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Nation within a NationThe American South and the Federal Government$
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Glenn Feldman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049878

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049878.001.0001

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“From Nothin’ to Somethin’”

“From Nothin’ to Somethin’”

The Tennessee Valley Authority and Federal-Local Cooperation in the Sun Belt South, 1940–1960

Chapter:
(p.261) 9 “From Nothin’ to Somethin’”
Source:
Nation within a Nation
Author(s):

Matthew L. Downs

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813049878.003.0010

Matthew L. Downs concentrates on federally sponsored improvements to the South and their effects, specifically the role of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on the area near Decatur, Alabama. Downs posits that the twentieth-century Tennessee River Valley perfectly embodied the modern “Sunbelt” economy, one built on a firm and expansive foundation of directed federal investment resulting in the massive construction of dams, reservoirs, recreational facilities, regional planning, and expansion of electric power to countless rural inhabitants. Over time, though, the relationship between southern civic leaders and federal officials changed from regional development and large-scale resource management to one more concerned with attracting and retaining industry, investment, and economic development to the seven affected southern states. As a result, Downs maintains, by 1960 the TVA had largely abandoned its ideological foundation and converted to full cooperation with local civic leaders in a Sunbelt pattern of modernization, commercialization, and the attraction of new industry to the region.

Keywords:   Tennessee Valley Authority, Decatur, Alabama, “Sunbelt” Economy, Regional Planning, Electric Power, Industry

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