AN ECONOMIC HISTORY AND ANALYSIS OF RURAL AMERICA IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM

Open Access
Author:
Palmer, Brian
Area of Honors:
History
Degree:
Bachelor of Humanities
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Catherine Wanner, Thesis Supervisor
  • Cathleen Cahill, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • American History
  • Manufacturing
  • Economics
  • Opioid
  • Politics
  • Migration
  • Rural
Abstract:
This thesis is an analysis of the economic history and present circumstances of rural American economies. I contend that the problems facing rural America are often overlooked due to inaccurate conceptions of rurality that result from the shared American historical memory. The situation in rural America is further complicated by cyclical economic deterioration that is primarily associated with outmigration trends. I argue that the worsening economic conditions in rural America have resulted in declining prime-age labor force participation rates and increased instances of drug abuse that resulted in the opioid epidemic. I maintain that the economic difficulties that plague rural America are not the result of unalterable transformations to the global economy, but can be rectified through policy, education, and drug-prevention measures.