Monday, April 9, 2012

Presenting the (slighty revised) American Nations map


I'm pleased to present the improved version of the detailed American Nations Today map, which will appear in the Penguin paperback edition of the book to be released in the fall of 2012. [Update, 11/4/12: the paperback is now available.]

This map makes a two minor improvements over the original. We've bumped up the state and provincial borders a notch so as to make the map easier to navigate. I've also added a label to south Florida, since everyone always asks about it. There are also three county corrections: Allegheny (PA), St. Louis (MO) and St. Charles (MO) were always supposed to be in the Midlands (as they are in the text), but got misassigned to Greater Appalachia due to my own sloppiness. (Three thousand little boxes, so little time.)

Feel free to either download the JPEG file above or a higher resolution PDF file and show it to your friends and colleagues. It's a wonderful conversation starter and comes from a book that would make an ideal gift for any occasion, except Talk Like a Pirate Day.

As always, let me know what you think, either here at World Wide Woodard or at the American Nations Facebook page.

87 comments:

  1. This should be interesting. It looks like something of an update on Joel Garreau's "Nine Nations of North America" from the 1980s. Some of the borders seem similar (South Florida as Caribbean, El Norte mimics MexAmerica, The Left Coast is Ecotopia. But the Greater Appalacia looks far different as does the Midlands. Guess I have to wait for the book to come out.

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  2. @Anonymous - The book came out last October, so you need not wait. It's the paperback that comes out this coming fall.

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    1. I just ordered and cannot wait to read it. I grew up in Tennessee but have lived in New Hampshire for twelve years.

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  3. I'm enjoying your book so much i cannot stop reading it. Finally i get to understand this complex country of 11 nations. One word, though. You should include a chapter on the Hispanic community of Pan-caribbean origins: Cubans, Venezuelans, Dominicans and Panamanians, most of them living in South Florida. They -Cubans, specially, have a significant clout in American politics because unlike Hispanics of Mexican descent arrived to the US they were middle class people, often better educated. This is probably why your readers (i included) feel your brilliant book to have a historic gap. Congrats and thanks for your interesting account.

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  4. This is great but I recommend some research in several areas. I sell software to school districts in Missouri and Southern Illinois.

    First there are several Illinois Counties that are really in the midlands due to their German-American Population. Washington and Clinton counties are more midlands than Greater Appalachia. The academic performance of the students and the lower rates of free and reduced lunch are greater there than in counties north of them. This is the same for Effingham and nearby counties east of that area.

    In Missouri you should google information about "little Dixie". This area is peopled by descendents of Confederate militias. Hermann, St. Charles, Boone, and St. Louis Counties are Midland. But, Calloway, Audrain, Ray, Carroll, Randolph, Pike, Ralls, are either in Greater Appalachia or the Old South.

    http://littledixie.net/
    http://www.missouridivision-scv.org/littledixie.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Dixie_%28Missouri%29

    You should also consider putting Cape Girardeau County in the Midlands.

    The Bootheel counties might belong in the old south (Pemiscott, New Madrid, Dunklin and environs.

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    1. Colin -

      I know Cape Girardeau County in Missouri quite well, having visited it frequently over the last 30 years. Based on what it is now, I'd disagree with "anonymous".

      The city was founded by the French, as was Ste Genevieve and St Louis, as a trading post and river port.

      Having grown up in and around St Louis, which it appears you put into Midlands, the two are quite different in their cultures. St Louis is much more "upper Mississippi" than Cape which is more like Nachez and Memphis. I think Cape Girardeau County belongs in Greater Appalachia. Especially as the rest of the county is true Ozarks. Culturally Cape Girardeau County is almost identical to the bootheel counties. Anonymous may wish it different. And if the Ozarks don't belong in Greater Appalachia, no place does. It is no accident that Rush Limbaugh comes from there; his politics is as Greater Appalachia as can be, and his audience, too.

      I imagine you have or will get many such suggestions about counties that you put on or near boundaries.

      I think your assessment is terrific. That you based it not on today but on those who settled an area is truly amazing, because it rings so true with my own wide reading and experience of the PEOPLE and the postures people take in at least 6 of your states. YES, we are truly different peoples in the different regions, and it is clear in our politics - who are sent to Congress and what positions they take.

      It is natural for people to project their own rationales upon others they deal with, thinking that others will be rational in the same way they are. But that is not true and it creates conflict when people don't act as we expect them to (based on our own ways of approaching things).

      GOOD JOB. Now to go buy the book.

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  5. @Ignacio - I agree entirely that there is a Spanish or Pan Caribbean regional culture, and that southernmost Florida is a part of it. Adding it -- and 500 years of its history -- to the book was just one step too vast for what was already a vast analysis. Perhaps in a sequel (which could cover the regional cultures in Mesoamerica as well.)

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    1. I personally would love to see such a sequel. I'm interested in similar info about South America and Europe, as well. And then there's the rest of the world. You weren't planning anything else, were you? How overwhelmingly extensive and all-consuming could it be, after all? In the meantime, though, I'm grateful for and inspired by your work.

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  6. @Anonymous of May 24 - Thanks much for this excellent on the ground intel. I've been aware of Little Dixie -- it's that section of Greater Appalachia north of St. Louis -- but the sources you provide suggest it to be a third larger than assigned. Will check into the other counties you describe.

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  7. Is the District of Columbia included in Greater Appalachia?

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  8. @Anonymous - Although the map doesn't make this clear, D.C. is a non-conforming federal district, artificially created and populated by people drawn from other regional cultures. (It is not a coincidence that the land the District occupies straddles the border between Tidewater and the Midlands. Originally Arlington was part of it.)

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  9. I would agree with Anonymous in that more of Central Illinois should be in the Midlands. Central Illinois is not really Appalachian, and the cities of Central Illinois like Bloomington, Decatur, Springfield, Galesburg, and Urbana are much more like Iowa than Kentucky or Tennessee. Abraham Lincoln was from Springfield and Central Illinois produced lots of Conscience Whigs and nonSouthern Republicans (like Bob Michel and Ray Lahood). Illinois south of Effingham is very much part of Greater Appalachia. Even the accents are different that those of Central Illinois (I travel and interact with school districts all over the State because of my job and I lived in Urbana for four years).

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  10. @Joe - Thanks much for your input. It's very helpful to have feedback from on the ground. (Drawing the boundaries of the Midlands is one of the most difficult exercises as it is, in many ways, a buffer state. You could have Scots-Irish and Anglo-Protestant New Englanders living side by side with Germans and others and it would be very "Midlander", so the cultural markers are less distinct from afar.)

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    1. Colin -

      If I may chime in again, I lived in both Southern Illinois and Central Illinois (as well as Chicago, Maine, Cleveland, and Denver) - I agree with both Ben and Joe. Central Illinois is like Iowa or most of northern Ohio.

      Southern Illinois is part of the Ozarks, in all but name.

      NOT the same cultures.

      I-70 may be a decent dividing line, as they suggest. Some parts of Southern Illinois are much more like Mississippi or Joplin, MO than Central Illinois.

      Haha - I can barely make it out, but I see you put Ford County, IL in the midlands, not Appalachia. (It has a distinctive shape.) I agree. I lived there for 2 years and the culture is NOT like Southern Illinois, but like Iowa.

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    2. Steve - Thanks much for your comment here. I'm not clear on what your disagreement is with the map, though. Southern Illinois - like the Ozarks - is indeed in Greater Appalachia. Central Illinois is Midlands so, yes, a different culture.

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  11. As someone who lived for many years in Champaign, let me add another vote for including central Illinois in the Midlands, rather than Greater Appalachia. Perhaps I-70 would be a useful border between the two. There is a surprisingly large cultural distinction between southern Illinois and central Illinois, which also appears in this map of religious pluralities by county: http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/237-regionalism-and-religiosity

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    1. Another vote for moving the Midlands border southwards is registered.

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  12. @Colin Woodward, If you have a chance, you may want to do some research on "Little Egypt" which is the portion of Illinois South of Effingham and is distinctly Southern. Also, you may want to do a little research on "Michiana", the area of Indiana which borders Michigan. Michiana (and the rest of Northwest Indiana) is very culturally close to Chicago (greater New England) and Michigan. Both Little Egypt and the Northern tier Indiana (the Northwest Region and Michiana) are great examples of small regions within a state dominated by a different culture (nation). The populations of these mini-regions generally feel alienated from the state governments and state cultures which are often antithetical to the values of the smaller region.

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  13. You might consider making this graphic into a poster and selling it.

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    1. Thanks much. You're actually the sixth person to mention that. If I was certain that each of you represented 200 customers, I'd be at the printer now!

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    2. Yes. Colin may not sell so many in Greater Appalachia or the Deep South, but people in the other states would be proud to be associated with their regions.

      Sign me up for one!

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  14. I'm intrigued by your inclusion of the Nordic, agricultural upper Midwest in the same region as the predominantly Anglo-Celtic, forested-industrial New England/upstate New York and Chicagoland, a nation unto itself that spreads out for 100 or so miles in all directions from the center of the city of Chicago (the way New Netherland takes in the New York City area). I see very little to unite these regions other than similarity of settlement patterns in the first half of the 19th century, generally pragmatic-liberal politics, extreme weather, and support of public radio.

    It also seems odd that the greater Great Lakes area minus Chicagoland (the Inland North, the Rust Belt, the Pierogi Belt, the Polka Belt, the Lake Effect Snowbelt, the Bowling Belt, or whatever you want to call it) is divided among several regions. It seems as culturally cohesive as anything on this map.

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    1. It's best you read the book to understand the whys of this, but I stand by the borders.

      I disagree that the "greater Great Lakes area minus Chicagoland" has great cultural cohesion. I refer you to the other comments on this page from residents of Illinois. The Western Reserve and southern Ohio don't see eye to eye about much of anything, either during the Civil War or the past few presidential elections. I could go on but, seriously, check out the book.

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  15. re: Talk Like a Pirate Day
    I once heard New Orleans referred to as the northernmost Caribbean port. I was delighted to find so much information and allusion in a simple little sentence.

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    1. Yes, New Orleans is an amalgam, in American Nations terms, of the Spanish Caribbean, New France, and the Deep South, which is why it's so fascinating.

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  16. For the next edition of your map I would recommend a greater deep dive into Southern Ontario as well. My background is in industrial sales so I interact with a broad spectrum of groups within this area. Southern Ontario is quite diverse and should not be completely lumped into the Midlands region.

    Yes the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to Ottawa Valley region is Midlands but I would argue that Southwestern Ontario culturally and politically doesn't fit into this rubric. Windsor for instance has more in common with Detroit and Chicago than it does to Toronto. Windsor/Chatham/Sarnia (Essex, Kent and Lambton Counties) are economically tied with the Midwest US, not the GTA. Windsor and Sarnia for instance even have the culture and even the cities look "American." The influence of Catholicism is much more present here than in the rest of Ontario. Much of Windsor for instance was developed by Midwesterners (almost a a Midwestern colony in the Commonwealth you could say) and of course the auto industry brought Midwest corporate culture to the area. Windsor has the Detroit style of aggressive labour unionism that quite frankly would be more at home in Chicago/Detroit or even Montreal than in "polite" Toronto. Southwestern Ontario is also more extroverted culturally and has a more "live and let live" culture than staid Toronto.

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    1. I'd be pleased to do a deeper dive into southern Ontario, and thanks much for your thoughts.

      I'm guessing you haven't read the book itself, though, and may misunderstand the salient characteristics of the Midlands, which would more easily embrace "the influence of Catholicism", being "developed by Midwesterners" and "live and let live culture" than the Yankee ethos I'm guessing you'd seek to place the southwest of the province in.

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    2. I have partly read the book and have been rereading sections, that is true... My point, to clarify, was to accentuate the differences between Yankee and Midland culture within Southern Ontario. The GTA and cities away from the border, such as London, Kitchener/Waterloo, Kingston, Ottawa, etc. definitely have a different culture and worldview than for instance Windsor and Sarnia. After all, Toronto and Kingston were settled primarily by "United Empire Loyalists" those who fled the Revolution. The elites of Toronto were called the "Family Compact." Southwestern Ontario was settled by the French and has a much more Catholic infused culture with more than a touch of New France settlement. A cursory comparison of street names and land surveying in Windsor and Detroit for instance shows a French influence that you do not see even in London, ON. (Many common names between Windsor and Detroit names as well) The area is a meeting point between Yankeedon and The Midlands as detailed in the book. Perhaps a county by county analysis of Southern Ontario for the next edition such as done for MI and NY would be appropriate? Maybe the Toronto area actually has more Yankeedom influence while Metro Detroit and Windsor are part of the Midlands?

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    3. All interesting ideas. The paradigm would argue for both areas being in the Midlands (on account of the Late Loyalists -- really Midlanders fleeing the aftermath of a Revolution they'd never supported), though Windsor and the like are so close to the borders of Yankeedom, one might perhaps feel the cultural pull (being on within what the cultural geographers would call the periphery of Yankee culture.)

      You do get a certain degree of variation even within a "nation". Consider northern and southern France or northern and southern Italy or Germany. Or New England vs Yankee Michigan vs Yankee Minnesota. Broadly speaking, they're all a shared culture, but it doesn't mean they're entirely homogenous. Perhaps the same is true comparing the Toronto GSA with the southwest of Ontario?

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  17. One thing I would love to see someone create a "pedestrian vs. motorist" right-of-way map. From my extensive experience traveling all over North America, you can tell a lot about a place by conscious motorists are of pedestrians. Do they stop traffic to let them cross or do the drive past them?

    That and liquor laws. You can tell a lot about the local culture by their liquor laws since most liquor laws are local and they are so varied from state to state (or province to province)

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  18. I have to disagree with the people who said that central Illinois should be Midlands. I was born in Danville and have lived in Champaign for 30 years. Take the University of Illinois away from Champaign-Urbana and you are left with a small town mentality. Quite a few of these people have white collar jobs but inside a mix of worldviews. There are a lot of people here with what I would call a hillbilly or peasant worldview. They have nice enough cars and homes but when you talk to them about politics or economics, that is when you see the above stated worldview revealed.
    Regarding a printed map-a print on demand service?

    Thanks for the book--it really comes at a good time.

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    1. Thanks much for your input. Central Illinois has been the subject of quite a bit of discussion.

      I haven't yet taken any action toward creating a printed map on demand, although with the high res PDF many users-with-plotters may be able to produce their own.

      Do enjoy; the paperback is out at exactly the right time, me thinks.

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    2. Markmors -

      I would ask you if you thought that area around Champaign is more like Iowa (Midlands) or Southern Illinois - culturally. YES, farmers, farmers, farmers - but Appalachian farmers or Iowa farmers? Big difference, and having had three kids go to IL State Univ. and lived a bit north in farm country there, as well as having spent a good deal of time in and also around Cape Girardeau (noted above) the culture in the area as I see it is MUCH more Midlands than Greater Appalachia.

      I would ask if you've spent any time in the lower half of the state? Or in the true Ozarks?

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  19. IMO --- McLean Co Illinois should be midlands; Tuscarawas Co Ohio should be Greater Appalachia.

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    1. Thanks much for your input. There's been a lot of discussion of the Midlands/Appalachia border in IL and OH, so I appreciate your votes on that.

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  20. Allegheny, PA works much better in the Midlands. Pittsburgh is clearly heavily influenced by the our neighbors in Greater Appalachia, but our culture is far more northern. Since reading your book a couple of months ago, I've been noting the Appalachian/Midland divide in practically every interaction I have had. There's a major change in attitudes, values and even accent as you move eastm south or west. I think this boundary even explains driving behavior, with a peculiar local inability to cooperatively merge onto a highway, and an agression to anyone who tries to change lanes.

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    1. Thanks much for the feedback. I'm glad it rungs true on the ground.

      Allegheny County was always supposed to be in the Midlands - it's referred to as such in the book - but I tagged the wrong county when I was helping create the first version of the map. (It's corrected in this map, which appears in the Penguin paperback edition.)

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  21. Greetings from the Czech Republic, Colin, where your book is being put to good use in two courses I'm over here teaching on a Fulbright Fellowship: "Cultural Geography of the US" and "Race, Culture and Politics of the US and UK." These are in the Dept. of English and American Studies at the Univ. of Ostrava.

    Basically, your account is the core of the story I'm telling students about the development of the US, especially as this bears on its politics. I'm supplementing that story with material from Michael Lind, Kevin Phillips, and Ira Berlin's "The Making of African America." Of course, we've also got the election in the background (or sometimes foreground) as a contemporary point of reference.

    The one thing I'm finding frustrating is that the 11-nations schema, while overwhelmingly true I think, leaves two or maybe three things unexplained. You see the problem as soon as you overlay a county map of the election results on your map. Yes, Yankeedom, the southern alliance, the Left Coast and El Norte are all visible in those results, but you have to kind of squint to see them, because lots of counties in each region voted the "other" way. The best single explanation of why, it seems to me, is urbanization: rural counties even in Yankeedom are Republican, and urban areas even in the Deep South are Democratic. Related to that, African-American areas are Democratic; that includes big cities in most regions, and also several tracts in the South that politically cut across the tendencies of the Southern Alliance.

    It would be nice if there were a single account, a kind of Unified Theory as it were, that incorporated these facts along with -- and equally as elegantly -- as your account of the 11 regions. As it is, "American Nations" makes clear why, for instance, Ohio and Colorado are swing states, but it's harder to see without a bunch of further explanation why Nevada is one too (on your map it's all "Far West"), or a rural Yankee state like Wisconsin, or a gentrifying southern state like Virginia with a substantial A-A population.

    The one other thing that I find I have to reach outside my core sources to explain is the overwhelming dominance of Baptists in the South. Based on the regions' origins, one would expect the Deep South to be Anglican or Methodist and Greater Appalachia to be Presbyterian. Again, I understand the later influence of revivalism and the like, but I'd love to see this incorporated into a Unified Theory too.

    Anyway, your book came out just as I was beginning prep work on these courses, and it's helped me immensely, so thanks very much for that!

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    1. Thanks much. Believe it or not, I've passed through Ostrava many times by train heading to and from Hungary and Poland back in the 1990s.

      Yes, some counties vote "the other way", but not as many as you might think, and rural/urban explanations often fall short. (How to account for 15 of 16 counties in Maine -- a rural, overwhelmingly white state -- having supported Obama two elections in a row?) The cores of major cities do tend to vote Democratic, but that doesn't explain why rural counties fail to show consistent patterning.

      On religion, turn to historical sources on how the Second Great Awakening played out in different parts of the country. Add the (regionally based) split over whether slavery was God-ordained or not (which have us Southern v American Baptists, Southern v United Methodists, etc) and you'll see how regional cultural characteristics shaped religious denominations.

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    2. Colin -

      I am finding my connection to the places discussed here uncanny. (I even have connections in Southern Ontario.)

      But Ostrava...LOL

      I also have a connection to Ostrava, a lovely friend of ten years. Amazing...

      Jeff S -

      If I could suggest one explanation for the Baptists in the Deep South and Appalachia at this late date... And perhaps for Colin as well:

      I was raised a Baptist, so I have connections to THAT, too. The Presbyterian point you make is valid. But the Elmer Gantry effect - the proselytizers - I think changed the culture to a more strict brand of religion.

      It might be worth noting that the Scottish Reformation was the same strictness, and when they lost power in the Scottish Enlightenment, they left and came to America in order to adhere to that strictness. The old story we all were told that they came to America FOR religious freedom is 180° backward: They wanted to keep clamping down on others, and when the others said hell no, they ran off in a huff so that they could do the Salem type of religion away from the much more liberal atmosphere in Scotland after 1700. In that way the Baptist message would seem to have been more to their liking than moderately liberal Presbyterianism.

      I could be wrong, but if you look up some of that, it might make it more clear to you.

      And enjoy Ostrava! It is a beautiful city.

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  22. Colin: First, let me tell you how much I enjoyed the book.

    Now that we're done with the election, a great deal of the results can be explained by your book. But there's one anomaly: Why do the counties of the eastern Midlands (Iowa and east) tend to vote for Democrats, while the western Midlands (Nebraska, Missouri and points west) go so reliably for Republicans?

    There is a similar East/West split in Yankeedom: The eastern parts are quite liberal, while the Yankee portions of the upper Midwest also went Democrat, but by uniformly smaller margins.

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    1. I don't yet have a scientific answer for you, but certainly the national characteristics have the strongest signal in their oldest (generally easternmost) cores, and weakest as you approach the 100th meridian. Still the patterns hold.

      I would note that the Midlands has always been politically ambiguous, so one would expect a mixed checkerboard, all other things being equal. (Note that much of the Missouri midlands voted Democratic in this cycle; its the Appalachian sections that carried the day for Romney there.)

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    2. I would seriously question Anonymous' assertion that the upper Midwest went Democratic but by smaller margins. 95% of northern Illinois outside the city of Chicago is conservative (and Midlands), and I include the collar counties in that for the most part. But Chicago and the collar counties are not in the Midlands on your map. The rest of northern IL are conservative. If ANYTHING, I would group everything west of Chicago as Midlands, NOT Yankeedom. At least as the cultures now are. Colin, you might include the collar counties as Yankeedom, but really, they don't belong. I've lived in and dealt with Yankeedom a good deal, and the Chicago collar counties ain't it.

      [Politics: In terms of the election, compare it to 2008, when I believe that Illinois had the highest percentage of Demoocratic votes of any state (in spite of all the conservatives "downstate." Why did it change in 2012? MANY, MANY felt betrayed by Obama from day one. His continuing of Bush policies will rankle forever for those folks. They think of him as a traitor.]

      Wisconsin is another culture altogether. They DO seem like Yankeedom. The people of WI have the same taxation mindset you talk about in Yankeedom. All the way south to the state line and all the way to the Mississippi. Including south in Iowa to the Dubuque area as you've called it, Colin. Nice going on that part.

      But Northern Illinois, no. Considerably different peoples. If you cross the state line southbound, the people are different down in their cores. Really. Republican to the core. Reagan country. He grew up in Dixon, right about the center of the IL Yankeedom you've shown. Which area is as Midlands as Iowa is. They have nothing in common with New England and eastern Yankeedom.

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  23. This is godawful. Please explain to me why Austin, TX and the, well, ANY part of Texas is akin to appalachia.

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    1. I suggest you read the book. I don't provide cliff notes to the rude.

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  24. I loved your book! I grew up in Wisconsin in a family that came from New England several generations ago, so I really understand the NE influence on Wisconsin. Now I live in Washington, and for the first time I understand why Seattle is so different from the eastern part of the state.

    But here's what I don't understand--if you look at the 2012 county electoral map, you'll see that there are large regions of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota that are very red. Why are these regions--often settled by Germans, Scandinavians, Polish--different from the blue parts of the state settled by the same ethnic groups? As far as I know, these parts of the northern midwest were not settled by Appalachians or southerners.

    Thanks for the most enlightening book I've ever read which has helped my understand the crazy politics in this country!

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    1. Thanks much - I'm glad you enjoyed the book.

      There are, indeed, "red" sections in the "Yankee" Upper Midwest states. The paradigm would argue that Yankees set the cultural DNA of the area and that, over time, newcomers' descendents generally assimilate into that dominant cultural landscape. There are variations in political behavior even within the nations, to be sure. (A look at an electoral map in Germany, England, Italy, or Japan will reveal the same.) But I'd posit that these continue to represent a minority position.

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  25. I think a revised map is a great idea (and add my vote for making this map into a poster), yet I'm frustrated by the absence of a larger map which takes into the account northernmost North America, that we might see how far the borders of the Far West, Left Coast, New France, and First Nations extend. I'm particularly interested in seeing more of First Nations, given what your book said (at least I think it did; it's been awhile since I read it) about the growth of First Nation autonomy in Canada, and its future ties with Greenland.

    My second point: You mention New Orleans' "amalgam" status as blending Spanish Caribbean, New France, and the Deep South; how much damage was done to that cultural status as the result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, given the mass exodus from the city in the aftermath? Or has it rebounded?

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    1. An excellent point; I have the data for the Far North of the continent on a county and Canadian census unit level -- just a matter of making the map. One of these days....

      I don't have an answer on New Orleans, having not been there since Katrina, but as a general proposition, culture has a way of surviving.

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  26. Colin, Thanks much for your book. I read Garreau's Nine Nations years ago, and more recently, Fischer's Albion's Seed - so it was super to see you acknowledged their contributions - AND build on them.

    I teach a class in the philanthropy and used Fischer as part of my introduction to explain some of the historical patterns of the development of nonprofits. Your observations lead me to consider how those are expressed today. Your thoughts?

    Thanks.... M

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    1. M - Definitely check out E. Digby Baltzell's "Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia" if you haven't already. He analyzes differences in philanthropy in great detail, and argues that they are due to deep cultural differences dating back to the early colonial era.

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  27. Sir,
    Enjoyed your book very much and have recommended to others.

    However, I don't feel that Colorado can any longer be classified as part of the " Far West" or at least parts of Colorado cannot be. Many former residents of the loopy " Left Coast" have fled to Colorado but kept the ideology which wrought that they fled from. They have, unfortunately, also bred.
    Colorado has sadly become the easternmost outpost of the Far Left.

    ( I'm serious about this is as a native of a neighboring state.)

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    1. Anonymous - I find this intriguing and funny, both. There are elements of your comment of imagined superiority. This contrasts with my own sense that the Far West is actually a lesser one of the 11 Nations. Raised on the Midlands side of the Midlands-Greater Appalachia divide, I've also lived in Yankeedom (New England proper and Chicago suburbs for many years) and Colorado (long ago). Colorado even 40 years ago was trending toward Yankeedom-Midlands-Left Coast. "Don't Californicate Colorado" was already on bumper stickers. It was the Far West that seemed alien and backward to me - pockets of people who seemed to idolize the Marlboro Man. Even then this seemed like people having difficulty moving out of the 1800s. The great influx since then of people from back east and from California since then have probably made it less Marlboro Man.

      All of this tends to corroborate Woodard's premise of culture being dictated by the original settlers.

      And yet every influx in itself is a settlement of a new culture and poses complications to the basic premise: How many new settlers does it take to overwhelm the culture? After all, the Native Americans' cultures got overwhelmed - this being Woodard's idea in the first place. So, such overwhelming can happen. And enclaves exist all over he world. Ergo, when does an enclave of Californians in a lightly populated state like CO become dominant - like white man's culture dominated the various parts of North America?

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  28. I wrote the above and just realized that a subject to explore is " The California Diaspora"; it seems no one has analyzed it in depth and it is real and happening.

    The cause and effect both on Cali and the areas to which they flee.

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  29. When researching my family history I found that many early "Yankees" (pre-1800) moved from Connecticut and Long Island/Brooklyn to the Raritan River Valley of NJ. I imagine that their influence was overwhelmed by the New Netherlands crowd, or absorbed into the Midlands set, but there were so many that they must have had an impact for a while.

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    1. @Anonymous - In moving to New Netherland or Midlands environs, your Yankee forebears would have been in good company. The cultural fabric of both those places prized pluralism, and Yankees were among the significant participants in their "national" life.

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  30. I was raised in Ohio, lived 41 years in central Florida...and finally have relocated to the Left Coast. yes...there were massive differences between all 3 places...i prefer the intelligence and tolerance of Ecotopia...we dont have all the answers but compared to the midlands and deep south, we are just fine...it remains to be seen if these differences stand up to immigration and the onslaught of digitized Wall Street capitalism....which destroys the planet,people and all life in reality...

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  31. I read your book (“Nations”) last year and found it fascinating.
    I grew up in western Illinois (Quincy), moving later to Phoenix, Arizona. I agree with your designation of Phoenix’s county (Maricopa) as El Norte. When I moved here fresh out of college 30 years ago, I would have described Phoenix at the time as a Far West culture, and it had been for the previous 100 years. It was a Native American culture that several hundred years ago carved out the canal system upon which modern metro Phoenix has modeled its vital canals. White settlers arrived here just after the Civil War, centuries after the Native settlements were abandoned, and began anew as a crop-based agricultural economy (cotton and citrus, mostly). There was a Hispanic presence for years, but was a fairly small minority until the Mexican and Central American influx in the 1990’s and 2000’s transformed the area to what could inarguably be called a border culture, or El Norte (Tucson to the south, by contrast, has always been an El Norte culture, having been founded 200 some years ago by the Spanish colonials).
    I agree with some of the other contributors here that much of “urban” central Illinois might be re-designated from Greater Appalachia to a Midlands status. Quincy, tucked into the corner of far western Illinois in Adams County, definitely deserves a re-visitation of its status as well. Quincy differs from the other central Illinois towns in that it is a Mississippi River town in an area of rolling hills rather than towns like the prairie farm towns of Springfield, Decatur, Bloomington, etc., to the east. It is one of the oldest major towns in Illinois, founded by “Yankee” John Wood around 1825, and described by Mark Twain in his 1883 “Life on the Mississippi”, as having “the aspect and ways of a model New England town”. The town was further settled in the mid- to late-19th century by German immigrants (including some of my ancestors). Quincy to this day has strong public schools a good appreciation of the arts, having the oldest civic arts council in the U.S. So I think Quincy, Illinois’ Adams County definitely merits a Midlands (heck, maybe even a “Yankeedom”) designation.
    I know that a proper designation of every county and municipality in the U.S. is a tall order, and I think it’s great that you’ve created this forum for listening to your readers.

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    1. Thanks for your on the ground input on this. With enough "crowdsourcing" feedback, perhaps I can improve the map in places going forward.

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  32. Yankeedom and the Midlands are far, far more mixed with each other than they appear on your map.

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  33. "buy my book if you want to disagree with me"

    okaaay...

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    1. I don't care if you buy it or not, but read it. Your library probably has a copy.

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  34. I have said and postulated these same things which you say for a very long time. Having grown up in Eastern Massachusetts, a yankee child of old yankee families, in a very yankee suburb of Boston-- but having lived in NYC, California, Washington State, and small rural towns in Massachusetts and also Maine in my career as a reporter/editor/journalist, and having traveled across both Canada and the US several times; I have found these differences obvious. Even starkly so. Long a fan of David Hackett Fischer, I have also been a fan of Albion's Seed. Somehow I missed 'Nine Nations', but have found and read, with general approval, (and certain questions), your book. It is clearly an important work, raising necessary questions and providing needed answers, and I congratulate you on it. Though living now a captive on the Canadian/NY border, (which is clearly French-Canadian, but with the strong but fading imprint of the Vermont Yankees who settled here but then moved on), I frequently try to return to Yankeeland for emotional and intellectual sustenance. Summer on the Cape and the coast of Maine suit my soul, as does nothing else. Summer also suits my French-Canadian schoolteacher wife, though she doesn't like the water, Rt. 128, crowds, (no one lives in Malone, NY anymore so people shock her), or seafood. One question I have would be about Alexander Hamilton's origins, and why you gave the generally acknowledged selfless banker of the Revolution, Robert Morris, such terrible press. He advanced millions, never got them back, so of course he had to try any way he could to try to break even. And he still taught Hamilton all he knew, allowing them to make sure the new nation was established on a secure economic foundation. In my view, which many share, if the border ruffians had been allowed to succeed in their anarchy, they would have killed the USA in her crib. Robert Morris deserves better. Without him, for better or worse, John Adams' vision of a strong and free America, subservient colonies no longer, would have not been possible, and we would be living different lives in different countries. (I am not old Anonymous-- just so technically unsavvy as to declare myself in any other way.)

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  35. I live in El Norte and find much of what you write to be true. You are the only person besides myself to give significance to the Proposition 8 vote of 2008 in assigning regional significance. Santa Barbara was the only SoCal county to vote against Prop 8, and although it has other Left Coast tendencies, you cannot uproot it from El Norte and place it in the Left Coast on that basis.

    My area of disagreement with you is in the assimilation of Latinos (primarily Mexicans) into American culture. You say you expect El Norte to secede from the US (and Mexico) one day and become its own nation. I beg to differ on that and offer as evidence this excellent article from the liberal LA Times analyzing the disappearance of legendary Mexican-American radio talkshow host "Piolin" from the radio airwaves.

    The LA Times (among others) attributes the marked decline in his popularity to the assimilation of young Latinos who are more likely today to listen to English-language radio talks stations and/or music stations.

    I am linking this recent article and highly recommend you read the entire article, as well as some of the comments (click on "Read Comments" to get more then the 3 most recent comments):

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-piolin-por-la-manana-20130724,0,5580642.story

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    1. Thanks for raising this and for the link. If I understand right, you're arguing that, in the L.A. context at least, El Norte is not the dominant culture, thus the assimilation of young Latinos into the English-speaking world, rather than the reverse. I'd be interested what others who live in your region think. (I, of course, live on the opposite end of the country.)

      One correction: I never said I expect El Norte to secede. In the Epilogue I suggested it was just one of many possibilities over the next century, including the possibility that the borders of the US, Canada, and Mexico will remain the same.

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    2. In terms of being the "dominant culture" I would have to say LA is probably the capital of El Norte. If as LA Times says, more young Latinos are assimilating in the 2nd & 3rd generations (my personal experience supports that) I suspect that is happening all over El Norte. Even across the Mexican border many American trends are embraced by young Mexicans, even though most of them dont speak English.

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    3. I'll admit that my personal experience with El Norte comes from having lived in southernmost Texas, a strong counterpoint to what you're saying about L.A. (If these nations were to have cultural capitals, I'd nominate San Antonio.)

      In this vein, check out this piece from this week's print edition of The Economist, in which we meet white, English-speaking South Texas teenagers celebrating their quinceaƱera. www.economist.com/news/united-states/21582530-teenagers-san-antonio-give-foretaste-americas-hispanic-future-power

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    4. Good point. San Antonio has a strong claim to being cultural capital of El Norte. Because LA is also an entertainment capital it has a different flavor than San Antonio, which tends to be more old-school, traditional Mexican. (I dont see "quinceaneras" ever making any impact on white Anglos in western El Norte: AZ & SoCal).
      Even though SoCal has more Latinos in total numbers than Bexar county, Bexar has a significantly higher Latino % (59%-48%)

      My understanding of San Antonio/south Texas is that Latinos (I shy away from the bureaucratese term Hispanic) have been in political power for a longer time. When Antonio Villaraigosa was elected mayor of LA around 2005 or so, he was the first Latino/Mexican mayor in 130+ years.

      Of the 3 other largest SoCal cities, the only one that has had a Latino mayor is Santa Ana (78% Latino) which has had the same Latino mayor since 1994. Long Beach (41% Latino) has never had a Latino mayor, nor has Anaheim (53% Latino), where a measure to increase Latino representation on the City Council was recently defeated. Anaheim has had only 3 Latino City Council members in its 140-year history (none presently).

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  36. Nowhere in Oklahoma or Texas should be a part of the Midlands. They are some mix of Far West and Greater Appalachia.

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    1. Yes, except for that northern panhandle/western panhandle area.

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    2. Then how are Philadelphia and Baltimore in the same region as the OK and TX pandhandles? Philadelphia/ Baltimore are much more in favor of government and pro labor union than the western areas of the Midlands.

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    3. The map is based on early settlement patterns. Those small parts of Oklahoma and Texas are the farthest flung regions of a settlement flow and resulting cultural ethos anchored in the 17th century Quaker-founded colonies on Delaware Bay. Reading the book, of course, will make this all much clearer.

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  37. I read your book and I thought it was well written and argued a theory that seemed absolutely counter-intuitive excellently. My suggestion is to add detailed maps showing the national differences for important controversies, which can be hard to imagine given only a textual description.

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    1. That idea was shot down by the publisher back in the day, but hopefully will have more maps for you soon through some academic collaboration.

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  38. Columbus is not Appalachian. Huge mistake there.

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    1. Several people have said that. Midland, you think?

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    2. Colin -

      Midland. All the way from there to the Yankeedom border. Lived in Ohio five years, got to Columbus several times. Columbus is not Cleveland, not Yankeedom. But FAR from being Appalachia. From Columbus north it is like Iowa. Farmers, but Iowa type farmers.

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  39. I was born in rural east central Indiana (in one of the Indiana counties still included in "Greater Appalachia" designation, and not "Midland".) All my relatives were descended from family members who migrated from North Carolina and Virginia through Ohio and then settling in Indiana. Red state folks through and through. Socially conservative, very self reliant and suspicious of outsiders and outside ideas. White, protestant, and very Republican. And with lots of "southern" foods, speech and mannerisms. When the word for soft drink is tested my home county says "Coke" for any variety of carbonated drink. And check out the "hoosier apex". Right where I came from. Colin I think you're pretty accurate, moving Appalachia northward into what others have viewed as midland. My raising and subsequent years in east central Indiana tell me so.

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    1. Thanks much. Always great to hear confirmation from the ground!

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  40. I really enjoy this map! I am a DC native, but lived in Montgomery County MD for several years growing up. I lived specifically in the part of Montgomery right across the river from the Louden Co/Fairfax Co VA border, so I am really from a border zone! Your research holds true with my experience growing up here- there is definitely a lot of cultural mixing going on the the DC metro. I'm really interested in what you have to say about the characteristics of these 11 nations, i.e. Tidewater, Greater Appalachia, and the Midlands. I look forward to reading your book for more!

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    1. You are on that border for sure. I lived in DC for four years, so have seen that first hand.

      The book really does unpack it all -- the map is just the wrapper to get your attention!

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  41. This is a tremendously interesting book and, to me as a recent immigrant from Europe, explains the many quirks in American society. But, I'm reading in on my Kindel - and it is missing maps. Quite important, I would say, as the whole book is about geography and migration.

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  42. The Kindle edition doesn't have the maps? Let me check into that.

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  43. I just wrote a comment to you via your Facebook location and realized now that I forgot something: you write about how lingustic and dialect maps hint at or show patterns of settlement which then tend to be retained cultural and politically. With regard to "Canada" and the "US" on both sides of the Great Lakes some language maps put Ontario and say Chicago and other cities on a very similar dialect. Yet the Canadians are not participating in the Northern Cities Vowel Shift http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Cities_vowel_shift and they have "Canadian Rising". So I am not discounting your principle premises, just showing that "Canada" appears to lead to variations within the "nations" in a somewhat systematic fashion.

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  44. Hi Colin: I just read through your comments and are reading the book. While your publisher shot down the idea for detailed maps - there is a subset of us, who not only admire your work and are very visually oriented. We would greatly benefit from maps, the larger the better. I for one am willing and able to pay the freight for your work and publishing costs for such map or maps. Please keep us informed of any plans for maps.

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  45. I have read many of the comments that take issue with how their particular counties or local areas have been described in your 'Nations map today' . I have just recently read your book and am less interested in whether or not my county is accurately described in today's terms than I am with the overall descriptions of the Nations, their migration patterns and the implications on our modern life and political dialogue. I wish this book would be required reading in high school history classes. I was glued to the pages. Thank you.

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