Woodard argues that from the very beginning Yankees believed strongly in investment in the community for itself. To this end, Yankees were always inclined to focus on working directly to improve the world we live in now by, for example, promoting labor protections, the minimum wage and other collective solutions to reduce poverty. The Left Coast, deliberately shaped by Yankees in its formative years to adhere to Yankee ideas of progress and freedom, is also naturally inclined to see strong governmental action as a legitimate means of effecting social change and as a necessary bulwark against excesses and abuse by private interests.
Both Tidewater and the Deep South had a long history of arranging their social and political structures to mimic an aristocracy as closely as possible. I do love alliteration! Woodard seems to suggest that this economic and social structure was at least partly responsible for the rise of Southern Baptists, Southern Methodists, and the Evangelical and Charismatic churches that preached a gospel that focused on saving individual souls and not the community at large.
According to Woodard, the chief characteristic of this nation is a desire to be let alone and beholden to no outsider. There it — kind of — is again! In the epilogue, Woodard speculates about the possibility Mexico may itself fly apart in the near future, and suggests if that were to happen the northern part of the Mexican states which comprise part of El Norte might form a break-away republic and attempt to align themselves more closely with the United States so as to maintain the integrity of El Norte itself.
The United States, Woodard suggests, falls somewhere between these two extremes. As Woodard puts it:.
For my part, and thinking strictly in the short-term, I can easily see the two competing groups further solidifying and actually getting larger as each picks up one more nation as a permanent member. I am aware that more and more people in the Far West have begun to be more environmentally sensitive to preserve their way of life, and these concerns would tend to push them toward the Northern Alliance.
So I can easily see the Far West fitting right in with the traditional exploitation culture of the Deep South. This makes it a bad fit for the nations of the Dixie bloc, but the Left Coast and New Netherland, with their historical attachment to cultural diversity, would have little problem welcoming El Norte into a tighter alliance with them.
Yankeedom — with its traditional demand for social conformity — would be less inclined than its junior partners to welcome El Norte into the Northern Alliance, but especially if the Dixie Bloc picks up the Far West as a new permanent member the Northern Alliance is going to need El Norte in order to maintain political parity. So in the end the Northern Alliance may well end up slightly more powerful than the Dixie Bloc. The Midlands would in effect become the Justice Kennedy of the 21st century American political landscape.
And maybe that is only as it should be. The Midlands, after all, is the nation that Woodard describes as. As I said earlier, when I first learned about American Nations I was of course extremely intrigued but I also immediately argued that the United States cannot be adequately defined only by reference to our regional differences. I argued that America is more than an agglomeration of people united by culture, or by religion, or by language.
We are — at our best — united by an Idea. I wrote at the time :. And the unifying nature of those ideals, to which we all consciously pledge our allegiance, vastly outweighs the more instinctive cultural differences found in the United States. Book Review: American Nations. Community This content is not subject to review by Daily Kos staff prior to publication.
Joel Garreau’s book revised the continent’s borders to isolate nine distinct socio-geographic units
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He breaks it down as follows: Don't worry too much about paying attention to the geographic descriptions; there is a map provided at the end of this summary. Slavery was not the issue, they argued — defeating democracy was. Of course, Yankeedom — with its culture inculcating a respect for human advancement and progress — already was determined to eliminate slavery. After the attack on Fort Sumter, the Yankees were finally able to rally the heretofore pacifistic Midlanders and New Netherlanders to join it in fighting to preserve the union — on Yankee terms.
Most Deep Southerners will resist paying higher taxes to underwrite the creation of a public health insurance system; a universal network of well-resourced, unionized, and avowedly secular public schools; tuition-free public universities where science — not the King James Bible — guides inquiry; taxpayer-subsidized public transportation, high-speed railroad networks, and renewable energy projects; or vigorous regulatory bodies to ensure compliance with strict financial, food safety, environmental, and campaign finance laws.
The Nine Nations of North America
And while a bad prince would find his hands tied up, a wise and moderate king finds the most powerful aids to give success to his glorious designs. The nobles and the representatives of the people form a link of confidence between the monarch and the nation, and, concurring with him in every thing that tends to promote the public welfare, partly case him of the burden of government, give stability to his power, and procure him an obedience the more perfect, as it is voluntary.
Every good citizen sees that the strength of the state is really the advantage of all, and not that of a single person. May luxury, that pest so fatal to the manly and patriotic virtues, that minister of corruption so dangerous to liberty, never overthrow a monument that does so much honour to human nature — a monument capable of teaching kings how glorious it is to rule over a free people!
This map shows the US really has 11 separate 'nations' with entirely different cultures
There is another nation illustrious by its bravery and its victories. Its numerous and valiant nobility, its extensive and fertile dominions, might render it respectable throughout all Europe, and in a short time it might be in a most flourishing situation, but its constitution opposes this; and such is its attachment to that constitution, that there is no room to expect a proper remedy will ever be applied. In vain might a magnanimous king, raised by his virtues above the pursuits of ambition and injustice, from the most salutary designs for promoting the happiness of his people; — in vain might those designs be approved by the more sensible part, by the majority of the nation; — a single deputy, obstinate, or corrupted by a foreign power, might put a stop to all, and disconcert the wisest and most necessary measures.
From an excessive jealousy of its liberty, that nation has taken such precautions as must necessarily place it out of the power of the king to make any attempts on the liberties of the public.
Wealth of Nations — Bk 1 Chpt 08
But is it not evident that those precautions exceed the end proposed — that they tie the hands of the most just and wise prince, and deprive him of the means of securing the public freedom against the enterprises of foreign powers, and of rendering the nation rich and happy? Is it not evident that the nation has deprived itself of the power of acting, and that its councils are exposed to the caprice or treachery of a single member?
We shall conclude this chapter, with observing that a nation ought to know itself. It ought to have a just idea of its state, to enable it to take the most proper measures; it ought to know the progress it has already made, and what further advances it has still to make, — what advantages it possesses, and what defects it labours under, in order to preserve the former, and correct the latter. Without this knowledge a nation will act at random, and often take the most improper measures. It will think it acts with great wisdom in imitating the conduct of nations that are reputed wise and skilful, — not perceiving that such or such regulation, such or such practice, though salutary to one state, is often pernicious to another.
Every thing ought to be conducted according to its nature. Nations cannot be well governed without such regulations as are suitable to their respective characters; and in order to this, their characters ought to be known. Comparatively, with regard to dimensions. These being established. It becomes the duty of such a state, and of those exercising the powers of government, to cultivate and improve these natural advantages; and in that view the ancient exclusive navigation system, constituting England the carrier of Europe and the world were highly laudable; and it is to be hoped that a return of the system, injudiciously abandoned, will ere long lake place.
It is in respect of, and as a due return for, the protection every natural born subject is entitled to, and actually does, by law, receive from the instant of his birth that all the obligations of allegiance attach upon him, and from which he cannot by any act of his own emancipate himself. This is the principle upon which is founded the rule " Nemo potest exuere patriam ," Calvin's case. Co Lit. Upon this principle it has been established, that for national defence in war, it is legal to pull down or injure the property of any private individual. Meredith , 4 Term Rep.
Every moral and wise man should enlarge on this principle, and among others study that excellent, but too litlle known work, Mason on Self-Knowledge. W E were unable to avoid in the first chapter, anticipating something of the subject of this.
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We have seen already that every political society must necessarily establish a public authority to regulate their common affairs, — to prescribe to each individual the conduct he ought to observe with a view to the public welfare, and to possess the means of procuring obedience. This authority essentially belongs to the body of the society; but it may be exercised in a variety of ways; and every society has a right to choose that mode which suits it best.
The fundamental regulation that determines the manner in which the public authority is to be executed, is what forms the constitution of the state. In this is seen the form in which the nation acts in quality of a body politic, how and by whom the people are to be governed, — and what are the rights and duties of the governors.
Wealth of Nations
This constitution is in fact nothing more than the establishment of the order in which a nation proposes to labour in common for obtaining those advantages with a view to which the political society was established. The perfection of a state, and its aptitude to attain the ends of society, must then depend on its constitution: consequently the most important concern of a nation that forms a political society, and its first and most essential duty towards itself, is to choose the best constitution possible, and that most suitable to its circumstances.
When it makes this choice, it lays the foundation of its own preservation, safety, perfection, and happiness: — it cannot take too much care in placing these on a solid basis. The laws are regulations established by public authority, to be observed in society. All these ought to relate to the welfare of the state and of the citizens. The laws made directly with a view to the public welfare are political laws ; and in this class, those that concern the body itself and the being of the society, the form of government, the manner in which the public authority is to be exerted, — those, in a word, which together form the constitution of the state, are the fundamental laws.
The civil laws are those that regulate the rights and conduct of the citizens among themselves. Every nation that would not be wanting to itself, ought to apply its utmost care in establishing these laws, and principally its fundamental laws, — in establishing them, I say, with wisdom in a manner suitable to the genius of the people, and to all the circumstances in which they may be placed: they ought to determine them and make them known with plainness and precision, to the end that they may possess stability, that they may not be eluded, and that they may create, if possible, no dissension — that, on the one hand, he or they to whom the exercise of the sovereign power is committed, and the citizens, on the other, may equally know their duty and their rights.
It is not here necessary to consider in detail what that constitution and those laws ought to be: that discussion belongs to public law and politics. Besides, the laws and constitutions of different states must necessarily vary according to the disposition of the people and other circumstances. In the Law of Nations we must adhere to generals. We here consider the duty of a nation towards itself, principally to determine the conduct that it ought to observe in that great society which nature has established among all nations.
These duties give it rights, that serve as a rule to establish what it may require from other nations, and reciprocally what others may require from it. The constitution and laws of a state are the basis of the public tranquility, the firmest support of political authority, and a security for the liberty of the citizens. But this constitution is a vain phantom, and the best laws are useless, if they be not religiously observed: the nation ought then to watch very attentively, in order to render them equally respected by those who govern, and by the people destined to obey.
To attack the constitution of the state and to violate its laws, is a capital crime against society; and if those guilty of it are invested with authority, they add to this crime a perfidious abuse of the power with which they are intrusted. The nation ought constantly to repress them with its utmost vigour and vigilance, as the importance of the case requires. It is very uncommon to see the laws and constitution of a state openly and boldly opposed: it is against silent and gradual attacks that a nation ought to be particularly on its guard.
Sudden revolutions strike the imaginations of men: they are detailed in history; their secret springs are developed. But we overlook the changes that insensibly happen by a long train of steps that are but slightly marked.