Colin Woodard's map of the "11 nations."
For hundreds of years, this nation has been known as the United
States of America. But according to author and journalist Colin Woodard,
the country is neither united, nor made up of 50 states. Woodward has
studied American voting patterns, demographics and public opinion polls
going back to the days of the first settlers, and says that his research
shows America is really made up of 11 different nations.
in the Northeast and industrial Midwest was founded by Puritans and
residents there have always been comfortable with a government that
regulates and moderates. The communities of the Deep South in
Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and other states were founded by former
West Indian plantation owners who wanted to recreate the society they
were used to: government based on the sacrosanct rights of a few wealthy
elite. "Greater Appalachia," extending from West Virginia in a wide
band to the northern half of Texas, was settled by people from Northern
Ireland, England and Scotland. Those people were openly antagonistic to
the so-called "ruling oligarchies" and upper classes, so they opposed
the slave plantation economy, but they also distrust government.
says that while individual residents will have their own opinions, each
region has become more segregated by ideology in recent years. In fact,
he says the mobility of American citizens has increased this partisan
isolation as people tend to self-segregate into like-minded communities.
isn't about individual behavior, it's about the characteristics of the
dominant cultures of these various regions. And you can, as an
individual, like or hate the sort of surrounding assumptions where you
live," Woodard says. "But that force that you feel that's there, and
those sort of assumptions and givens about politics, and culture, and
different social relationships — that's the forces of dominant culture
that go back to the early colonial period, and the differences between
various colonial clusters and their founders."