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The Eleven Nation-States of America

American flagHow many states are there in the United States of America? Of course, we all know there are fifty. That is the reason why there are 50 stars on the flag. However, there is another way to look at things. Colin Woodard, a reporter at the Portland Press Herald, says that North America can be broken down into eleven separate nation-states.

According to Colin Woodard, the borders of the eleven nation-states show “the distribution of linguistic dialects, the spread of cultural artifacts, the prevalence of different religious denominations, and the county-by-county breakdown of voting in virtually every hotly contested presidential race in our history”. There is a map of the eleven nation-states that can be viewed in an article by the Washington Post.

The eleven nation-states (as described by Colin Woodard) are quite different from what America looked like back when it was expanding from one coast of North America to the other. There is a reason for this. The eleven nation-states have formed as a result of the ease of mobility in America. The result is that people have been sorting themselves into like-minded groups.

What are the eleven-nation states?

* “Yankeedom” – the Northeastern states and the industrial midwest. It values education and the common good more than other regions.

* “New Netherland” – Small area on the East coast below “Yankeedom”. It is a hub of global commerce and the most accepting of historically persecuted populations.

* “The Midlands” border “Yankeedom” and stretch from the East coast through Iowa. It is organized around the middle class and feels that government intrusion is unwelcome.

* “Tidewater” – Coastal area of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware. This region respects authority and values tradition.

* “Greater Appalachia” – Extends from West Virginia through the Great Smokey Mountains and into Northwest Texas. Residents are “intensly suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers.”

* “Deep South” – Most of the Southern states. This region values states’ rights and local control and fights the expansion of federal powers.

* “El Norte” – Southwest Texas and its border. Values hard work and self-sufficiency.

* “The Left Coast” – The West coast of the United States. A “hybrid of Appalachian independence and Yankee utopianism”.

* “The Far West” – The Great Plains and the Mountain West. This region is intensely libertarian and deeply distrustful of big institutions (no matter what those institutions are).

* “New France” – Former French colonies in and around New Orleans and Quebec. This region tends toward consensus and is egalitarian.

* “First Nation” The few First Nation peoples left. The have sovereignty over their lands but their population is only around 300,000.

Image by Steve Baker on Flickr.

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