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Evolution of State Capitals to the 1950s

Evolution of State Capitals to the 1950s

The “Purgatory Years”

(p.168) 6 Evolution of State Capitals to the 1950s
American Capitals
Christian Montès
University of Chicago Press

This chapter begins to try and explain state capitals place in the American territorial construction and their position in the urban system. To address the developmental delay of many of them, it deals with what could be called the “Purgatory years” of state capitals, up to the 1950s when a majority experienced a slow demographic and economic growth in a fast growing nation and suffered a “Babylonian” image. Capitals often experienced a difficult economic start after having been selected, although they soon became social capitals. They then were mostly ignored by the modernization processes (railroads and industrialization) that reached their fullest extent between 1880 and 1930. Being capital could only boost an existing good or rather good situation and proved unable to create an important economic basis by itself. State boundaries and economic influence are based on two different logics.

Keywords:   Image, Urban hierarchy, Railroads, Industrialization, State boundaries

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