The United States -- a nation of nations

  • Article by: JILL BURCUM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 9, 2013 - 9:20 PM

America's stew is more complex than you think. But somehow its people usually find common ground when it matters most.

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regionguyFeb. 9, 13 9:21 PM

Jill, you got it right with the "if not exactly new" part, considering that this idea was ably presented in "The Nine Nations of North America" in 1981. It was a mainstraem hardback that got lots of attention.

furguson11Feb. 9, 1310:56 PM

So what nation is Wisconsin?

pumiceFeb. 9, 1311:02 PM

A "more perfect union" of largely disparate states bound historically into somewhat cohesive regions was, indeed, a remarkable notion. Throw in two centuries of on-going conflict between self-made individualists and collectivist-oriented communitarians, alternating supremacy of intellectuals and anti-intellectuals, westward expansion, waves of immigration, and there's little wonder that Europe contented itself with economic union rather than taking on the added challenge of political union.

jarlmnFeb. 10, 13 1:09 AM

As previously noted, Woodard's work is rather similar to The Nine Nations of North America. written in 1981 by Joel Garreau. In it, Garreau suggests that North America, encompassing what is now the US, Canada and Mexico, can actually be re-divided by distinctive economic and cultural features, into nine regional "nations". Garreau also point-out correctly that conventional national and state borders are artificial. This frankly, is what has caused most modern wars and inter-tribal conflicts around the world. Divided culturally and economically, rather than politically, Garreau's "nations" provide a more accurate way of understanding the true nature of North American society. After all, there are certain US states that share more in common with certain Canadian Provinces, than they do with other US states. Perhaps we should rethink this whole "union" business?

northhillFeb. 10, 13 7:34 AM

The United States has also become a nation of large metropolitan areas with their core cities,suburbs and exurbs.We only have to look at voting patterns to see where the common values are. Affluent suburbs in the Twin Cities vote like affluent suburbs in St Louis,Cleveland, or any other like suburb anywhere in the country.The country is divided on economic status much more than we would like to admit.Core cities face the same problems all over the country.No Minnesota is NOT Yankeedom.The Iron Range is very different from Southern Minnesota and that is OK. We share a wide variety of political views in this state and have produced nationally famous politicans of both the extreme left and the extreme right and everything in between.There are parts of Minnesota that are red and part blue.We all share our state and nation.Let's try as our Constitution states to form that more perfect union;and that is a process we are still doing.

greg62Feb. 10, 13 8:16 AM

A nation of nations? Shouldn't be that way!_________"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." -Theodore Roosevelt 1907

tbdbitl7881Feb. 10, 13 8:17 AM

I agree with the basic premise of "region-nations", but not necessarily with the author's interpretation of them. He seems to leave out a large portion of "flyover country" in his interpretations, not surprising when taken from the more liberal point of view. One need only look at a national map showing which party carried each county in the last four Presidential elections to see the national divide. I believe that the "Great Experiment" of the United States is nearing an end, and within a short time, secession and reorganization will become the primary focus of this country. While I hope it will be a peaceful break-up, I can see where it may become violent, even to the point of war. This will be fought along the lines of economic and political differences, with one group being the side of more self-reliance; smaller, less intrusive government with fewer taxes, and adherence to the original intent of the Constitution. The other group, described by the author mostly as "Yankeedom", will be the side of a more communal philosophy, higher taxes, more intrusive, with a "flexibly interpreted" Constitution which the ruling powers can choose in order to protect its citizens as it sees fit.

armybratFeb. 10, 13 8:29 AM

At one time we were a melting pot with legal immigrants pouring into this nation wanting to be part of American. They retained their cultures but assimilated. Today we have both legal and many illegal immigrants wanting this nation to change to their culture. They are not willing to assimilate and be Americans.

greg62Feb. 10, 13 8:59 AM

"One need only look at a national map showing which party carried each county in the last four Presidential elections to see the national divide."________ Good point. Geographically the democrat party won only a very small part of the country, mainly limited to big cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Interestingly, the same map would also reflect where vitually all of the violent crime occurs including gun crime. No wonder half the country is frustrated with the direction the democrats have been taking us.

greg62Feb. 10, 13 9:06 AM

"Today we have both legal and many illegal immigrants wanting this nation to change to their culture. They are not willing to assimilate and be Americans."________ And government isn't helping with this problem. It bends over backwards to cater to these immigrants making it less important for them to learn English. Print voting ballots and drivers license exams in foreign languages is stepping over the line.


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