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region, southeastern United States, generally though not exclusively considered to be south of the Mason and Dixon Line, the Ohio River, and the 3630' parallel. As defined by the U.S. federal government, it includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The South was historically set apart from other sections of the country by a complex of factors: a long growing season, its staple crop patterns, the plantation system, and black agricultural labour, whether slave or free. White domination of blacks characterized Southern politics and economics from the 17th century and began to yield only after World War II.