In the culture of the United States, the idea of Southernization came from the observation that "Southern" values and beliefs had become more central to political success, reaching an apogee in the 1990s, with a Democratic president and vice-president from the South and Congressional leaders in both parties being from the South. Some[quantify] commentators said that Southern values seemed increasingly important in national elections through the early 21st century. American journalists in the late 2000s used the term "Southernization" to describe the political and cultural effects.
Values and beliefs often ascribed to the American South include religious conservatism, and patriotism or nationalism. Besides the cultural influence, some said that the South had infiltrated the national political stage.
In 1992, the winning presidential ticket consisted of Bill Clinton, the Governor of Arkansas, and Al Gore, a Senator from Middle Tennessee. Many leaders in Congress were also from the South, from both parties. Meanwhile the Republican Party underwent its own Southernization as more Republican leaders called for a low-tax, low-investment industrial society, principles previously held by conservative southern Democrats. Commentators such as Adam Nossiter and Michael Hirsh suggest that politics reached its apogee of Southernization in the 1990s.
As of 2013[update] the American South has more electoral votes than ever, due to an increase in population. The increasing influence of the region, however, appeared to go beyond that. Liberal commentators had said that "Southernism" had gained prominence under the George W. Bush presidency. They accredited many concepts such as frontierism and jingoism, as well as anti-abortion and anti–international-trade sentiments to the American South.
The term "Southernization" has also been used by historians to describe the influence of South Asia on the rest of the world in the early Common Era, by the 5th century CE. This is intended to be similar to the use of Westernization for the influence of the West on the rest of the world since the 15th century and the beginning of exploration and colonization. Examples of South Asian influence include Hindu-Arabic numerals, the spread of Buddhism, production and marketing of sugar, cotton and spices; and the spread of other inventions and discoveries.
- Adam Nossiter, "For South, a Waning Hold on Politics", New York Times, 12 Nov 2008, accessed 12 Nov 2008
- Michael Hirsh (April 25, 2008). "How the South Won (This) Civil War", Newsweek, accessed 22 Nov 2008
- Michiko Kakutani (March 17, 2006). "Tying Religion and Politics to an Impending U.S. Decline", The New York Times book review.
- Richard Bernstein (July 12, 1996). "BOOKS OF THE TIMES; An Ex-Conservative Indicts the Right", The New York Times.
- Shaffer, Lynda Noreen (2001). "Southernization". In Adas, Michael. Agricultural and Pastoral Societies in Ancient and Classical History. Critical perspectives on the past. American Historical Association. Temple University Press. p. 308. ISBN 9781566398329. Retrieved 2013-12-24. "The term 'southernization' [...] is used [...] to refer to a multifaceted process that began in Southern Asia and spread from there [...]. The process included [...] many interrelated strands of development[:] [...] the metallurgical, the medical, [...] the literary [...] the development of mathematics; the production and marketing of subtropical or tropical spices; the pioneering of new trade routes; the cultivation, processing, and marketing of southern crops such as sugar and cotton; and the development of various related technologies. [...] Southernization was well under way in Southern Asia by the fifth century C.E."
- Applebome, Peter (1996). Dixie Rising: How the South Is Shaping American Values, Politics and Culture. New York: Times Books. ISBN 0-8129-2653-6.
- Carter, Dan T. (1996). From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich: Race in the Conservative Counterrevolution, 1963-1994. Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 0-19-507680-X.
- Egerton, John (1974). The Americanization of Dixie: the Southernization of America. New York: Harper's Magazine Press. ISBN 0-06-122420-0.
- Perlstein, Rick (2008). Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-0-7432-4302-5.