Arkansas and the New South 1874-1929 (Histories of Arkansas)
This study is the first published in the Histories of Arkansas, a new series that will build a complete chronological history of the state from the colonial period through modern times. Under the general editorship of noted historian Elliott West, this series will include various thematic histories as well as the chronologically arranged core volumes.In Arkansas and the New South, 1874–1929 Carl Moneyhon examines the struggle of Arkansas’s people to enter the economic and social mainstreams of the nation in the years from the end of Reconstruction to the beginning of the Great Depression. Economic changes brought about by development of the timber industry, exploitation of the rich coal fields in the western part of the state, discovery of petroleum, and building of manufacturing industries transformed social institutions and fostered a demographic shift from rural to urban settings.Arkansans were notably successful in bringing the New South to their state, relying on individual enterprise and activist government as they integrated more fully into the national economy and society. But by 1929 persistent problems in the still dominant agricultural sector, the onset of the depression, and heightening social tensions arrested progress and dealt the state a major economic setback that would only be overcome in the years following World War II.Expanding upon scholarly articles that merely touch on this era in Arkansas history and delving into pertinent primary sources, Moneyhon offers not only an overall look at the state but also an explanation for the singular path it took during these momentous years.