On returning to the Union in 1868, the state continued to suffer due to its reliance on the large-scale plantation economy. Cotton continued as the leading commodity crop, although the cotton market declined. Because farmers and businessmen did not diversify and there was little industrial investment, the state fell behind in terms of its economy and opportunities for residents.
White rural interests dominated the state's politics by disenfranchisement of African Americans and by refusal to reapportion the legislature. It was not until after the civil rights movement and passage of federal legislation that more African Americans were able to vote. The Supreme Court overturned rural domination in the South and other states that had refused to reapportion their state legislatures, or retained rules based on geographic districts. In one man, one vote, it ruled that states had to organize both houses of their legislatures by districts that held approximately equal populations, and that these had to be redefined as necessary after each decade's census.
Following World War II, Arkansas began to diversity its economy. In the 21st century, its economy is based on service industries, aircraft, poultry, steel, and tourism, along with important commodity crops of cotton, soybeans and rice.
The name Arkansas was initially applied to the Arkansas River. It derives from a French term, Arcansas, their plural term for their transliteration of akansa, an Algonquian term for the Quapaw people. These were a Dhegiha Siouan-speaking people who settled in Arkansas around the 13th century. akansa is likely also the root term for Kansas.
The name has been pronounced and spelled in a variety of fashions.[c] In 1881, the state legislature defined the official pronunciation of Arkansas as having the final "s" be silent (as it would be in French). A dispute had arisen between the state's two senators over the pronunciation issue. One favored pronunciation as ɔː/ AR-kən-saw while the other favored s/ KAN-zəs.[c]
In 2007, the state legislature passed a non-binding resolution declaring that the possessive form of the state's name is Arkansas's, which has been followed increasingly by the state government.