forbid Congress from abolishing slavery in any state, protect slavery in federal territories south of the 36°30′ parallel, and prohibit it in territories north of that latitude. Crittenden’s compromise proved unacceptable to both Northern Republicans and Southern Democrats, and it failed to win approval from the Committee of Thirteen. In another attempt to avert secession, leading politicians in the Lower North and Upper South organized the Peace Conference of 1861. The convention proposed a package of seven constitutional amendments that were largely similar to the Crittenden Compromise. On the last day of the 36th United States Congress, both the Crittenden Compromise and the separate plan proposed at the Peace Convention were rejected in the House and the Senate.
The Civil War began with the Confederate attack of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. After Lincoln called up volunteers in response to the Battle of Fort Sumter, Bell declared his support for the Confederacy. Bell’s decision helped convince many other Constitutional Unionists and Southern moderates to support the Confederacy during the Civil War. Other party leaders, including Crittenden and Everett, remained loyal to the Union.
Further information: Southern Unionist and Border states (American Civil War)
Constitutional Unionists were influential in the Wheeling Convention, which led to the creation of the Union loyalist state of West Virginia, as well as in the declaration of the Kentucky General Assembly for the Union and winning Congressional elections in Kentucky and Maryland in June. Many border state Constitutional Unionists, including John Marshall Harlan, joined unionist parties that sprung up during the war. In Missouri, many of the party joined the new Unconditional Union Party headed by Francis P. Blair, Jr. and remained active in that state’s efforts to remain in the Union by overthrowing the elected government of Claiborne Jackson. Everett supported the Union and in 1863 gave a speech at Gettysburg before Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.
During Reconstruction, former Whigs and Constitutional Unionists constituted a majority of the scalawags (white members of the Republican Party) in almost every state in the South, joining the Republican Party at a higher rate than pre-war Democrats. Some of these scalawags continued to identify primarily as Whigs as late as the 1890s.
National Union Party (United States)
1860 United States presidential election
Unionist Party (United States)
In an alternative scenario envisioned by party leaders, the House would fail to elect a presidential candidate, and the presidency would instead go to whoever the Senate selected as vice president in a separate contingent election.
The Northern Democratic platform was officially committed to allowing slavery in the territories, but Douglas personally endorsed the doctrine of popular sovereignty in the territories through his Freeport Doctrine.
Smith, pp. 202–218.
Holt (2010), pp. 78-89
McPherson (1988), pp. 126.
McPherson (1988), p. 129.
McPherson (1988), pp. 140–141.
Holt (2010), pp. 91-94, 99, 106-109
Baggett (2004), pp. 32–33
Gara (1991), pp. 175–176.
Holt (2010), pp. 109-110
Parks (1950), p. 346
Green (2007), pp. 232–233
Haynes (2014), pp. 143–144
Baggett (2004), p. 33
Green (2007), p. 231
Wilentz (2006), p. 758
Egerton (2010), p. 88
McPherson (1988), pp. 221–223
Egerton (2010), pp. 89–90
Sheppard (2014), pp. 515–517
Egerton (2010), pp. 91–92
Green (2007), pp. 233–234
Green (2007), p. 238
Green (2007), pp. 234–236
Egerton (2010), pp. 94–95
Egerton (2010), pp. 91–92, 96
Egerton (2010), p. 96
Haley (2002), pp. 372–374
Egerton (2010), pp. 96–97
Egerton (2010), pp. 99–100
Egerton (2010), pp. 100–101
Egerton (2010), p. 101
Green (2007), pp. 238–240
Sheppard (2014), p. 505
Green (2007), pp. 237–238
Towers (2011), p. 121
Green (2007), p. 243
Green (2007), p. 244
Sheppard (2014), pp. 511–513
Egerton (2010), p. 192
“1860 Presidential General Election Results”. Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.
Paludan (1993), p. 5
Green (2007), p. 250
Green (2007), p. 251
White (2009), pp. 350–351.
“Congress Profiles: 37th Congress (1861–1863)”. Washington, D.C.: U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
“Party Division in the Senate, 1789-Present”. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Senate. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
White (2009), pp. 361–369.
Towers (2011), pp. 121–122
Egerton (2010), p. 288
Egerton (2010), pp. 294–295
White (2009), pp. 351–354.
Egerton (2010), pp. 297–298
Egerton (2010), pp. 307–308
Egerton (2010), pp. 311–313
Egerton (2010), p. 315
White (2009), pp. 406–407.
McPherson (1988), pp. 277–278
Baggett (2004), pp. 34–37
Baggett, James Alex (2004). The Scalawags: Southern Dissenters in the Civil War and Reconstruction. LSU Press. ISBN 9780807130148.
Egerton, Doulas R. (2010). Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 9781596916197.
Gara, Larry (1991). The Presidency of Franklin Pierce. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-0494-4.
Green, Don (Summer 2007). “Constitutional Unionists: The Party that Tried to Stop Lincoln and Save the Union”. The Historian. 69 (2): 231–253. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6563.2007.00179.x. JSTOR 24453660.
Haley, James L. (2002). Sam Houston. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-3644-8.
Haynes, Stan M. (2014). The First American Political Conventions: Transforming Presidential Nominations, 1832-1872. McFarland. ISBN 9780786490301.
Holt, Michael F. (2010). Franklin Pierce. The American Presidents (Kindle ed.). Henry Holt and Company, LLC. ISBN 978-0-8050-8719-2.
McPherson, James M. (1988). Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199743902.
Paludan, Phillip Shaw (1994). The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-0671-8.
Parks, Joseph (1950). John Bell of Tennessee. Louisiana State University Press.
Sheppard, Si (Winter 2014). “”Union for the Sake of the Union”: The Selection of Joseph Lane as Acting President of the United States, 1861″. Oregon Historical Quarterly. 115 (4): 502–529. doi:10.5403/oregonhistq.115.4.0502. JSTOR 10.5403/oregonhistq.115.4.0502.
Smith, Elbert B. (1988). The Presidencies of Zachary Taylor & Millard Fillmore. The American Presidency. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-0362-6.
Towers, Frank (Summer 2011). “Another Look at Inevitability: The Upper South and the Limits of Compromise in the Secession Crisis”. Tennessee Historical Quarterly. 70 (2): 108–125. JSTOR 42628747.
White, Jr., Ronald C. (2009). A. Lincoln: A Biography. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6499-1.
Wilentz, Sean (2006) . The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln (Illustrated ed.). W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393329216.
Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Constitutional Union Party.
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The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867
After the North defeated the South in the Civil War, politicians faced the task of putting the divided country back together. There was great debate about how severely the former Confederate states should be punished for leaving the Union. With the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865, it was up to President Andrew Johnson to try to reunite former enemies. The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 laid out the process for readmitting Southern states into the Union. The Fourteenth Amendment (1868) provided former slaves with national citizenship, and the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) granted black men the right to vote. These were only the first steps, however, toward reconstructing the fragmented nation.
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Jane Addams (on right) continued to fight for peace during her entire life.
Activist Jane Addams Was Born
September 6, 1860
As a young woman, Jane Addams did not know what she wanted to do with her life. Born September 6, 1860, in Cedarville, Illinois, Addams grew up in an era when women were expected to marry and raise children. Addams knew she wanted to do something different.
She found the inspiration that would lead her to fight for the rights of children, help the poor, and become the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
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TO YOU ALL GLORY
BECAUSE OF YOU
There is none beside thee
Who alone can save and deliver those forsaken of the earth;
Who alone can grab the whale by the tail
and toss it onto land where it withers and dies
from a thirst you relieve
To the heart of the strubborn man
the arch of Your benefits; the heights of glory both thine
and mine. Who alone dost care for the wicked and those that stumble in the dark
Keep With thy Ownself the hairs of our head
Atlanta Botanical Garden
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|Headquarters||Atlanta, Georgia Gainesville, Georgia|
|Key people||Mary Pat Matheson, CEO & President, |
Art Fix, COO
Gary Doubrava, CFO
Sabina Carr, VP Marketing
Leslie Myers, VP Institutional Advancement
Mildred Pinnell Fockele, VP Horticulture
Tracy Barlow McClendon, VP Education
Ronald Determann, VP Conservatories
Dr. Jenny Cruse-Sanders, VP Conservation & Research
|Revenue||23,287,994 US dollar (2016)|
|Number of employees||150+-|
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a 30 acres (12 ha) botanical garden located adjacent to Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Incorporated in 1976, the garden’s mission is to “develop and maintain plant collections for the purposes of display, education, conservation, research and enjoyment.”
- 2Chihuly in the Garden Exhibition
- 3Green Expansion Plan
- 4Canopy Walk
- 6See also
- 8External links
Following a petition by citizens of Atlanta in the year 1973, the garden was incorporated in 1976, as the private, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation Atlanta Botanical Garden Inc.. Within a year Bill Warner, previously employed at Holden Arboretum, was assigned office as the first executive director. He was soon followed by Ann L. Crammond in 1979. The following year marked a turning point in the history of the garden as a 50-year lease was negotiated with the city, securing the site of the Garden for years to come.
A number of promotional activities started taking place, including social events, major art exhibitions and the annual Garden of Eden Ball. The Atlanta Botanical Garden welcomed its 50,000th visitor within a mere three years after the lease was arranged – this was even before any permanent structures had been erected. In 1985, the Atlanta Botanical Garden built its first permanent structure, the Gardenhouse. Expansions following this were The Children’s Garden (1999), the Fuqua Conservatory in 1989, and the Fuqua Orchid Center which was added in 2002.
Blockbuster summertime exhibitions began in 2003 with TREEmendous TREEhouses. Chihuly in the Garden opened in 2004, while in 2005 Locomotion in the Garden featured G-scale model trains. On April 29, 2006, an exhibition of the sculpture of Niki de Saint Phalle opened to the public. These huge mosaic sculptures came to the Garden from France, Germany, and California. In 2007, the exhibition was David Rogers’ Big Bugs and Killer Plants, and 2008 is Sculpture in Motion, Art Choreographed by Nature, a display of moving, kinetic art. In 2009, the Garden hosted an exhibition of the monumental bronze sculptures of Henry Moore. The summers of 2010 and 2011 showcased the Garden’s green expansion (see below), and in 2012, the Garden hosted Independent Visions, an exhibition of contemporary sculptures by nine artists. In 2013, the Garden will unveil Imaginary Worlds: Plants Larger than Life, made up of 19 mosaic culture sculptures. In 2016, Chihuly in the Garden open again with 19 installations throughout the Garden.
In the winter the Garden has a holiday light show. “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights” began in 2011 featuring displays created with more than 1 million lights, most of them LED. The following year, the show grew to more than 1.5 million lights and attracted more than 160,000 visitors.
Chihuly in the Garden Exhibition
In 2004, the Atlanta Botanical Garden hosted an exhibition of glass art by Dale Chihuly titled “Chihuly in the Garden”. The exhibit ran through the end of October and was extended until December 31, 2004. During the eight-month run, an estimated 425,000 attendees visited the exhibit. The peak per-day rates of 7,500 were double the previous single-day attendance record at the Garden. Chihuly in the Garden returned to the Atlanta location on April 30, 2016 with 19 new installations.
Green Expansion Plan
The Green Expansion Plan was a large-scale expansion project that was completed in the spring of 2010 that doubled the size of the Garden while modernizing them at the same time. The expansion plan encompassed the construction of a number of new facilities, the most noticeable of which are the new visitor center and 600-foot-long (180 m) canopy walk.
The plan was built around five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. By employing an array of energy-saving strategies with environmental sustainability considered throughout the project and recycling any trees removed as a result of construction, considerable efforts were made to make this expansion eco-friendly. A 100,000-gallon cistern was installed underground in December 2007 to aid in water conservation; the cistern fills with only an inch and a quarter of rain and waters about 40% of the new gardens.
One striking feature of the new visitor center is the innovative green roof, with plants covering nearly 50% of the roof area. It provides natural cooling, sound insulation and additional garden area for visitors, and even a new wildlife habitat. The visitor center leads visitors to the canopy walk.
The garden’s old parking lot is now a beautiful Edible Garden featuring an outdoor kitchen; this new garden reconnects people with food and healthful eating. And the final aspect of the garden expansion plan is the conversion of its old entry drive to a large cascades garden filled with tropical plants and gently flowing waterfalls.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is home to the Kendeda Canopy Walk, a 600-foot-long (180 m) skywalk that allows the visitors to tour one of the city’s last remaining urban forests from around 40 feet in the air through the treetops of the Storza Woods. The skywalk extends from a bluff in the Garden into the branches of oaks, hickories and poplars. The structure also provides an aerial view of the woodland garden below.Atlanta Botanical Garden canopy walk
The Canopy Walk was built for $55 million and opened in 2010. It was originally set to open in 2009, but during its construction in 2008, the skywalk collapsed, killing one worker and injuring 18 others.Because of the uniqueness of the Canopy Walk, city leaders believe it will become an icon for Atlanta.
The Botanical Garden is composed of a number of smaller themed gardens. Each contains different landscapes to display a variety of plants. Near the entrance are formal gardens, such as the Japanese garden and the rose garden. Two woodland areas, the 5 acres (20,000 m2) Upper Woodland and the 10 acres (40,000 m2) Storza Woods feature large trees and shade-loving flowers and undergrowth. The Children’s Garden features whimsical sculptures, fountains, and interpretive exhibits on botany, ecology, and nutrition.
The 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2) Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory contains indoor exhibits of plants from tropical rainforests and deserts. The rain forest room of the Fuqua Conservatory is also populated by tropical birds, turtles, and several exhibits of poison dart frogs, the last of which is a collaboration in conservation efforts with Zoo Atlanta. Adjoining this building, the Fuqua Orchid Center contains separate rooms simulating the tropics and high elevations in order to house rare orchids from around the world.
The Fuqua Orchid Center is home to the largest collection of species orchids on permanent display in the U.S. and hosts a wintertime display known as Orchid Daze. Its unique Tropical High Elevation House provides the correct habitat for montane orchids and companion plants from around the equator at elevations of 6,000 to 10,000 feet. An Air Washer System, technology adapted from the textile industry, was combined with traditional greenhouse heating and cooling to create this environment and allows rare orchids to thrive. The Tropical Display House is filled with fragrant orchids from around the world.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Atlanta Botanical Garden.|
- ^ Atlanta Botanical Garden Website, Mission and History page, Atlantabg.org, Retrieved 2008-08-27
- ^ “Canopy Walk – Atlanta Botanical Garden”. Atlanta Botanical Garden.
- ^ Cook, Rhonda (2010 December 09). Another lawsuit filed in 2008 collapse of Botanical Gardens Canopy Walk, Ajc.com
- ^ Gumbrecht, Jamie (2010 February 11).PHOTO: Botanical Garden walkway construction continues Archived 2011-12-30 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ “Canopy Walk – Atlanta Botanical Garden”. Web.archive.org. 24 July 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
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Posey County, Indiana
|Posey County Courthouse in Mount Vernon, Indiana|
|Location within the U.S. state of Indiana|
Indiana’s location within the U.S.
|Coordinates: 38°01′N 87°52′W|
|Founded||November 11, 1814|
|Named for||General Thomas Posey|
|Largest city||Mount Vernon|
|• Total||419.32 sq mi (1,086.0 km2)|
|• Land||409.57 sq mi (1,060.8 km2)|
|• Water||9.75 sq mi (25.3 km2) 2.33%%|
|• Estimate (2018)||25,540|
|• Density||63/sq mi (24.49/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
|Indiana county number 65Southernmost county in IndianaWesternmost county in IndianaLowest point in Indiana located at County’s southwestern tip.|
Posey County is a county located in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Indiana. Its southern border is formed by the Ohio River, and the western border by the Wabash River, a tributary. As of 2010, the population was 25,910. The county seat is Mount Vernon.
Posey County is part of the Evansville, IN–KY Metropolitan Statistical Area. The Ports of Indiana-Mt. Vernon, on the Ohio River, is the seventh largest inland port in the nation, and important to the economy of the state as well as the county.
- 4Climate and weather
- 8Tourism & recreation
- 9Representation in other media
- 10See also
- 12External links
After the American Revolutionary War, Posey County was originally considered part of the Northwest Territory of the United States. It was organized on November 11, 1814, from Gibson and Warrick counties. It was named for Revolutionary War Gen. Thomas Posey, who was then serving as Governor of the Indiana Territory. Mount Vernon was designated as the county seat in 1825. Its port on the Ohio River continues to be integral to the economy of the state and county.
Like other parts of southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, Posey County was settled by many migrants from the Upper South. Many pioneers had arrived by the Ohio River. The county was developed largely for farming. In the mid- to late 19th century, the county received many German immigrants, whose descendants make up a large portion of the county population. The river port had rougher areas of vice, and a higher population of single men, as was typical. African Americans were among the men who worked on ships and at the port.
In October 1878, a mob of 200–300 whites lynched five African-American men, taking them from jail in Mount Vernon, the county seat, and hanging them from trees on the county courthouse grounds. The mob then shot the bodies many times. Four of the men had been indicted as suspects in the rape of three white prostitutes, while the fifth man was killed because he had fatally shot a deputy who tried to arrest his son. Before they left, the mob killed two more African Americans, throwing one to his death into a train’s steam engine. This was the largest lynching of African Americans ever recorded in Indiana’s history. No one in the mob was prosecuted, and at each court session for the next three years, the prosecutor asked the judge to “set the case over to the next session”.
A grand jury was called to investigate the mob action, but with an election pending for the prosecuting attorney, no one was ever indicted. Following years of research, Posey County judge Jim Redwine wrote a novel called Judge Lynch! (2008), based on the events. Redwine sometimes lectures on the riot, inviting his audience to imagine how they would have acted and stressing the injustice done to the African Americans who were denied the right to a fair trial.
Mechanization of dock technology has altered the number of workers at the port, but Posey County is still the seventh-largest internal port in the United States, based on the tons of materials handled. Grain from the Midwest is among the products shipped from here.
According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 419.32 square miles (1,086.0 km2), of which 409.57 square miles (1,060.8 km2) (or 97.67%) is land and 9.75 square miles (25.3 km2) (or 2.33%) is water.The lowest point in the state of Indiana is located on the Ohio River in Posey County, where the Wabash River flows into it.
- Gibson County – north and northeast
- Vanderburgh County – east
- Henderson County, Kentucky – southeast
- Union County, Kentucky – south
- Gallatin County, Illinois – southwest
- White County, Illinois – west and northwest
Cities and towns
Other unincorporated places
- Dead Mans Crossing
- Marrs Center
- New Baltimore
- Oak Grove
- Philip Station
- St. Philip
- St. Wendel
- Welborn Switch
- West Franklin
- Ports of Indiana-Mt. Vernon is “the 7th largest inland port in the United States and serves as a major multi-modal hub for the region.” It handles more than 4 million trip tons of cargo annually. Southwind Maritime Center is the name of a related port facility, now considered within the complex. This port facility is important to the economy of the state of Indiana as well as to Posey County. It handles shipping of grain, grain products, coal, fertilizer, cement and minerals, from a region that produces a large amount of grain. This is the largest public port within 175 miles of the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
Climate and weather
|Mount Vernon, Indiana|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
|JFMAMJJASOND 3.4 3823 3.2 4426 4.6 5435 4.4 6545 5.4 7555 4 8464 4.1 8768 3 8665 2.7 8058 2.9 6946 4.4 5537 3.7 4327Average max. and min. temperatures in °FPrecipitation totals in inchesSource: The Weather Channel|
In recent years, average temperatures in Mount Vernon have ranged from a low of 23 °F (−5 °C) in January to a high of 87 °F (31 °C) in July, although a record low of −21 °F (−29 °C) was recorded in January 1912 and a record high of 109 °F (43 °C) was recorded in July 1901. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.65 inches (67 mm) in September to 5.38 inches (137 mm) in May.
See also: Government of Indiana
County Council: The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. Representatives are elected from single-member districts of roughly equal population in the county. The council members serve four-year terms. Together they set salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes, and service taxes.
Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected at-large or county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four-year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, collecting revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.
Court: The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some civil cases. The judge on the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. The judge is assisted by a constable, who is also elected to a four-year term. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.
County Officials: The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk Each of these elected officers serves a term of four years and oversees a different part of county government. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and to be residents of the county.showPresidential elections results
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 25,910 people, 10,171 households, and 7,442 families residing in the county. The population density was 63.3 inhabitants per square mile (24.4/km2). There were 11,207 housing units at an average density of 27.4 per square mile (10.6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.2% white, 0.9% black or African American, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.0% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 43.6% were German, 13.6% were American, 11.6% were Irish, and 11.2% were English.
Of the 10,171 households, 32.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.4% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 26.8% were non-families, and 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 2.97. The median age was 41.6 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $68,722. Males had a median income of $55,786 versus $32,747 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,727. About 6.0% of families and 8.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.
Tourism & recreation
- Posey County Stockyard – Adult Entertainment
- Visit Posey County – Posey County 
- Brittlebank Park – Mount Vernon
- Harmonie State Park – New Harmony
- Hovey Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area – Mount Vernon 
- New Harmony Historic District  – New Harmony
- Sherburne Park – Mount Vernon
Representation in other media
- Posey County Judge James M. Redwine wrote a novel, Judge Lynch! (2008), based on the 1878 lynchings of seven African-American men in Mt. Vernon.
- Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival – Griffin, Indiana.
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Posey County, Indiana
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Posey County QuickFacts”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
- ^ “Find a County”. National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- ^ De Witt Clinton Goodrich & Charles Richard Tuttle (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indiana: R. S. Peale & co. p. 570.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Barry Cleveland, “Seven killed in Posey County violence”, Carmi Times, 07 February 2011; accessed 31 May 2018
- ^ Lynching in America; Supplement: Lynching by County, 3rd edition, 2017, Montgomery, Alabama: Equal Justice Initiative, p. 5✎ EditSign
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 – County”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Ports of Indiana-Mt. Vernon website
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Monthly Averages for Mount Vernon, Indiana”. The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Indiana Code. “Title 36, Article 2, Section 3”. IN.gov. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Indiana Code. “Title 2, Article 10, Section 2”✎ EditSign (PDF). IN.gov. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- ^ Leip, David. “Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections”. uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
- ^ “Population and Housing Unit Estimates”. Retrieved July 26,2019.
- ^ “U.S. Decennial Census”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- ^ “Historical Census Browser”. University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- ^ “Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- ^ “Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000”✎ EditSign (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c “DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- ^ “DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- ^ “DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- ^ James M. Redwine, Judge Lynch!, AuthorHouse, 2008
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Midwestern United States
|Midwestern United States|
|Left-right from top: Chicago skyline, Bison in Badlands National Park, Jay Cooke State Park, Cornfields in Illinois, Gateway Arch, Huron River in the Upper Peninsula, Detroit skyline|
|Regional definitions vary slightly among sources. This map reflects the Midwestern United States as defined by the Census Bureau, which is followed in many sources.|
|States||Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Michigan Minnesota Missouri Nebraska North Dakota Ohio South Dakota Wisconsin|
|Largest metro MSA||ChicagoDetroitMinneapolis–St. PaulSt. LouisKansas CityCleveland|
|Largest cities||ChicagoColumbusIndianapolisDetroitMilwaukeeKansas CityOmaha|
The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the American Midwest, Middle West, or simply the Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau (also known as “Region 2”). It occupies the northern central part of the United States. It was officially named the North Central Region by the Census Bureau until 1984. It is located between the Northeastern United States and the Western United States, with Canada to its north and the Southern United States to its south.
The Census Bureau’s definition consists of 12 states in the north central United States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The region generally lies on the broad Interior Plain between the states occupying the Appalachian Mountain range and the states occupying the Rocky Mountain range. Major rivers in the region include, from east to west, the Ohio River, the Upper Mississippi River, and the Missouri River. A 2012 report from the United States Census put the population of the Midwest at 65,377,684. The Midwest is divided by the Census Bureau into two divisions. The East North Central Division includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, all of which are also part of the Great Lakes region. The West North Central Division includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, and South Dakota, several of which are located, at least partly, within the Great Plains region.
Chicago is the most populous city in the American Midwest and the third most populous in the entire country. Other large Midwestern cities include (in order by population): Columbus, Indianapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Omaha, Minneapolis, Wichita, Cleveland, St. Paul, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Madison, and Des Moines. Chicago and its suburbs form the largest metropolitan statistical area with 9.9 million people, followed by Metro Detroit, Minneapolis–St. Paul, Greater St. Louis, Greater Cleveland, Greater Cincinnati, the Kansas City metro area, and the Columbus metro area.
- 3Physical geography
- 4Pre-Columbian history
- 5.1Great Lakes Native Americans
- 5.2Great Plains Indians
- 5.3European Exploration and Early Settlement
- 5.4The Middle Ground
- 5.5The Fur Trade
- 5.6American settlement
- 5.7Development of transportation
- 5.8American Civil War
- 5.9Immigration and industrialization
- 5.10History of the term Midwest
- 9Major metropolitan areas
- 10State population
- 12See also
- 15Further reading
- 16External links
The term Midwestern has been in use since the 1880s to refer to portions of the central United States. A variant term, Middle West, has been used since the 19th century and remains relatively common. Another term sometimes applied to the same general region is the heartland. Other designations for the region have fallen out of use, such as the Northwest or Old Northwest (from “Northwest Territory“) and Mid-America. The Northwest Territory (1787) was one of the earliest territories of the United States, stretching northwest from the Ohio River to northern Minnesota and the upper-Mississippi. The upper-Mississippi watershed including the Missouri and Illinois Rivers was the setting for the earlier French settlements of the Illinois Country and the Ohio Country.
Economically the region is balanced between heavy industry and agriculture (large sections of this land area make up the United States’ Corn Belt), with finance and services such as medicine and education becoming increasingly important. Its central location makes it a transportation crossroads for river boats, railroads, autos, trucks, and airplanes. Politically, the region swings back and forth between the parties, and thus is heavily contested and often decisive in elections.
After the sociological study Middletown (1929), which was based on Muncie, Indiana, commentators used Midwestern cities (and the Midwest generally) as “typical” of the nation. Earlier, the rhetorical question, “Will it play in Peoria?”, had become a stock phrase using Peoria, Illinois to signal whether something would appeal to mainstream America. The region has a higher employment-to-population ratio (the percentage of employed people at least 16 years-old) than the Northeast, the West, the South, or the Sun Belt states as of 2011.
Traditional definitions of the Midwest include the Northwest Ordinance Old Northwest states and many states that were part of the Louisiana Purchase. The states of the Old Northwest are also known as Great Lakes states and are east-north central in the United States. The Ohio River runs along the southeastern section while the Mississippi River runs north to south near the center. Many of the Louisiana Purchase states in the west-north central United States, are also known as Great Plains states, where the Missouri River is a major waterway joining with the Mississippi. The Midwest lies north of the 36°30′ parallel that the 1820 Missouri Compromise established as the dividing line between future slave and non-slave states.
- Illinois: Old Northwest, Mississippi River (Missouri River joins near the state border), Ohio River, and Great Lakes state
- Indiana: Old Northwest, Ohio River, and Great Lakes state
- Iowa: Louisiana Purchase, Mississippi River, and Missouri River state
- Kansas: Louisiana Purchase, Great Plains, and Missouri River state
- Michigan: Old Northwest and Great Lakes state
- Minnesota: Old Northwest, Louisiana Purchase, Mississippi River, part of Red River Colony before 1818, Great Lakes state
- Missouri: Louisiana Purchase, Mississippi River (Ohio River joins near the state border), Missouri River, and border state
- Nebraska: Louisiana Purchase, Great Plains, and Missouri River state
- North Dakota: Louisiana Purchase, part of Red River Colony before 1818, Great Plains, and Missouri River state
- Ohio: Old Northwest (Historic Connecticut Western Reserve), Ohio River, and Great Lakes state. The southeastern part of the state is part of northern Appalachia
- South Dakota: Louisiana Purchase, Great Plains, and Missouri River state
- Wisconsin: Old Northwest, Mississippi River, and Great Lakes state
Various organizations define the Midwest with slightly different groups of states. For example, the Council of State Governments, an organization for communication and coordination among state governments, includes in its Midwest regional office eleven states from the above list, omitting Missouri, which is in the CSG South region. The Midwest Region of the National Park Service consists of these twelve states plus the state of Arkansas. The Midwest Archives Conference, a professional archives organization, with hundreds of archivists, curators, and information professionals as members, covers the above twelve states plus Kentucky.
Main articles: Geography of Illinois, Geography of Indiana, Geography of Iowa, Geography of Kansas, Geography of Michigan, Geography of Minnesota, Geography of Missouri, Geography of Nebraska, Geography of North Dakota, Geography of Ohio, Geography of South Dakota, and Geography of WisconsinThe Driftless Area as viewed from Wildcat Mountain State Park in Vernon County, WisconsinFlint Hills grasslands of KansasTheodore Roosevelt National Park, North DakotaPrairie in Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa
The vast central area of the U.S., into Canada, is a landscape of low, flat to rolling terrain in the Interior Plains. Most of its eastern two-thirds form the Interior Lowlands. The Lowlands gradually rise westward, from a line passing through eastern Kansas, up to over 5,000 feet (1,500 m) in the unit known as the Great Plains. Most of the Great Plains area is now farmed.
While these states are for the most part relatively flat, consisting either of plains or of rolling and small hills, there is a measure of geographical variation. In particular, the following areas exhibit a high degree of topographical variety: the eastern Midwest near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains; the Great Lakes Basin; the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri; the rugged topography of Southern Indiana and Southern Illinois; and the Driftless Area of northwestern Illinois, southwestern Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, and northeastern Iowa.
Proceeding westward, the Appalachian Plateau topography gradually gives way to gently rolling hills and then (in central Ohio) to flat lands converted principally to farms and urban areas. This is the beginning of the vast Interior Plains of North America. As a result, prairies cover most of the Great Plains states. Iowa and much of Illinois lie within an area called the prairie peninsula, an eastward extension of prairies that borders conifer and mixed forests to the north, and hardwood deciduous forests to the east and south.
Geographers subdivide the Interior Plains into the Interior Lowlands and the Great Plains on the basis of elevation. The Lowlands are mostly below 1,500 feet (460 m) above sea level whereas the Great Plains to the west are higher, rising in Colorado to around 5,000 feet (1,500 m). The Lowlands, then, are confined to parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Missouri and Arkansas have regions of Lowlands elevations, but in the Ozarks (within the Interior Highlands) are higher. Those familiar with the topography of eastern Ohio may be confused by this; that region is hilly, but its rocks are horizontal and are an extension of the Appalachian Plateau.
The Interior Plains are largely coincident with the vast Mississippi River Drainage System (other major components are the Missouri and Ohio Rivers). These rivers have for tens of millions of years been eroding downward into the mostly horizontal sedimentary rocks of Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic ages. The modern Mississippi River system has developed during the Pleistocene Epoch of the Cenozoic.
Rainfall decreases from east to west, resulting in different types of prairies, with the tallgrass prairie in the wetter eastern region, mixed-grass prairie in the central Great Plains, and shortgrass prairie towards the rain shadow of the Rockies. Today, these three prairie types largely correspond to the corn/soybean area, the wheat belt, and the western rangelands, respectively.
Although hardwood forests in the northern Midwest were clear-cut in the late 19th century, they were replaced by new growth. Ohio and Michigan’s forests are still growing. The majority of the Midwest can now be categorized as urbanized areas or pastoral agricultural areas.
Main article: Mississippian culture
Among the American Indians Paleo-Indian cultures were the earliest in North America, with a presence in the Great Plains and Great Lakes areas from about 12,000 BCE to around 8,000 BCE.Monks Mound, located at the Cahokia Mounds near Collinsville, Illinois, is the largest Pre-Columbian earthwork in America north of Mesoamerica and a World Heritage Site
Following the Paleo-Indian period is the Archaic period (8,000 BCE to 1,000 BCE), the Woodland Tradition (1,000 BCE to 100 CE), and the Mississippian Period (900 to 1500 CE). Archaeological evidence indicates that Mississippian culture traits probably began in the St. Louis, Missouri area and spread northwest along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and entered the state along the Kankakee River system. It also spread northward into Indiana along the Wabash, Tippecanoe, and White Rivers.
Mississippian peoples in the Midwest were mostly farmers who followed the rich, flat floodplains of Midwestern rivers. They brought with them a well-developed agricultural complex based on three major crops—maize, beans, and squash. Maize, or corn, was the primary crop of Mississippian farmers. They gathered a wide variety of seeds, nuts, and berries, and fished and hunted for fowl to supplement their diets. With such an intensive form of agriculture, this culture supported large populations.
The Mississippi period was characterized by a mound-building culture. The Mississippians suffered a tremendous population decline about 1400, coinciding with the global climate change of the Little Ice Age. Their culture effectively ended before 1492.
Great Lakes Native Americans
The major tribes of the Great Lakes region included the Hurons, Ottawa, Chippewas or Ojibwas, Potawatomis, Winnebago (Ho-chunk), Menominees, Sacs, Neutrals, Fox, and the Miami. Most numerous were the Hurons and Chippewas. Fighting and battle were often launched between tribes, with the losers forced to flee.
Most are of the Algonquian language family. Some tribes—such as the Stockbridge-Munsee and the Brothertown—are also Algonkian-speaking tribes who relocated from the eastern seaboard to the Great Lakes region in the 19th century. The Oneida belong to the Iroquois language group and the Ho-Chunk of Wisconsin are one of the few Great Lakes tribes to speak a Siouan language. American Indians in this area did not develop a written form of language.Winnebago family (1852)
In the 16th century, American Indians used projectiles and tools of stone, bone, and wood to hunt and farm. They made canoes for fishing. Most of them lived in oval or conical wigwams that could be easily moved away. Various tribes had different ways of living. The Ojibwas were primarily hunters and fishing was also important in the Ojibwas economy. Other tribes such as Sac, Fox, and Miami, both hunted and farmed.
They were oriented toward the open prairies where they engaged in communal hunts for buffalo (bison). In the northern forests, the Ottawas and Potawatomis separated into small family groups for hunting. The Winnebagos and Menominees used both hunting methods interchangeably and built up widespread trade networks extending as far west as the Rockies, north to the Great Lakes, south to the Gulf of Mexico, and east to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Hurons reckoned descent through the female line, while the others favored the patrilineal method. All tribes were governed under chiefdoms or complex chiefdoms. For example, Hurons were divided into matrilineal clans, each represented by a chief in the town council, where they met with a town chief on civic matters. But Chippewa people’s social and political life was simpler than that of settled tribes.
The religious beliefs varied among tribes. Hurons believed in Yoscaha, a supernatural being who lived in the sky and was believed to have created the world and the Huron people. At death, Hurons thought the soul left the body to live in a village in the sky. Chippewas were a deeply religious people who believed in the Great Spirit. They worshiped the Great Spirit through all their seasonal activities, and viewed religion as a private matter: Each person’s relation with his personal guardian spirit was part of his thinking every day of life. Ottawa and Potawatomi people had very similar religious beliefs to those of the Chippewas.
In the Ohio River Valley, the dominant food supply was not hunting but agriculture. There were orchards and fields of crops that were maintained by indigenous women. Corn was their most important crop.
Great Plains Indians
Main article: Plains IndiansYoung Oglala Lakota girl in front of tipi with puppy beside her, probably on or near Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South DakotaCumulus clouds hover above a yellowish prairie at Badlands National Park, South Dakota, native lands to the Sioux.
The Plains Indians are the indigenous peoples who live on the plains and rolling hills of the Great Plains of North America. Their colorful equestrian culture and famous conflicts with settlers and the US Army have made the Plains Indians archetypical in literature and art for American Indians everywhere.
Plains Indians are usually divided into two broad classifications, with some degree of overlap. The first group were fully nomadic, following the vast herds of buffalo. Some tribes occasionally engaged in agriculture, growing tobacco and corn primarily. These included the Blackfoot, Arapaho, Assiniboine, Cheyenne, Comanche, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kiowa, Lakota, Lipan, Plains Apache (or Kiowa Apache), Plains Cree, Plains Ojibwe, Sarsi, Shoshone, Stoney, and Tonkawa.
The second group of Plains Indians (sometimes referred to as Prairie Indians) were the semi-sedentary tribes who, in addition to hunting buffalo, lived in villages and raised crops. These included the Arikara, Hidatsa, Iowa, Kaw (or Kansa), Kitsai, Mandan, Missouria, Nez Perce, Omaha, Osage, Otoe, Pawnee, Ponca, Quapaw, Santee, Wichita, and Yankton.
The nomadic tribes of the Great Plains survived on hunting, some of their major hunts centered on deer and buffalo. Some tribes are described as part of the ‘Buffalo Culture’ (sometimes called, for the American Bison). Although the Plains Indians hunted other animals, such as elk or antelope, bison was their primary game food source. Bison flesh, hide, and bones from Bison hunting provided the chief source of raw materials for items that Plains Indians made, including food, cups, decorations, crafting tools, knives, and clothing.
The tribes followed the bison’s seasonal grazing and migration. The Plains Indians lived in teepees because they were easily disassembled and allowed the nomadic life of following game. When Spanish horses were obtained, the Plains tribes rapidly integrated them into their daily lives. By the early 18th century, many tribes had fully adopted a horse culture. Before their adoption of guns, the Plains Indians hunted with spears, bows, and bows and arrows, and various forms of clubs. The use of horses by the Plains Indians made hunting (and warfare) much easier.
Among the most powerful and dominant tribes were the Dakota or Sioux, who occupied large amounts of territory in the Great Plains of the Midwest. The area of the Great Sioux Nation spread throughout the South and Midwest, up into the areas of Minnesota and stretching out west into the Rocky Mountains. At the same time, they occupied the heart of prime buffalo range, and also an excellent region for furs they could sell to French and American traders for goods such as guns. The Sioux (Dakota) became the most powerful of the Plains tribes and the greatest threat to American expansion.
The Sioux comprise three major divisions based on Siouan dialect and subculture:
- Isáŋyathi or Isáŋathi (“Knife”): residing in the extreme east of the Dakotas, Minnesota and northern Iowa, and are often referred to as the Santee or Eastern Dakota.
- Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋ and Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna (“Village-at-the-end” and “little village-at-the-end”): residing in the Minnesota River area, they are considered the middle Sioux, and are often referred to as the Yankton and the Yanktonai, or, collectively, as the Wičhíyena (endonym) or the Western Dakota (and have been erroneously classified as Nakota).
- Thítȟuŋwaŋ or Teton (uncertain): the westernmost Sioux, known for their hunting and warrior culture, are often referred to as the Lakota.
Today, the Sioux maintain many separate tribal governments scattered across several reservations, communities, and reserves in the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Montana in the United States, as well as Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan in Canada.
European Exploration and Early Settlement
Main article: New France
European settlement of the area began in the 17th century following French exploration of the region and became known as New France. The French period began with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with their expulsion by the British, who split New France with Spain in 1763.
Marquette and Jolliet
In 1673, the governor of New France sent Jacques Marquette, a Catholic priest and missionary, and Louis Jolliet, a fur trader to map the way to the Northwest Passage to the Pacific. They traveled through Michigan’s upper peninsula to the northern tip of Lake Michigan. On canoes, they crossed the massive lake and landed at present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin. They entered the Mississippi River on June 17, 1673.
Marquette and Jolliet soon realized that the Mississippi could not possibly be the Northwest Passage because it flowed south. Nevertheless, the journey continued. They recorded much of the wildlife they encountered. They turned around at the junction of the Mississippi River and Arkansas River and headed back.
Marquette and Jolliet were the first to map the northern portion of the Mississippi River. They confirmed that it was easy to travel from the St. Lawrence River through the Great Lakes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico by water, that the native peoples who lived along the route were generally friendly, and that the natural resources of the lands in between were extraordinary. New France officials led by LaSalle followed up and erected a 4,000-mile network of fur trading posts.
The Middle Ground
The theory of the middle ground was introduced in Richard White’s seminal work: The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 originally published in 1991. White defines the middle ground like so:
The middle ground is the place in between cultures, peoples, and in between empires and the non state world of villages. It is a place where many of the North American subjects and allies of empires lived. It is the area between the historical foreground of European invasion and occupation and the background of Indian defeat and retreat.— Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815, p. XXVI
White specifically designates “the lands bordering the rivers flowing into the northern Great Lakes and the lands south of the lakes to the Ohio” as the location of the middle ground. This includes the modern Midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan as well as parts of Canada.
The middle ground was formed on the foundations of mutual accommodation and common meanings established between the French and the Indians that then transformed and degraded as both were steadily lost in the transition of imperial power from the French to the British and, finally, to the United States.
Major aspects of the middle ground include blended culture, the fur trade, Native alliances with both the French and British, conflicts and treaties with the United States both during the American Revolution and after, and its ultimate clearing/erasure throughout the nineteenth century.
The Fur Trade
Main article: North American fur trade
The fur trade was an integral part of early European and Indian relations. It was the foundation upon which their interactions were built and was a system that would evolve over time.
The French and Indian exchange of goods was called an exchange of gifts rather than a trade. These gifts held greater meaning to the relationship between the two than a simple economic exchange because the trade itself was inseparable from the social relations it fostered and the alliance it created. In the meshed French and Algonquian system of trade, the Algonquian familial metaphor of a father and his children shaped the political relationship between the French and the Natives in this region. The French, regarded as the metaphoric father, were expected to provide for the needs of the Algonquians and, in return, the Algonquians, the metaphoric children, would be obligated to assist and obey them. Traders coming into Indian villages facilitated this system of symbolic exchange to establish or maintain alliances and friendships.
Marriage also became an important aspect of the trade in both the Ohio River valley and the French pays d’en haut with the temporary closing of the French fur trade from 1690 to 1716 and beyond. French fur traders were forced to abandon most posts and those remaining in the region became illegal traders who potentially sought these marriages to secure their safety. Another benefit for French traders marrying Indian women was that the Indian women were in charge of the processing of the pelts necessary to the fur trade. Women were integral to the fur trade and their contributions were lauded, so much so that the absence of the involvement of an Indian Woman was once cited as the cause for a trader’s failure. When the French fur trade re-opened in 1716 upon the discovery that their overstock of pelts had been ruined, legal French traders continued to marry Indian women and remain in their villages. With the growing influence of women in the fur trade also came the increasing demand of cloth which very quickly grew to be the most desired trade good.
Great Britain entered the Ohio country as a serious competitor in the fur trade around the 1690s. The British almost consistently offered the Indians better goods and better rates than the French and the Indians were able to play that to their advantage, throwing the French and the British into competition with each other to their own benefit. The Indian demand for certain kinds of cloth in particular fueled this competition. This, however, changed following the Seven Years’ War with Britain’s victory over France and the cession of New France to Great Britain.
Britain tried to enforce imperialism over the Indians of the pays d’en haut and force the relationship between them into the roles of conqueror and subject and eliminated the practice of gift giving. This, in combination with an underwhelming trade with too much whiskey, too high of prices, and not enough of anything else led to unrest among the Indians that was exacerbated by the decision to significantly cut down on the trade of rum, a product they had been pushing in the trade for years. This all would culminate in Pontiac’s Rebellionduring 1763. Following the rebellion, the British, having failed to reduce the natives to subjects, were forced to compromise and loosely re-created a trade system that was an echo of the French one.Beaver hunting grounds, the basis of the fur trade
Main article: American frontier § New Nation
While French control ended in 1763 after their defeat by Britain, most of the several hundred French settlers in small villages along the Mississippi River and its tributaries remained, and were not disturbed by the new British government. By the terms of the Treaty of Paris, Spain was given Louisiana; the area west of the Mississippi. St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve in Missouri were the main towns, but there was little new settlement. France regained Louisiana from Spain in exchange for Tuscany by the terms of the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1800. Napoleon had lost interest in re-establishing a French colonial empire in North America following the Haitian Revolution and together with the fact that France could not effectively defend Louisiana from Great Britain, he sold the territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Meanwhile, the British maintained forts and trading posts in U.S. territory, not giving them up until 1796 by the Jay Treaty. American settlement began either via routes over the Appalachian Mountains or through the waterways of the Great Lakes. Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh) at the source of the Ohio River became the main base for settlers moving into the Midwest. Marietta, Ohio in 1787 became the first settlement in Ohio, but not until the defeat of Indian tribes at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 was large-scale settlement possible. Large numbers also came north from Kentucky into southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
The region’s fertile soil produced corn and vegetables; most farmers were self-sufficient. They cut trees and claimed the land, then sold it to newcomers and then moved further west to repeat the process.
Illegal settlers, called squatters, had been encroaching on the lands now the Midwest for years before the founding of the United States of America, pushing further and further down the Ohio River during the 1760s and 1770s and inciting conflict and competition with the Native Americans whose lands they intruded on every step of the way. These squatters were characterized by British General, Thomas Gage, as “too Numerous, too Lawless, and Licentious ever to be restrained,” and regarded them as “almost out of Reach of Law and government; Neither the Endeavors of Government, or Fear of Indians has kept them properly within Bounds.” When the American Revolution concluded and the formation of the United States of America began, the American government sought to evict these illegal settlers from areas that were now federally owned public lands. In 1785, soldiers led by General Josiah Harmar were sent into the Ohio country to destroy the crops and burn down the homes of any squatters they found living there. Eventually, after the formation of the Constitutional United States, the president became authorized to use military force to attack squatters and drive them off the land through the 1810s. Squatters began to petition Congress to stop attacking them and to recognize them as actual settlers using a variety of different arguments over the first half of the nineteenth century with varying degrees of success.
Congress’ regarded “actual settlers” as those who gained title to land, settled on it, and then improved upon it by building a house, clearing the ground, and planting crops – the key point being that they had first gained the title to that land. Richard Young, a senator from Illinois and supporter of squatters, sought to expand the definition of an actual settler to include those who were not farmers (e.g. doctors, blacksmiths, and merchants) and proposed that they also be allowed to cheaply obtain land from the government.
A number of means facilitated the legal settlement of the territories in the Midwest: land speculation, federal public land auctions, bounty land grants in lieu of pay to military veterans, and, later, preemption rights for squatters. Ultimately, as they shed the image of “lawless banditti” and fashioned themselves into pioneers, squatters were increasingly able to purchase the lands on which they had settled for the minimum price thanks to various preemption acts and laws passed throughout the 1810s-1840s.
Lewis and Clark
Main article: Lewis and Clark Expedition
In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the Lewis and Clark expedition that took place between May 1804 and September 1806. The goal was to explore the Louisiana Purchase, and establish trade and U.S. sovereignty over the native peoples along the Missouri River. The Lewis and Clark Expedition established relations with more than two dozen indigenous nations west of the Missouri River. The Expedition returned east to St. Louis in the spring of 1806.
Native American Wars
Main article: American Indian Wars
In 1791, General Arthur St. Clair became commander of the United States Army and led a punitive expedition with two Regular Army regiments and some militia. Near modern-day Fort Recovery, his force advanced to the location of Indian settlements near the headwaters of the Wabash River, but on November 4 they were routed in battle by a tribal confederation led by Miami Chief Little Turtle and Shawnee chief Blue Jacket. More than 600 soldiers and scores of women and children were killed in the battle, which has since borne the name “St. Clair’s Defeat“. It remains the greatest defeat of a U.S. Army by Native Americans.
The British had a long-standing goal of building a “neutral”, but pro-British Indian buffer state in the American Midwest. They demanded a neutral Indian state at the peace conference that ended the War of 1812, but failed to gain any of it because they had lost control of the region in the Battle of Lake Erie and the Battle of the Thames in 1813, where Tecumseh was killed. The British then abandoned the Indians south of the lakes. The Indians were major losers in the War of 1812. Apart from the short Black Hawk War of 1832, the days of Indian warfare east of the Mississippi River had ended.
Yankees and ethnocultural politics
Ohio River near Rome, Ohio
Yankee settlers from New England started arriving in Ohio before 1800, and spread throughout the northern half of the Midwest. Most of them started as farmers, but later the larger proportion moved to towns and cities as entrepreneurs, businessmen, and urban professionals. Since its beginnings in the 1830s, Chicago has grown to dominate the Midwestern metropolis landscape for over a century.
Historian John Bunker has examined the worldview of the Yankee settlers in the Midwest:
Because they arrived first and had a strong sense of community and mission, Yankees were able to transplant New England institutions, values, and mores, altered only by the conditions of frontier life. They established a public culture that emphasized the work ethic, the sanctity of private property, individual responsibility, faith in residential and social mobility, practicality, piety, public order and decorum, reverence for public education, activists, honest, and frugal government, town meeting democracy, and he believed that there was a public interest that transcends particular and stick ambitions. Regarding themselves as the elect and just in a world rife with sin, air, and corruption, they felt a strong moral obligation to define and enforce standards of community and personal behavior….This pietistic worldview was substantially shared by British, Scandinavian, Swiss, English-Canadian and Dutch Reformed immigrants, as well as by German Protestants and many of the Forty-Eighters.
Midwestern politics pitted Yankees against the German Catholics and Lutherans, who were often led by the Irish Catholics. These large groups, Buenker argues:
Generally subscribed to the work ethic, a strong sense of community, and activist government, but were less committed to economic individualism and privatism and ferociously opposed to government supervision of the personal habits. Southern and eastern European immigrants generally leaned more toward the Germanic view of things, while modernization, industrialization, and urbanization modified nearly everyone’s sense of individual economic responsibility and put a premium on organization, political involvement, and education.
Development of transportation
Lake Michigan is shared by four Midwestern states: Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
Three waterways have been important to the development of the Midwest. The first and foremost was the Ohio River, which flowed into the Mississippi River. Development of the region was halted until 1795 by Spain‘s control of the southern part of the Mississippi and its refusal to allow the shipment of American crops down the river and into the Atlantic Ocean.
The second waterway is the network of routes within the Great Lakes. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 completed an all-water shipping route, more direct than the Mississippi, to New York and the seaport of New York City. In 1848, The Illinois and Michigan Canal breached the continental divide spanning the Chicago Portage and linking the waters of the Great Lakes with those of the Mississippi Valley and the Gulf of Mexico. Lakeport and river cities grew up to handle these new shipping routes. During the Industrial Revolution, the lakes became a conduit for iron ore from the Mesabi Range of Minnesota to steel mills in the Mid-Atlantic States. The Saint Lawrence Seaway (1862, widened 1959) opened the Midwest to the Atlantic Ocean.
In the 1870s and 1880s, the Mississippi River inspired two classic books—Life on the Mississippi and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—written by native Missourian Samuel Clemens, who used the pseudonym Mark Twain. His stories became staples of Midwestern lore. Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, is a tourist attraction offering a glimpse into the Midwest of his time.
Inland canals in Ohio and Indiana constituted another important waterway, which connected with Great Lakes and Ohio River traffic. The commodities that the Midwest funneled into the Erie Canal down the Ohio River contributed to the wealth of New York City, which overtook Boston and Philadelphia.
Railroads and the automobile
During the mid-19th century, the region got its first railroads, and the railroad junction in Chicago became the world’s largest. During the century, Chicago became the nation’s railroad center. By 1910, over 20 railroads operated passenger service out of six different downtown terminals. Even today, a century after Henry Ford, six Class I railroads meet in Chicago.
In the period from 1890 to 1930, many Midwestern cities were connected by electric interurban railroads, similar to streetcars. The Midwest had more interurbans than any other region. In 1916, Ohio led all states with 2,798 miles (4,503 km), Indiana followed with 1,825 miles (2,937 km). These two states alone had almost a third of the country’s interurban trackage. The nation’s largest interurban junction was in Indianapolis. During the 1900s (decade), the city’s 38 percent growth in population was attributed largely to the interurban.
Competition with automobiles and buses undermined the interurban and other railroad passenger business. By 1900, Detroit was the world center of the auto industry, and soon practically every city within 200 miles was producing auto parts that fed into its giant factories.
In 1903, Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company. Ford’s manufacturing—and those of automotive pioneers William C. Durant, the Dodge brothers, Packard, and Walter Chrysler—established Detroit’s status in the early 20th century as the world’s automotive capital. The proliferation of businesses created a synergy that also encouraged truck manufacturers such as Rapid and Grabowsky.
The growth of the auto industry was reflected by changes in businesses throughout the Midwest and nation, with the development of garages to service vehicles and gas stations, as well as factories for parts and tires. Today, greater Detroit remains home to General Motors, Chrysler, and the Ford Motor Company.
American Civil War
Main article: American Civil War
Slavery prohibition and the Underground Railroad
A map of various Underground Railroad routes
The Northwest Ordinance region, comprising the heart of the Midwest, was the first large region of the United States that prohibited slavery (the Northeastern United States emancipated slaves in the 1830s). The regional southern boundary was the Ohio River, the border of freedom and slavery in American history and literature (see Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Beloved by Toni Morrison).
The Midwest, particularly Ohio, provided the primary routes for the Underground Railroad, whereby Midwesterners assisted slaves to freedom from their crossing of the Ohio River through their departure on Lake Erie to Canada. Created in the early 19th century, the Underground Railroad was at its height between 1850 and 1860. One estimate suggests that by 1850, 100,000 slaves had escaped via the Underground Railroad.
The Underground Railroad consisted of meeting points, secret routes, transportation, and safe houses and assistance provided by abolitionist sympathizers. Individuals were often organized in small, independent groups; this helped to maintain secrecy because individuals knew some connecting “stations” along the route, but knew few details of their immediate area. Escaped slaves would move north along the route from one way station to the next. Although the fugitives sometimes traveled on boat or train, they usually traveled on foot or by wagon.
The region was shaped by the relative absence of slavery (except for Missouri), pioneer settlement, education in one-room free public schools, democratic notions brought by American Revolutionary Warveterans, Protestant faiths and experimentation, and agricultural wealth transported on the Ohio River riverboats, flatboats, canal boats, and railroads.
Main article: Bleeding Kansas
The first violent conflicts leading up to the Civil War occurred between two neighboring Midwestern states, Kansas and Missouri, involving anti-slavery Free-Staters and pro-slavery “Border Ruffian” elements, that took place in the Kansas Territory and the western frontier towns of Missouri roughly between 1854 and 1858. At the heart of the conflict was the question of whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free state or slave state. As such, Bleeding Kansas was a proxy war between Northerners and Southerners over the issue of slavery. The term “Bleeding Kansas” was coined by Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune; the events it encompasses directly presaged the Civil War.1855 Free-State poster
Setting in motion the events later known as “Bleeding Kansas” was the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Act created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opened new lands that would help settlement in them, repealed the Missouri Compromise, and allowed settlers in those territories to determine through popular sovereignty whether to allow slavery within their boundaries. It was hoped the Act would ease relations between the North and the South, because the South could expand slavery to new territories, but the North still had the right to abolish slavery in its states. Instead, opponents denounced the law as a concession to the slave power of the South.
The new Republican Party, born in the Midwest (Ripon, Wisconsin, 1854) and created in opposition to the Act, aimed to stop the expansion of slavery, and soon emerged as the dominant force throughout the North.
An ostensibly democratic idea, popular sovereignty stated that the inhabitants of each territory or state should decide whether it would be a free or slave state; however, this resulted in immigration en masse to Kansas by activists from both sides. At one point, Kansas had two separate governments, each with its own constitution, although only one was federally recognized. On January 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state, less than three months before the Battle of Fort Sumter officially began the Civil War.
The calm in Kansas was shattered in May 1856 by two events that are often regarded as the opening shots of the Civil War. On May 21, the Free Soil town of Lawrence, Kansas, was sacked by an armed pro‐slavery force from Missouri. A few days later, the Sacking of Lawrence led abolitionist John Brown and six of his followers to execute five men along the Pottawatomie Creek in Franklin County, Kansas, in retaliation.
The so-called “Border War” lasted for another four months, from May through October, between armed bands of pro‐slavery and Free Soil men. The U.S. Army had two garrisons in Kansas, the First Cavalry Regiment at Fort Leavenworthand the Second Dragoons and Sixth Infantry at Fort Riley. The skirmishes endured until a new governor, John W. Geary, managed to prevail upon the Missourians to return home in late 1856. A fragile peace followed, but violent outbreaks continued intermittently for several more years.
National reaction to the events in Kansas demonstrated how deeply divided the country had become. The Border Ruffians were widely applauded in the South, even though their actions had cost the lives of numerous people. In the North, the murders committed by Brown and his followers were ignored by most, and lauded by a few.
The civil conflict in Kansas was a product of the political fight over slavery. Federal troops were not used to decide a political question, but they were used by successive territorial governors to pacify the territory so that the political question of slavery in Kansas could finally be decided by peaceful, legal, and political means.An animation depicting when United States territories and states forbade or allowed slavery, 1789–1861
The election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860 was the final trigger for secession by the Southern states. Efforts at compromise, including the “Corwin Amendment” and the Crittenden Compromise, failed. Southern leaders feared that Lincoln would stop the expansion of slavery and put it on a course toward extinction.
The U.S. federal government was supported by 20 mostly-Northern free states in which slavery already had been abolished, and by five slave states that became known as the border states. All of the Midwestern states but one, Missouri, banned slavery. Though most battles were fought in the South, skirmishes between Kansas and Missouri continued until culmination with the Lawrence Massacre on August 21, 1863. Also known as Quantrill’s Raid, the massacre was a rebel guerrilla attack by Quantrill’s Raiders, led by William Clarke Quantrill, on pro-Union Lawrence, Kansas. Quantrill’s band of 448 Missouri guerrillas raided and plundered Lawrence, killing more than 150 and burning all the business buildings and most of the dwellings. Pursued by federal troops, the band escaped to Missouri.
Lawrence was targeted because of the town’s long-time support of abolition and its reputation as a center for Redlegs and Jayhawkers, which were free-state militia and vigilante groups known for attacking and families in Missouri’s pro-slavery western counties.
Immigration and industrialization
By the time of the American Civil War, European immigrants bypassed the East Coast of the United States to settle directly in the interior: German immigrants to Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri; Irish immigrants to port cities on the Great Lakes, like Cleveland and Chicago; Danes, Czechs, Swedes, and Norwegians to Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas; and Finns to Upper Michigan and northern/central Minnesota and Wisconsin. Poles, Hungarians, and Jews settled in Midwestern cities.
The U.S. was predominantly rural at the time of the Civil War. The Midwest was no exception, dotted with small farms all across the region. The late 19th century saw industrialization, immigration, and urbanization that fed the Industrial Revolution, and the heart of industrial domination and innovation was in the Great Lakes states of the Midwest, which only began its slow decline by the late 20th century.
In addition to manufacturing, printing, publishing, and food processing also play major roles in the Midwest’s largest economy. Chicago was the base of commercial operations for industrialists John Crerar, John Whitfield Bunn, Richard Teller Crane, Marshall Field, John Farwell, Julius Rosenwald, and many other commercial visionaries who laid the foundation for Midwestern and global industry. Meanwhile, John D. Rockefeller, creator of the Standard Oil Company, made his billions in Cleveland. At one point during the late 19th century, Cleveland was home to more than 50% of the world’s millionaires, many living on the famous Millionaire’s Row on Euclid Avenue.
In the 20th century, African American migration from the Southern United States into the Midwestern states changed Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Detroit, Omaha, Minneapolis, and many other cities in the Midwest, as factories and schools enticed families by the thousands to new opportunities. Chicago alone gained hundreds of thousands of black citizens from the Great Migration and the Second Great Migration.
The Gateway Arch monument in St. Louis, clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a flattened catenary arch, is the tallest man-made monument in the United States, and the world’s tallest arch. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, it is the centerpiece of the Gateway Arch National Park, which was known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial until 2018, and has become an internationally famous symbol of St. Louis and the Midwest.
|German Immigration to the United States (by decade 1820–2004)|
As the Midwest opened up to settlement via waterways and rail in the mid-1800s, Germans began to settle there in large numbers. The largest flow of German immigration to America occurred between 1820 and World War I, during which time nearly six million Germans immigrated to the United States. From 1840 to 1880, they were the largest group of immigrants.
The Midwestern cities of Milwaukee, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Chicago were favored destinations of German immigrants. By 1900, the populations of the cities of Cleveland, Milwaukee, Hoboken, and Cincinnati were all more than 40 percent German American. Dubuque and Davenport, Iowa, had even larger proportions; in Omaha, Nebraska, the proportion of German Americans was 57 percent in 1910. In many other cities of the Midwest, such as Fort Wayne, Indiana, German Americans were at least 30 percent of the population. Many concentrations acquired distinctive names suggesting their heritage, such as the “Over-the-Rhine” district in Cincinnati and “German Village” in Columbus, Ohio.
A favorite destination was Milwaukee, known as “the German Athens”. Radical Germans trained in politics in the old country dominated the city’s Socialists. Skilled workers dominated many crafts, while entrepreneurs created the brewing industry; the most famous brands included Pabst, Schlitz, Miller, and Blatz.
While half of German immigrants settled in cities, the other half established farms in the Midwest. From Ohio to the Plains states, a heavy presence persists in rural areas into the 21st century.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, German Americans showed a high interest in becoming farmers, and keeping their children and grandchildren on the land. Western railroads, with large land grants available to attract farmers, set up agencies in Hamburg and other German cities, promising cheap transportation, and sales of farmland on easy terms. For example, the Santa Fe Railroad hired its own commissioner for immigration, and sold over 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) to German-speaking farmers.
History of the term Midwest
Scotts Bluff National Monument in western Nebraska
The term West was applied to the region in the early years of the country. In 1789, the Northwest Ordinance was enacted, creating the Northwest Territory, which was bounded by the Great Lakes and the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Because the Northwest Territory lay between the East Coast and the then-far-West, the states carved out of it were called the Northwest. In the early 19th century, anything west of the Mississippi River was considered the West. The first recorded use of the term Midwestern to refer to a region of the central U.S. occurred in 1886, Midwest appeared in 1894, and Midwesterner in 1916.
Some maintain that only the areas that made up the Northwest Territory can truly be called the Midwest, and that all other areas to the west should be properly labeled as part of the “Great Plains” region instead. But following the settlement of the western prairie, others considered the row of states from North Dakota to Kansas to be part of the Midwest as well.
The states of the “old Northwest” are now called the “East North Central States” by the United States Census Bureau, with the “Great Lakes region” being also a popular term. The states just west of the Mississippi River and the Great Plains states are called the “West North Central States” by the Census Bureau.Some entities in the Midwest are still referred to as “Northwest” for historical reasons (for example, Northwestern University in Illinois).
Farming and agriculture
A pastoral farm scene near Traverse City, Michigan, with a classic American red barnCentral Iowa cornfield in JuneStanding wheat in Kansas, part of America’s BreadbasketSoybean fields at Applethorpe Farm, north of Hallsville in Ross County, OhioFurther information: Corn Belt and Wheat production in the United States
Agriculture is one of the biggest drivers of local economies in the Midwest, accounting for billions of dollars worth of exports and thousands of jobs. The area consists of some of the richest farming land in the world. The region’s fertile soil combined with the steel plow has made it possible for farmers to produce abundant harvests of grain and cereal crops, including corn, wheat, soybeans, oats, and barley, to become known today as the nation’s “breadbasket”.
Farms spread from the colonies westward along with the settlers. In cooler regions, wheat was often the crop of choice when lands were newly settled, leading to a “wheat frontier” that moved westward over the course of years. Also very common in the antebellum Midwest was farming corn while raising hogs, complementing each other especially since it was difficult to get grain to market before the canals and railroads. After the “wheat frontier” had passed through an area, more diversified farms including dairy and beef cattle generally took its place.
The very dense soil of the Midwest plagued the first settlers who were using wooden plows, which were more suitable for loose forest soil. On the prairie, the plows bounced around and the soil stuck to them. This problem was solved in 1837 by an Illinois blacksmith named John Deere who developed a steel moldboard plow that was stronger and cut the roots, making the fertile soils of the prairie ready for farming.
The tallgrass prairie has been converted into one of the most intensive crop producing areas in North America. Less than one tenth of one percent (<0.09%) of the original landcover of the tallgrass prairie biome remains.States formerly with landcover in native tallgrass prairie such as Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Missouri have become valued for their highly productive soils and are included in the Corn Belt. As an example of this land use intensity, Illinois and Iowa rank 49th and 50th out of 50 states in total uncultivated land remaining.
The introduction and broad adoption of scientific agriculture since the mid-19th century contributed to economic growth in the United States. This development was facilitated by the Morrill Act and the Hatch Act of 1887 which established in each state a land-grant university (with a mission to teach and study agriculture) and a federally funded system of agricultural experiment stations and cooperative extension networks which place extension agents in each state. Iowa State University became the nation’s first designated land-grant institution when the Iowa Legislature accepted the provisions of the 1862 Morrill Act on September 11, 1862, making Iowa the first state in the nation to do so.
The Corn Belt is a region of the Midwest where corn has, since the 1850s, been the predominant crop, replacing the native tall grasses. The “Corn Belt” region is defined typically to include Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan, western Ohio, eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, southern Minnesota, and parts of Missouri. As of 2008, the top four corn-producing states were Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Minnesota, together accounting for more than half of the corn grown in the United States. The Corn Belt also sometimes is defined to include parts of South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Kentucky. The region is characterized by relatively level land and deep, fertile soils, high in organic matter.
Former Vice President Henry A. Wallace, a pioneer of hybrid seeds, declared in 1956 that the Corn Belt developed the “most productive agricultural civilization the world has ever seen”. Today, the U.S. produces 40 percent of the world crop.
Iowa produces the largest corn crop of any state. In 2012, Iowa farmers produced 18.3 percent of the nation’s corn, while Illinois produced 15.3 percent. In 2011, there were 13.7 million harvested acres of corn for grain, producing 2.36 billion bushels, which yielded 172.0 bu/acre, with US$14.5 billion of corn value of production.
Soybeans were not widely cultivated in the United States until the early 1930s, and by 1942, the U.S. became the world’s largest soybean producer, partially because of World War II and the “need for domestic sources of fats, oils, and meal”. Between 1930 and 1942, the United States’ share of world soybean production skyrocketed from 3 percent to 46.5 percent, largely as a result of increase in the Midwest, and by 1969, it had risen to 76 percent. Iowa and Illinois rank first and second in the nation in soybean production. In 2012, Iowa produced 14.5 percent, and Illinois produced 13.3 percent of the nation’s soybeans.
Wheat is produced throughout the Midwest and is the principal cereal grain in the country. The U.S. is ranked third in production volume of wheat, with almost 58 million tons produced in the 2012–2013 growing season, behind only China and India (the combined production of all European Union nations is larger than China) The U.S. ranks first in crop export volume; almost 50 percent of total wheat produced is exported.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines eight official classes of wheat: durum wheat, hard red spring wheat, hard red winter wheat, soft red winter wheat, hard white wheat, soft white wheat, unclassed wheat, and mixed wheat. Winter wheat accounts for 70 to 80 percent of total production in the U.S., with the largest amounts produced in Kansas (10.8 million tons) and North Dakota (9.8 million tons). Of the total wheat produced in the country, 50 percent is exported, valued at US$9 billion.
Chicago is the economic and financial heartbeat of the Midwest, and has the third largest gross metropolitan product in the United States—approximately $532 billion, according to 2010 estimates, after only the urban agglomerations of New York City and Los Angeles. Chicago was named the fourth most important business center in the world in the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index. The 2017 Global Financial Centres Index ranked Chicago as the fifth most competitive city in the country and twenty-fourth in the world.
As a major world financial center, the city is home to the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (the Seventh District of the Federal Reserve). The city is also home to major financial and futures exchanges, including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the “Merc”), which is owned, along with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) by Chicago’s CME Group. The CME Group, in addition, owns the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the Commodities Exchange Inc. (COMEX), and the Dow Jones Indexes.
Outside of Chicago, many other Midwest cities are host to financial centers as well. Federal Reserve Bank districts are also headquartered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Major United States bank headquarters are located throughout Ohio including Huntington Bancshares in Columbus, Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, and KeyCorp in Cleveland. Insurance Companies such as Anthem in Indianapolis, Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, American Family Insurance in Madison, Wisconsin, Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, State Farm Insurancein Bloomington, Illinois, and Progressive Insurance and Medical Mutual of Ohio in Cleveland also spread throughout the Midwest.
The majority of Midwesterners are Protestants, with rates from 48 percent in Illinois to 63 percent in Iowa. However, the Roman Catholic Church is the largest single denomination, varying between 18 percent and 34 percent of the state populations. Lutherans are prevalent in the Upper Midwest, especially in Minnesota and the Dakotas with their large Scandinavian and German populations. Southern Baptists compose about 15 percent of Missouri’s population, but much smaller percentages in other Midwestern states.
Judaism and Islam are collectively practiced by 2 percent of the population, with higher concentrations in major urban areas. 35 percent of Midwesterners attend religious services every week, and 69 percent attend at least a few times a year. People with no religious affiliation make up 22 percent of the Midwest’s population.
Many Midwestern universities, both public and private, are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU), a bi-national organization of leading public and private research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education. Of the 62 members from the U.S. and Canada, 16 are located in the Midwest, including private schools Northwestern University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Chicago, and Washington University in St. Louis. Member public institutions of the AAU include the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Indiana University Bloomington, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the University of Kansas, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Missouri, the Ohio State University, Purdue University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Other notable major research-intensive public universities include the University of Cincinnati, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Western Michigan University, Kansas State University, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Numerous state university systems have established regional campuses statewide. The numerous state teachers colleges were upgraded into state universities after 1945.
Other notable private institutions include the University of Notre Dame, John Carroll University, Saint Louis University, Loyola University Chicago, DePaul University, Creighton University, Drake University, Marquette University, and Xavier University. Local boosters, usually with a church affiliation, created numerous colleges in the mid-19th century. In terms of national rankings, the most prominent today include Denison University, DePauw University, Earlham College, Grinnell College, Hamline University, Kalamazoo College, Kenyon College, Knox College, Macalester College, Lawrence University, Oberlin College, St. Olaf College, Wheaton College, Miami University, and The College of Wooster.
The Southern Diaspora of the 20th century saw more than twenty million Southerners move throughout the country, many of whom moved into major Midwestern industrial cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Louis. Along with them, they brought jazz to the Midwest, as well as blues, bluegrass, and rock and roll, with major contributions to jazz, funk, and R&B, and even new subgenres such as the Motown Sound and techno from Detroit or house music from Chicago. In the 1920s, South Side Chicago was the base for Jelly Roll Morton (1890–1941). Kansas City developed its own jazz style.
The electrified Chicago blues sound exemplifies the genre, as popularized by record labels Chess and Alligator and portrayed in such films as The Blues Brothers, Godfathers and Sons, and Adventures in Babysitting.
Rock and roll music was first identified as a new genre in 1951 by Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed who began playing this music style while popularizing the term “rock and roll” to describe it. By the mid-1950s, rock and roll emerged as a defined musical style in the United States, deriving most directly from the rhythm and blues music of the 1940s, which itself developed from earlier blues, boogie woogie, jazz, and swing music, and was also influenced by gospel, country and western, and traditional folk music. Freed’s contribution in identifying rock as a new genre helped establish the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located in Cleveland. Chuck Berry, a Midwesterner from St. Louis, was among the first successful rock and roll artists and influenced many other rock musicians.
Notable soul and R&B musicians associated with Motown that had their origins in the area include Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Mary Wells, Four Tops, The Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, The Marvelettes, The Temptations, and Martha and the Vandellas. These artists achieved their greatest success in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the 1970s and 1980s, native Midwestern musicians such as John Mellencamp and Bob Seger found great success with a style of rock music that came to be known as heartland rock, which were characterized by lyrical themes that focused on and appealed to the Midwestern working class. Other successful Midwestern rock artists emerged during this time, including Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, Steve Miller, Styx, and Kansas..
In the 1990s, the Chicago-based band The Smashing Pumpkins emerged, and went on to become one of the most successful alternative rock artists of the decade. Also in the 1990s, the Midwest was at the center of the emerging Midwest emo movement, with bands like The Get Up Kids (Missouri), Cursive (Nebraska), and Cap’n Jazz (Illinois) blending earlier hard-core punk sounds with a more melodic indie rock sentiment. This hybrid of styles came to be known as Midwest emo. Chicago-based artists Fall Out Boy and Plain White T‘s popularized the genre in the early part of the 21st century.
In the late 1990s, Eminem and Kid Rock emerged from the Detroit area. Eminem went on to become one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed rappers of all time. Meanwhile, Kid Rock successfully mixed elements of rap, hard rock, heavy metal, country rock, and pop in forming his own unique sound. Both artists are known for celebrating their Detroit roots.
House Music and Techno both had their roots in Chicago and Detroit respectively in the mid-to-late 1980s. House music producers such as Frankie Knuckles and Marshall Jefferson recorded early house music records at Chicago’s Trax Records while in Detroit, techno pioneers Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson created a sound that, while ignored mostly in America, became quite popular in Europe.
Numerous classical composers live and have lived in midwestern states, including Easley Blackwood, Kenneth Gaburo, Salvatore Martirano, and Ralph Shapey (Illinois); Glenn Miller and Meredith Willson (Iowa); Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, and David Gillingham (Michigan); Donald Erb (Ohio); Dominick Argento and Stephen Paulus (Minnesota). Also notable is Peter Schickele, born in Iowa and partially raised in North Dakota, best known for his classical music parodies attributed to his alter ego of P. D. Q. Bach.
Professional sports leagues such as the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) have team franchises in several Midwestern cities:
- Chicago: Bears (NFL), Cubs, White Sox (MLB), Bulls (NBA), Sky (WNBA), Blackhawks (NHL), Fire SC (MLS)
- Cincinnati: Bengals (NFL), Reds (MLB), FC Cincinnati (MLS)
- Cleveland: Browns (NFL), Indians (MLB), Cavaliers (NBA)
- Columbus: Blue Jackets (NHL), Crew SC (MLS)
- Detroit: Lions (NFL), Tigers (MLB), Pistons (NBA), Red Wings (NHL)
- Green Bay: Packers (NFL)
- Indianapolis: Colts (NFL), Pacers (NBA), Fever (WNBA)
- Kansas City: Chiefs (NFL), Royals (MLB), Sporting (MLS)
- Milwaukee: Brewers (MLB), Bucks (NBA)
- Minneapolis–Saint Paul: Vikings (NFL), Twins (MLB), Timberwolves (NBA), Lynx (WNBA), Wild (NHL), United FC (MLS)
- St. Louis: Cardinals (MLB), Blues (NHL), name to be announced (MLS)
Successful teams include the St. Louis Cardinals (11 World Series titles), Cincinnati Reds (5 World Series titles), Chicago Bulls (6 NBA titles), the Detroit Pistons (3 NBA titles), the Minnesota Lynx (4 WNBA titles), the Green Bay Packers (4 Super Bowl titles, 13 total NFL championships), the Chicago Bears (1 Super Bowl title, 9 total NFL championships), the Cleveland Browns (4 AAFC championships, 4 NFL championships), the Detroit Red Wings (11 Stanley Cup titles), the Detroit Tigers (4 World Series titles), and the Chicago Blackhawks (6 Stanley Cup titles).
In NCAA college sports, the Big Ten Conference and the Big 12 Conference feature the largest concentration of top Midwestern Division I football and men’s and women’s basketball teams in the region, including the Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Northwestern Wildcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Purdue Boilermakers, and the Wisconsin Badgers.
Other notable Midwestern college sports teams include the Akron Zips, Ball State Cardinals, Butler Bulldogs, Cincinnati Bearcats, Creighton Bluejays, Dayton Flyers, Indiana State Sycamores, Kent State Golden Flashes, Marquette Golden Eagles, Miami RedHawks, Milwaukee Panthers, Missouri Tigers, Missouri State Bears, Northern Illinois Huskies, North Dakota State Bison, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, South Dakota State Jackrabbits, Toledo Rockets, Western Michigan Broncos, Wichita State Shockers, and Xavier Musketeers. Of this second group of schools, Butler, Dayton, Indiana State, Missouri State, North Dakota State, and South Dakota State do not play top-level college football (all playing in the second-tier Division I FCS), and Creighton, Marquette, Milwaukee, Wichita State and Xavier do not sponsor football at all.
The Milwaukee Mile hosted its first automobile race in 1903, and is one of the oldest tracks in the world, though as of 2019 is presently inactive. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, opened in 1909, is a prestigious auto racing track which annually hosts the internationally famous Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (part of the IndyCar series), the Brickyard 400 (NASCAR), and the IndyCar Grand Prix (IndyCar series). The Road America and Mid-Ohio road courses opened in the 1950s and 1960s respectively. Other motorsport venues in the Midwest are Indianapolis Raceway Park (home of the NHRA U.S. Nationals, Michigan International Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Gateway International Raceway, and the Iowa Speedway. The Kentucky Speedway is just outside the officially defined Midwest, but is linked with the region because the track is located in the Cincinnati metropolitan area.
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Differences in the definition of the Midwest mainly split between the Great Plains region on one side, and the Great Lakes region on the other. While some point to the small towns and agricultural communities in Kansas, Iowa, the Dakotas, and Nebraska of the Great Plains as representative of traditional Midwestern lifestyles and values, others assert that the industrial cities of the Great Lakes—with their histories of 19th- and early-20th-century immigration, manufacturing base, and strong Catholic influence—are more representative of the Midwestern experience. In South Dakota, for instance, West River (the region west of the Missouri River) shares cultural elements with the western United States, while East River has more in common with the rest of the Midwest.
Two other regions, Appalachia and the Ozark Mountains, overlap geographically with the Midwest—Appalachia in Southern Ohio and the Ozarks in Southern Missouri. The Ohio River has long been a boundary between North and South and between the Midwest and the Upper South. All of the lower Midwestern states, especially Missouri, have a major Southern component, and Missouri was a slave state before the Civil War.
Western Pennsylvania, which contains the cities of Erie and Pittsburgh, plus the Western New York cities of Buffalo and possibly Rochester, share history with the Midwest, but overlap with Appalachia and the Northeast as well.
Kentucky is rarely considered part of the Midwest, although it can be grouped with it in some contexts. It is categorized as Southern by the Census Bureau and is usually classified as such, especially from a cultural standpoint.
In addition to intra-American regional overlaps, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has historically had strong cultural ties to Canada, partly as a result of early settlement by French Canadians. Moreover, the Yooper accentshares some traits with Canadian English, further demonstrating transnational cultural connections. Similar but less pronounced mutual Canadian-American cultural influence occurs throughout the Great Lakes region.
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The accents of the region are generally distinct from those of the South and of the urban areas of the American Northeast. To a lesser degree, they are also distinct from the accent of the American West.
The accent characteristic of most of the Midwest is popularly considered to be that of “standard” American English or General American. This accent is typically preferred by many national radio and television producers. Linguist Thomas Bonfiglio argues that, “American English pronunciation standardized as ‘network standard’ or, informally, ‘Midwestern’ in the 20th century.” He identifies radio as the chief factor.
The dialect of Minnesota, western Wisconsin, much of North Dakota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is referred to as the Upper Midwestern Dialect (or “Minnesotan”), and has Scandinavian and Canadian influences.
Missouri has elements of three dialects, specifically: Northern Midland, in the extreme northern part of the state, with a distinctive variation in St. Louis and the surrounding area; Southern Midland, in the majority of the state; and Southern, in the southwestern and southeastern parts of the state, with a bulge extending north in the central part, to include approximately the southern one-third.
The rate of potentially preventable hospital discharges in the Midwestern United States fell from 2005 to 2011 for overall conditions, acute conditions, and chronic conditions.
Major metropolitan areas
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All cities listed have a population of 250,000 or more.
(2016 census)1ChicagoIL2,704,9582ColumbusOH860,0903IndianapolisIN855,1644DetroitMI672,7955MilwaukeeWI595,0476Kansas CityMO481,4207OmahaNE446,9708MinneapolisMN413,6519WichitaKS389,90210ClevelandOH388,07211St. LouisMO311,40412St. PaulMN302,39813CincinnatiOH301,30114LincolnNE280,36415ToledoOH279,78916Fort WayneIN264,48817MadisonWI252,551
|Urban areasRankUrban areaState(s)Population|
St. PaulMN–WI2,650,8904St. LouisMO–IL2,150,7065ClevelandOH1,780,6736CincinnatiOH–KY–IN1,624,8277Kansas CityMO–KS1,519,4178IndianapolisIN1,487,4839MilwaukeeWI1,376,47610ColumbusOH1,368,035
|Metro Areas – CSARankMetro areaState(s)Population|
(2012 census est.)1ChicagoIL–IN–WI9,899,9022DetroitMI5,311,4493Minneapolis-
St. PaulMN–WI3,759,9784ClevelandOH3,497,7115St. LouisMO–IL2,900,6056Kansas CityMO–KS2,376,6317ColumbusOH2,348,4958IndianapolisIN2,310,3609CincinnatiOH–KY–IN2,188,00110MilwaukeeWI2,037,542
|State||2017 Estimate||2010 Census||Change||Area||Density|
|Iowa||3,145,711||3,046,355||+3.26%||55,857.09 sq mi (144,669.2 km2)||56/sq mi (22/km2)|
|Kansas||2,913,123||2,853,118||+2.10%||81,758.65 sq mi (211,753.9 km2)||36/sq mi (14/km2)|
|Missouri||6,113,532||5,988,927||+2.08%||68,741.47 sq mi (178,039.6 km2)||89/sq mi (34/km2)|
|Nebraska||1,920,076||1,826,341||+5.13%||76,824.11 sq mi (198,973.5 km2)||25/sq mi (10/km2)|
|North Dakota||755,393||672,591||+12.31%||69,000.74 sq mi (178,711.1 km2)||11/sq mi (4/km2)|
|South Dakota||869,666||814,180||+6.81%||75,810.94 sq mi (196,349.4 km2)||11/sq mi (4/km2)|
|Plains||15,717,501||15,201,512||+3.39%||427,993.00 sq mi (1,108,496.8 km2)||37/sq mi (14/km2)|
|Illinois||12,802,023||12,830,632||−0.22%||55,518.89 sq mi (143,793.3 km2)||231/sq mi (89/km2)|
|Indiana||6,666,818||6,483,802||+2.82%||35,826.08 sq mi (92,789.1 km2)||186/sq mi (72/km2)|
|Michigan||9,962,311||9,883,640||+0.80%||56,538.86 sq mi (146,435.0 km2)||176/sq mi (68/km2)|
|Minnesota||5,576,606||5,303,925||+5.14%||79,626.68 sq mi (206,232.2 km2)||70/sq mi (27/km2)|
|Ohio||11,658,609||11,536,504||+1.06%||40,860.66 sq mi (105,828.6 km2)||285/sq mi (110/km2)|
|Wisconsin||5,795,483||5,686,986||+1.91%||54,157.76 sq mi (140,268.0 km2)||107/sq mi (41/km2)|
|Great Lakes||52,461,850||51,725,489||+1.42%||322,528.93 sq mi (835,346.1 km2)||163/sq mi (63/km2)|
|Total||68,179,351||66,927,001||+1.87%||750,521.93 sq mi (1,943,842.9 km2)||91/sq mi (35/km2)|
The Midwest has been an important region in national elections, with highly contested elections in closely divided states often deciding the national result. In 1860–1920, both parties often selected either their president or vice president from the region.The first local meeting of the new Republican Party took place here in Ripon, Wisconsin on March 20, 1854.
One of the two major political parties in the United States, the Republican Party, originated in the Midwest in the 1850s; Ripon, Wisconsin had the first local meeting while Jackson, Michigan had the state county meeting of the new party. Its membership included many Yankees who had settled the upper Midwest. The party opposed the expansion of slavery and stressed the Protestant ideals of thrift, a hard work ethic, self-reliance, democratic decision making, and religious tolerance.
Starting in the 1890s the middle class urban Progressive movement became influential in the region (as it was in other regions), with Wisconsin a major center. Under the La Follettes Wisconsin fought against the GOP bosses and for efficiency, modernization, and the use of experts to solve social, economic, and political problems. Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 Progressive Party had the best showing in this region; carrying the states of Michigan, Minnesota, and South Dakota. In 1924, La Follette, Sr.’s 1924 Progressive Party did well in the region, but only carried his home base of Wisconsin.
The Midwest—especially the areas west of Chicago—has always been a stronghold of isolationism, a belief that America should not involve itself in foreign entanglements. This position was largely based on the many German American and Swedish-American communities. Isolationist leaders included the La Follettes, Ohio’s Robert A. Taft, and Colonel Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune.
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As of 2016, the Midwest is home to several critical swing states that do not have a strong allegiance to either the Democratic or Republican party including Iowa and Ohio. Upper Midwestern states of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin reliably voted Democratic in every presidential election from 1992 to 2012. The Great Plains states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas have voted for the Republican candidate in every presidential election since 1940, except for Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Indiana is usually considered a Republican stronghold, voting that party’s presidential candidate in every election since 1940, except for Johnson in 1964 and Barack Obama in 2008.
As a result of the 2016 elections, Republicans controlled the governors’ office in all Midwestern states except Minnesota and the Republicans also controlled every partisan state legislature in the Midwest except Illinois. The unicameral Nebraska Legislature is officially nonpartisan. In 2018, however, the Democrats made a significant comeback by flipping the gubernatorial elections in Illinois, Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Democrats also flipped the Minnesota House of Representatives after losing control in 2014.
The state government of Illinois currently has a Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker and Democratic super majorities in the state house and state senate. The state currently has two Democratic senators, and a 13–5 Democratic majority U.S. House of Representatives delegation.
Many analysts[who?] consider Iowa the most evenly divided state in the country, but it has leaned Democratic for at least the past fifteen years.[when?] Iowa had a Democratic governor from 1999 until Terry Branstad was re-elected in the mid-term elections in 2010, and has had both one Democratic and one Republican senator since the early 1980s until the 2014 election when Republican Joni Ernst defeated Democrat Bruce Braley in a tightly contested race. As for Iowa’s House delegation, Democrats currently hold a 3 to 1 seat majority as a result of the 2018 elections. Between 1992 and 2012, Iowa also voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in all elections except 2004, but in 2016 the state went to the Republicans by 10 percentage points. As a result of the 2016 elections, Republicans hold a majority in the Iowa House of Representatives and the Iowa Senate.
Minnesota voters have not voted for a Republican candidate for president since 1972, longer than any other state. Minnesota was the only U.S. state (along with Washington, D.C.) to vote for its native son Walter Mondale over Ronald Reagan in 1984. However, the recent[when?] Democratic victories have often been fairly narrow, such as the 2016 Presidential Election. Minnesota also elected and re-elected a Republican governor (Tim Pawlenty), as well as supported some of the strongest gun concealment laws in the nation.
Consistently, Ohio is a battleground state in presidential elections. No Republican has won the office without winning Ohio. This trend has contributed to Ohio’s reputation as a quintessential swing state. At the state level, however, Republicans are currently dominant. With the exception of one justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio, all political offices open to statewide election are held by Republicans. Republicans have a majority in the Ohio House of Representatives and a supermajority in the Ohio Senate. At the federal level, Ohio currently has one Democratic and one Republican U.S. Senator.[when?] As a result of the 2012 elections, 12 of Ohio’s 16 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are Republicans.
The Great Plains states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas have been strongholds for the Republicans for many decades. These four states have gone for the Republican candidate in every presidential election since 1940, except for Lyndon B. Johnson‘s landslide over Barry Goldwater in 1964. Although North Dakota and South Dakota have often elected Democrats to Congress, after the 2012 election both states’ congressional delegations are majority Republican. Nebraska has elected Democrats to the Senate and as governor in recent years, but both of its senators are Republican.[when?] Kansas has elected a majority of Democrats as governor since 1956, but has not elected a Democratic senator since 1932. Both of Kansas’s U.S. Senators and all four of its U.S. House members are Republican.[when?]
Missouri was historically considered a “bellwether state”, having voted for the winner in every presidential election since 1904, with three exceptions: in 1956 for Democrat Adlai Stevenson II; in 2008 for Republican John McCain; and in 2012 for Republican Mitt Romney. Missouri’s House delegation has generally been evenly divided, with the Democrats holding sway in the large cities at the opposite ends of the state, Kansas City and St. Louis (although the Kansas City suburbs are now trending Republican), and the Republicans controlling the rest of the state, save for a pocket of Democratic strength in Columbia, home to the University of Missouri. However, as a result of the 2012 elections, Republicans now have a 6–2 majority in the state’s House delegation, with African-American Democrats representing the major cities. Missouri’s Senate seats were mostly controlled by Democrats until the latter part of the 20th century, but the Republicans have held one or both Senate seats continuously since 1976.
All Midwestern states use primary election to select delegates for both the Democratic and Republican national conventions, except for Iowa. The Iowa caucuses in early January of leap years are the first votes in the presidential nominating process for both major parties, and attract enormous media attention.
Other regions of the United States
- Southeastern United States
- South Central United States
- Western United States
- Northeastern United States
- Frederick; John T., ed. Out of the Midwest: A Collection of Present-Day Writing (1944)
- ^ Jump up to:a b U.S. Census Bureau. “Census Regions and Divisions of the United States”✎ EditSign (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
- ^ https://www2.census.gov/geo/pdfs/maps-data/maps/reference/us_regdiv.pdf✎ EditSign
- ^ Jump up to:a b Census Regions and Divisions of the United States✎ EditSign U.S. Census Bureau
- ^ “History: Regions and Divisions”. United States Census Bureau. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 26 November2014.
- ^ Hobbs, Joseph John (2009). World Regional Geography. Cengage Learning. p. 662. ISBN 978-0-495-38950-7. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
- ^ Examples of the use of Middle West include: Turner, Frederick Jackson (1921). The Frontier in American History. H. Holt and Company. OCLC 2127640. Shortridge, James R. (1989). Middle West: Its Meaning in American Culture. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-0475-3. Bradway, Becky (2003). In the Middle of the Middle West: Literary Nonfiction from the Heartland. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-21657-1.and Gjerde, Jon (1999). The Minds of the West: Ethnocultural Evolution in the Rural Middle West, 1830–1917. UNC Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-4807-4.; among many others.
- ^ “About this Collection – Railroad Maps, 1828–1900 | Digital Collections | Library of Congress”. Memory.loc.gov. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
- ^ Merriam-Webster online
- ^ Ekberg, Carl (2000). French Roots in the Illinois Country: The Mississippi Frontier in Colonial Times. Urbana and Chicago, Ill.: University of Illinois Press. pp. 32–33. ISBN 978-0-252-06924-6.
- ^ Earl Black; Merle Black (2008). Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics. Simon and Schuster. p. 209. ISBN 9781416539056.
- ^ Richard J. Jensen (1971). The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888–1896. U. Of Chicago Press. p. 15. ISBN 9780226398259.
- ^ Sisson (2006) pp. 69–73; Richard Jensen, “The Lynds Revisited”, Indiana Magazine of History (December 1979) 75: 303–319
- ^ Scheetz, George H. “Peoria”. In Place Names in the Midwestern United States. Edited by Edward Callary. (Studies in Onomastices; 1.) Mellen Press, 2000. ISBN 0-7734-7723-3
- ^ “Bureau of Labor Statistics”. Stats.bls.gov. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
- ^ “CSG Regional Offices”. Council of State Governments. 2012. Archived from the original on 20 February 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
- ^ “National Parks in the Midwest | National Park Service”. Nps.gov. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
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For a more comprehensive list, see Bibliography of Midwestern history.
- Aley, Ginette et al. eds. Union Heartland: The Midwestern Home Front during the Civil War (2013)
- Barlow, Philip, and Mark Silk. Religion and Public Life in the Midwest: America’s Common Denominator? (2004)
- Billington, Ray Allen. “The Origins of Middle Western Isolationism”. Political Science Quarterly (1945): 44-64. in JSTOR
- Buley, R. Carlyle. The Old Northwest: Pioneer Period 1815–1840 2 vol (1951), Pulitzer Prize
- Buss, James Joseph. Winning the West with Words, Language and Conquest in the Lower Great Lakes (University of Oklahoma Press, 2011)
- Cayton, Andrew R. L. Midwest and the Nation (1990)
- Cayton, Andrew R. L. and Susan E. Gray, Eds. The Identity of the American Midwest: Essays on Regional History (2001)
- Cronon, William. Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (1992), 1850–1900 excerpt and text search
- Fry, John. “Good Farming – Clear Thinking – Right Living”: Midwestern Farm Newspapers, Social Reform, and Rural Readers in the Early Twentieth Century”. Agricultural History 78#1 ( 2004): 34-49.
- Garland, John H. The North American Midwest: A Regional Geography (1955)
- Gjerde, John. Minds of the West: Ethnocultural Evolution in the Rural Middle West, 1830–1917 (1999) excerpt and text search
- High, Stephen C. Industrial Sunset: The Making of North America’s Rust Belt, 1969–1984 (Toronto, 2003)
- Jensen, Richard. The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888–1896 (1971) online free
- Jordan, Philip D.Ohio Comes of Age: 1873–1900 Volume 5 (1968) online
- Longworth, Richard C. Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism (2008)
- Meyer, David R. “Midwestern Industrialization and the American Manufacturing Belt in the Nineteenth Century”, The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 49, No. 4 (December 1989) pp. 921–937.in JSTOR
- Nelson, Daniel. Farm and Factory: Workers in the Midwest 1880–1990 (1995),
- Nordin, Dennis S., and Roy V. Scott. From Prairie Farmer to Entrepreneur: The Transformation of Midwestern Agriculture. (2005) 356pp.
- Nye, Russel B. Midwestern Progressive Politics (1959)
- Page, Brian, and Richard Walker. “From settlement to Fordism: the agro-industrial revolution in the American Midwest”. Economic Geography (1991): 281-315. in JSTOR
- Scheiber, Harry N. ed. The Old Northwest; studies in regional history, 1787–1910 (1969) 16 essays by scholars on economic and social topics
- Shannon, Fred A. “The Status of the Midwestern Farmer in 1900” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. Vol. 37, No. 3. (December 1950), pp. 491–510. in JSTOR
- Shortridge, James R. The Middle West: Its Meaning in American Culture (1989)
- Sisson, Richard, Christian Zacher, and Andrew Cayton, eds. The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia (Indiana University Press, 2006), 1916 pp of articles by scholars on all topics covering the 12 states
- Slade, Joseph W. and Judith Lee. The Midwest: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures (2004)
- Sleeper-Smith, Susan. Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women of the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792 (The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture; 2018)
- Teaford, Jon C. Cities of the Heartland: The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Midwest (1993)
- Tucker, Spencer, ed. American Civil War: A State-by-State Encyclopedia (2 vol., 2015) 1019pp excerpt
- White, Richard. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 (Cambridge University Press; 1991)
- Wuthnow, Robert. Remaking the Heartland: Middle America Since the 1950s (Princeton University Press; 2011) 358 pages
- Brown, David S. Beyond the Frontier: The Midwestern Voice in American Historical Writing (2009)
- Good, David F. “American History through a Midwestern Lens”. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft 38.2 (2012): 435+ online✎ EditSign
- Lauck, Jon K. The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History (University of Iowa Press; 2013) 166 pages; criticizes the neglect of the Midwest in contemporary historiography and argues for a revival of attention
- Lauck, Jon K. “Trump and The Midwest: The 2016 Presidential Election and The Avenues of Midwestern Historiography.” Studies in Midwestern History 3.1 (2017): 1-24. online
- issues of Middle West Review
- The Midwest History Association, scholarly association that published Middle West Review
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