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Geographically, the Old South is a subregion of the American South, differentiated from other states by being limited to those Southern states represented among the original thirteen British colonies which became the first thirteen U.S. states.
The Southern Colonies were 5 of the 13 original English colonies lying south of the Mason-Dixon Line: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. In the chronological sense, "Old South" can be used to refer to these original Southern states which emerged from the American Revolution.
However, the most frequent usage of the "Old South" is in relation to the antebellum plantation agricultural system, as well as its origins, its expansion, and its pervasive influence on the region known today as the American South. Pre-Civil War Americans regarded Southerners as a distinct people, who possessed their own values and ways of life. During the decades preceding the Civil War, popular writers created a stereotype, now known as the plantation legend, that described the South as a land of aristocratic planters, beautiful southern belles, poor white trash, faithful household slaves, and superstitious fieldhands. This image of the South as "a land of cotton where old times are not forgotten" received its most popular expression in 1859 in a song called "Dixie," written by a Northerner named Dan D. Emmett to enliven shows given by a troupe of blackfaced minstrels on the New York stage.
- Antebellum era
- American gentry
- New South
- Deep South
- Upper South
- Southern Colonies
- Border States
- Solid South
- Documenting the American South. A digital publishing initiative that provides numerous documents and information about the South of the United States before and after the American Civil War.
- Jekyll Island Club - Victorian Playground of Northern Industrialists in the Old South
- Southern Arts Federation
- Smith, Mark M., "The Old South" (Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers, 2001).