USA // The South //


Both of the rival presidents during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, were born in KENTUCKY, where acute divisions existed between slave-owning farmers and the merchants who depended on trade with the nearby cities of the industrial North. While the state remained officially neutral, more Kentuckians joined the Union army than the Confederates; after the war, however, Kentucky sided with the South in its hostility to Reconstruction and has tended to follow southern political trends.

Kentucky’s rugged beauty is at its most appealing in the mountainous east and the small historic towns of the Bluegrass Downs, home to bluegrass, bourbon and thoroughbred horses. Most of these are within reach of reserved Lexington, a major horse-breeding market, while hipper Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, lies eighty miles west. Western Kentucky, where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi, is flat, heavily forested and generally less attractive.

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  • Lexington’s horses
  • The Kentucky Derby