The United States today aren’t – united that is. Riven by partisan conflict, lack of agreement on the role of governance in our society, and a loss of faith in the institutions that provide the structure for society – we seem to be fracturing into separate nations. Some states even talk of secession once again in our history.
But maybe there was never a single nation to begin with.
Regional cultures have been the basis of America since the founding of both Jamestown and Plymouth. At least that’s what’s argued by author Colin Woodard in his book, “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America“.
His fascinating book traces the history of America on the basis of the regional cultures rather than the typically as-taught notion of a national history. He shows the conflicts we see today are historic, representing the ongoing struggles of different cultures.
And the most long-standing struggle is between Yankeedom and the Deep South – representing a fundamental struggle between those given to supporting the role of government to improve society and those wishing to maintain a privilege based on non interference from outside. That struggle has affected every time period in our history and remains so until today.
Whether it’s talk of impeachment, taxes, climate change, foreign policy, the list goes on…the narratives of the regional cultures are heard in every debate.
Whether this country can stay together remains a question this book doesn’t fully explore. But it’s one worth thinking about.