Making the Heartland Quilt
A Geographical History of Settlement and Migration in Early-nineteenth-century IllinoiseBook - 2000
Douglas K. Meyer reconstructs the settlement patterns of thirty-three immigrant groups and confirms the emergence of discrete culture regions and regional way stations.
Meyer argues that midcontinental Illinois symbolizes a historic test-strip of the diverse population origins that unfolded during the Great Migration. Basing his research on the 1850 United States manuscript schedules, Meyer dissects the geographical configurations of twenty-three native and ten foreign-born adult male immigrant groups who peopled Illinois. His historical geographical approach leads to the comprehension of a new and clearer map of settlement and migration history in the state.
Meyer finds that both cohesive and mixed immigrant settlements were established. Balkan-like immigrant enclaves or islands were interwoven into evolving local, regional, and national settlement networks. The midcontinental location of Illinois, its water and land linkages, and its lengthy north-south axis enhanced cultural diversity. The barrier effect of Lake Michigan contributed to the convergence and mixing of immigrants. Thus, Meyer demonstrates, Illinois epitomizes Midwestern dichotomies: northern versus southern; native-born versus foreign-born; rural versus urban; and agricultural versus manufacturing.
Meyer (geography, Eastern Illinois University) reconstructs the settlement patterns of 33 immigrant groups and confirms the emergence of discrete cultural regions and regional way stations. Meyer argues that mid-continental Illinois symbolizes a historic test-strip of the divers population origins that unfolded during the Great Migration. He demonstrates that Upland Southerners, New Englanders, Midlanders-Midwesterners, and foreigners formed culturally mixed regional way stations that interconnected in expanding continental urban-transport systems and culture regions. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)