The Appalachian Shift

This week in class, a large topic of discussion was the Civil War and its effects on the Appalachian Region. Throughout the discussion and the readings we learned the Civil War was an exceptionally hard time in the Appalachia. Gordon B. McKinney pointed out all the hardships in his chapter in High Mountains Rising called “The Civil War and Reconstruction”. He stated that, ” [In] The years between 1860 and 1877… Political, social, and economic life underwent enormous changes…” (McKinney 46). The states in the region underwent physical change too. Virginia was split in two when the mountaineers in north western Virginia did not want to succeed from the Union, so they broke away from Virginia to form West Virginia.


Another big shift in the Appalachia was slavery. A myth is that people in the Appalachia did not own slaves, but this is not the fact. The slaves that Appalachians did own, were taken away after the Civil War and it struck the economy hard. The region still has not fully recovered from the economic hit from the lose of slavery.

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