Introduction He starts off with a quote from Glenn Beck as he held a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a Dream" speech. "We are a nation . . . dividing ourselves but our values and our principles can unite us. We must discover them again." This is something that is heard time and time again. Americans have become divided on account of having strayed from the core principles on which their country was founded. Politicians and political spokesmen from Glenn Beck, Irving Kristol, all the way to Barack Obama. We have been deeply divided ever since the days of Jamestown and Plymouth. The original North American colonies were settled by people from distinct regions of the British Islands, and from France, the Netherlands, and Spain, each with their own religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics. Throughout the colonial period, they regarded one another as competitors—and occasionally as enemies. Only when London began regarding its colonies as a single unit—and enacted policies threatening to nearly all—did these distinct societies briefly come together to win a revolution and create a joint government. Nearly all of them would seriously consider leaving the union between the Revolution and the Civil War when a number of the slaveholding states did attempt to secede.
Any effort to "restore" fundamental American values runs into an obstacle: Each of our founding cultures has its own set of cherished principles, and they often contradict one another. Woodard differentiates between nation and state. A state is a sovereign political entity eligible for membership in the United Nations and inclusion on maps. A nation is a group of people who share—or believe they share—a common culture, ethnic origin, language, historical experience, artifacts, and symbols. Some nations are presently stateless, some control and dominate their own nation-state, and some of them are federated in that they are dominated by a single nation.
American Nations discusses the history of North America's nations from their foundations to their present position within the continents three federations: Canada, Mexico, and the United States. He rejects the cultural significance of the divisions between the 13 Canadian provinces and territories, 31 Mexican states, and 50 American ones as well as the meaningless "regions", "the Northeast," "the West," etc. These legal entities of states, and provinces are important in terms of political power but they mask the real forces that have given the affairs of our continent: the 11 stateless nations of North America. The following list goes into more detail about how these stateless nations were founded, evolved, and ended up today and the following map illustrates the roughly county by county boundaries of these nations.
Despite significant industrialization, the region remains in a state of semi-dependency. It's political class tends to revile the federal government for interfering in its affairs—a stance that often aligns it with the Deep South—while demanding it continue to receive federal largesse. It rarely challenges its corporate masters.
1590 to 1769
With the inhabitants dying even before the Spanish could conquer them in the unbelievable riches of gold and silver that were found the Spanish kings built huge armies and navies in an effort to conquer Protestant Europe. This was unsuccessful and led to over 100 years of religious wars, strong Protestant powers, and a Spain that was weak, deeply indebted, with the decaying Empire. This prompted the English, Scots, and Dutch to form a lasting hatred of all things Spanish which became deeply ingrained in the cultures of Yankeedom, Appalachia, Tidewater, and the deep South. This is still with us today in the form of anti-Mexican racism. Another result of these wars was that the Spanish colonies never received the support of the European colonies and they failed to prosper and expand. The third reason why the Spanish colonies did not thrive was that many of the settlements were governed by priests who are more concerned with religious propriety than they were with commerce and expansion.
Chapter 2: Founding New France In the fall of 1604 a group of 79 Frenchman arrived in two ships and settled on a small island off the coast of what is now Maine. The leaders were a nobleman and probably one of Henri IV's many illegitimate sons. The nobleman envisioned a feudal society like that of rural France only perfected. Catholicism would be the official religion but New France would be open to French Protestants who could freely practice their faith. Commoners would be allowed to hunt and fish as well as lease farmland and potentially rise to a higher station but it would be a conservative and decidedly monarchical society. The presumed son of the French king also wanted a monarchical, feudal society but instead of conquering and enslaving the Indians (as the Spanish had) or driving them away (as the English would), he wanted to convert them to Christianity and other aspects of French civilization and he thought that cross-cultural marriage between the two peoples was not only tolerable but desirable.
Their poor planning became obvious the first winter when almost half of them died before they got help from the local Passamaquoddy tribe. The policy of friendly relationships with local Indians was so successful that later French leaders attempted to rein it in but without success. They formed a new ethnoracial group, the métis, which were as comfortable living in an aboriginal setting as in the European settlements. By the 1750s the colony had grown so slowly that there were only 62,000 French people living in Québec and Acadia and they were never able to challenge the English Protestant nations to the south.
Chapter 3: Founding Tidewater A few years after the French, the English landed at Jamestown. They landed and chose to build on a low-lying island surrounded by malarial swamps on the James River that flowed so slowly that garbage and human waste were never carried away, creating a large disease incubator. Almost none of the settlers knew anything about farming and they had expected the Indians to work for them, they didn't. Less than 40% survived the first winter. More settlers arrived but three years later food ran short again and less than 30% survive the winter. They abandon the colony but were met at the mouth of the river with a new contingent of 300 colonists and a new governor who forced them back. Wave after wave of colonists continued to arrive in the colony kept growing.
Between 1607 and 1624, 7200 colonists arrived but only 1200 survived. The Indians would have undoubtedly conquered them but they were slow to recognize the danger, the English had firearms which the Indians did not, and diseases that the English gave to the Indians devastated their culture. Then in 1617 West Indian strains of tobacco were found to grow and this changed a corporate military base to a booming export oriented plantation society almost overnight. The second element in the success of the colony was the English Civil War in the 1640s which prompted a mass exodus of families to the Tidewater area.
Cultivating tobacco was very labor-intensive and the company leaders recruited indentured servants from England. They offered transportation to Virginia or Maryland have a 50 acre plot of land in exchange for three years service. Around 130,000 arrived before 1700 making this the society of a few halves and a great many have-nots. In Tidewater, indentured servants were treated very poorly but there was a time limit. There were a few blacks but they were generally treated equally to the points. The area very rapidly became similar to the English manor house society, hereditary, inbred, and completely governed by the gentleman of the area. Tidewater's gentry embraced classical Republicanism, meaning a Republic model after those of ancient Greece and Rome. Slaveholding elite of ancient Athens, basing their enlightened political philosophy they emulated the learned, around the ancient Latin concept of libertas or liberty. This was a fundamentally different notion from the Germanic concept of Freiheit, or freedom which informed the political thought of Yankeedom and the Midlands.
For the Germanic tribes of northern Europe, "freedom" was a birthright of free peoples which they considered themselves to be. Individuals might have differences in status and wealth, but all were literally "born free". All were equal before the law, and all had to come into the world possessing "rights" that had to be mutually respected on threat of banishment.
The Greek and Roman political philosophy embraced by Tidewater gentry assumed the opposite: most humans were born into bondage. Liberty was something that was granted and was thus a privilege, not a right. Liberties were valuable because most people did not have them and were thought meaningless without the presence of a hierarchy. For the Greeks and Romans there is no contradiction between republicanism and slavery, liberty, and bondage. While they were passionate in defending their liberties, it would never have occurred to them that those liberties, might be shared with their subjects. "I am an aristocrat," Virginian John Randolph would explain decades after the American Revolution. "I love liberty; I hate equality."
This semifeudal model required a vast and permanent underclass to play the role of serfs. But from the 1670s onward the gentry have an increasingly difficult time finding enough poor Englishmen willing to take on this role. Those who had completed their indentures often could not support themselves in an agricultural export economy increasingly dominated by great plantations, and ex-servants led or joined rebellions in 1663, 1675, and 1683. Slave traders offered a solution to this shortage, slaves would become the permanent property of their masters.
Chapter 4: Founding Yankeedom New England was founded by men who stood in total opposition to nearly every value that Tidewater gentry held dear. They were hostile to landed aristocracy, noble privilege, the Anglican church, and the Royalist cause. They came to the New World not to re-create rural English life but to build a completely new society: an applied religious utopia, a Protestant theocracy based on the teachings of John Calvin. They would found a new Zion. They would succeed because they were God's chosen people, if they all did his will, they would be reported. If any member did not, they might all be punished. In early Massachusetts, there was no such thing as minding one's own business the salvation of the entire community depended on everyone doing their part.
A few hundred pilgrims settled Cape Cod in 1620 but in the 1630s, 25,000 Puritans traveled to Massachusetts Bay. The other colonies welcomed all comers but the Puritans required a religious test, and you must be a Calvinist. Instead of the indentured servants and adventurers of the other colonies the Yankee settlers came over as families, were generally middle-class, well-educated, and roughly equal in material wealth. They were skilled craftsmen, lawyers, doctors, and human servants – no indentured servants. Few immigrants entered the region for a century after 1640 but their population doubled every generation. Very few highborn nobles or gentleman ever came to Yankeedom, their aristocracy was defined by education. No one was given large land grants but groups of settlers would be given a charter to found a town and they would elect a committee of peers to lay out the roads, church, schoolhouse, town green, and family lots. Every town (congregation) would govern itself with no outside influence. They were extremely democratic, 60% to 70% of males (lets not get carried away with this) could vote on all town business. Everyone was expected to read the Bible themselves so everyone had to learn to read. Public schools were built and staffed by salaried teachers as soon as the town was established.
Puritans considered it their business and calling to make sure that both they and all others would conform to God's plan. They promulgated the twin political ideologies of America's imperial age,
Chapter 5: Founding New Netherland Founded by the Dutch in 1624 it was designed to be a trading center and it has been ever since. In 1643 a Jesuit estimated the population at 500 and the number of languages at 18. The Government, the Dutch East India Company, was interested in trade, diversity, and not much else. They didn't actually celebrate diversity but tolerated it, because they knew the alternative was much worse. They weren't especially moral, if it made money they did it, the first slave trade was in New Netherland and it remained until the 1860s. Then in 1664 a British fleet arrived. The Dutch negotiated as good of a deal as possible at the point of a gun. In 1673-74 the Dutch recaptured New Netherland but they soon lost it back to England. The British were acting for King Charles's brother James, the Duke of York, so it was renamed New York.
Chapter 6: The Colonies' First Revolt   Shortly after James II became King in 1685 imposed a much more authoritarian government was established, replacing elected assemblies with a royal governor and taking back titles to land, raising exorbitant duties on tobacco and sugar. Unfortunately for the King, he had converted to Catholicism and shown that he was willing to make England a Catholic country. Between 1685 and 1688 three rebellions erupted, the first two were put down by royal armies but the third was more successful and James II was driven into exile in France in December 1688. William of Orange was crowned king in the bloodless coup called the "Glorious Revolution".
Minor revolutionaries started in December 1686 in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Not much happened until rumors of William's invasion reached New England in February 1689. On the morning of April 18, 1689 conspirators raised a flag on top of Beacon Hill, captured the captain of the naval frigate assigned to guard the city, and surrounded the fort where the royal governor was stationed. The next morning the governor surrendered. Shortly after the news off the successful revolt reached New York, Yankees living on Long Island overthrew the royal officials and marched on New York City and Albany. While the Lieutenant governor bartered with the Yankees and threatened the city, the city's own militia took the fort at New York City.
Although the Tidewater gentry were royalist they were worried that James would inpose Catholic rule. They began to get ready but they did not actually rebel. Then news of the coronation of William arrived. However in Maryland, the Catholic Calvert family refused to proclaim its allegiance to the new sovereign. The Protestant majority formed an army and marched on the State House and then on the Calvert family mansion (Lord Baltimore) taking all occupants prisoner and ending the Calvert family rule.
William did not grant everything that the insurgencies wanted but he did give back most of what James took. The Tidewater gentry were happy, the New Yorkers and the New Englanders less so but they were mollified for the time being.
Chapter 7: Founding the Deep South   The founders of the Deep South arrived in what is now Charleston in 1670 in 1671. They did not come directly from your, they were the sons and grandsons of the founder of an older English colony: Barbados, the richest and most horrifying society in the English-speaking world. The society they founded in Charleston did not seek to replicate English manor life or to create a religious utopia in the American wilderness. Instead, it was a near carbon copy of the West Indian slave state. It was enormously profitable to those who control it and it would's read rapidly across the lowlands of South Carolina and the rest of the Deep South.
The author makes it abundantly clear that he hates slavery and all those who support it or profit from it. The planters of Barbados treated their slaves much more brutally than in other locations. On Barbados to the rate of slave mortality was double that of Virginia. Tidewater's slaves replaced themselves through natural increase, Barbados planters had to import huge numbers every year. By 1670 the platters had run out of land on their tiny island and they needed to expand, first to the other English islands and then to the subtropical lowlands of the east coast of North America.
Chapter 8: Founding the Midlands   Adm. William Penn was a self-made man, first fought for Parliament in the English Civil War, and as a reward Cromwell will gave him confiscated Irish estates, and then Adm. Penn loaded £16,000 to King Charles. He raised his son William to be a respectable gentleman and sent him to Oxford but young William was expelled and in 1667, at age 26 he horrified everyone by joining the Quakers. On his father's death in 1670, William Penn was one of the most famous Quakers in England and very very rich. In 1680 he settled King Charles debt to his late father in exchange for a grant of 45,000 mi.² of real estate between Lord Baltimore's Maryland and the Duke of York's New York. It was named Pennsylvania after his father. Penn's colonization effort was extremely well organized. He advertised aggressively, printing pamphlets in England, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany. In 1682 10 723 ships to Pennsylvania carrying 2000 colonists with tools, provisions, and livestock. Four years later 8000 people were living in and around Philadelphia. A second immigration wave consisted of German-speaking peasants and craftsmen. Both the Germans and Quakers shared a strong aversion to slavery, but there was a small slave population because the British crown did not want it outlawed.
Early Pennsylvania was an economic success, but it's Quaker-run government was a complete disaster. Quaker ideals stress that all people were followers of Christ and innately good and they assumed that citizens could govern themselves through self-discipline and the application of the golden rule. This didn't happen. One group broke away to found the tiny Delaware colony in 1704 and then in 1717 large numbers of Scots-Irish began arriving. They were very warlike and almost immediately invaded Indian lands and the Indians fought back. This began a long series of raids along the borders which angered both the Indians and the Scots-Irish and dismayed the Quakers in Philadelphia.
Chapter 9: Founding Greater Appalachia   Greater Appalachia was the last of the nations to be founded in the colonial period. Found it is probably the wrong word, most were refugees from lowland Scotland, northern England, and the Scots-Irish North end of Ireland. Most arrived in increasingly massive waves between 1717 and 1776, each in response to a disaster in the British Isles. Majority landed in and around Philadelphia. Most did not stay close to the city but headed straight to the backcountry. Years of living in war zones had convinced them that fixed property was easily destroyed so they stored their wealth in a very mobile form: herds of pigs, cattle, and sheep. When they needed cash, they distilled corn into a more portable, storable, and valuable product: whiskey, which would remain the de facto currency of Appalachia for the next two centuries.
This was a lifestyle that allowed for long periods of leisure, and indulgence that visitors from other nations condemned. Justice was meted out not by courts but by the aggrieved individuals and there kin via personal retaliation. By traveling down the length of the Appalachian Mountains they blocked the more law-abiding residents of the Tidewater and the Deep South from expanding westward. When banditry became common, leading Appalachian families responded in a typical Borderland or fashion: they formed a vigilante gang to hunt the bandits down. They call themselves the Regulators. These Regulators sometimes acted as a protection force, when sheriffs and judges were sent in from the lowlands they were often turned back by the Regulators. The Regulators remained in power until 1771 when an army of 2000 Regulators was defeated by Tidewater militia. Several small groups attempted to set up their own nations and in 1775 one of these sent representative to the Continental Congress asking to be admitted as the 14th member.
As the Revolution became imminent the Borderlanders of Appalachia would play a decisive role. In some regions they would fight in support of Britain, and others against but they all did so for the same reason: to resist the threats to their Klansman's freedom, be it from Midland merchants, Tidewater gentlemen, Deep Southern planters, or the British Crown itself. It was a pattern that would define Appalachia to the present day.
1770 to 1815
The American rebellion was precipitated by the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) in which Britain beat France, better know in the US as the French and Indian War. During much of the time when the American colonies were being founded the British government was just as happy to get rid of troublemakers and pretty much ignored them when they got to the Americas. However by the middle of the 1700s England became much more powerful and begin to take more interest in these upstarts. After soundly beating France they decided to crack down on the American colonies and began to take steps to implement Imperial rule. Naturally the Yankees were the first act, in December 1773 and organize mob threw £11,000 worth of East India Company tea into Boston Harbor. Of course the British over-reacted and the First Continental Congress was called and met in September 1774. Massachusetts rebel leaders announced a new representative assembly—the Provincial Congress—and asked all towns to hold elections to fill it seats. By early 1775 the 200 elected delegates had become the de facto government of the colony.
The aristocratic gentleman who controlled the Tidewater were not nearly so unified and saw no need to gauge public opinion. The low landers were confident that their society would survive the temporary problems and probably assumed that they would get help from their high-ranking relatives in England. The gentleman living in the Piedmont—including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, and George Washington—had more regular contact with the Appalachian backcountry and a greater awareness of the enormous potential of the lands beyond the mountains. The delegates from the Piedmont and Appalachian areas when the vote but very few members of the Tidewater elite were willing to fight for either side.
In Greater Appalachia feelings were very high both for and against the patriot or loyalist causes. It depended upon who they saw as their greatest enemy. Those in Pennsylvania and Virginia saw the British is the greatest enemy and became strong supporters of revolution. Those farther south were more prone to see the southern planters as their greatest enemy and were ready to support the British to settle old scores with the planters. Those Midlanders around Philadelphia were mostly passive loyalists throughout the conflict. Those living in New Netherland were the Loyalists greatest stronghold on the continent. The leaders were afraid that they would be toppled from power in a revolution and that Yankees from New England would attempt to take over. The slave Lords of the Deep South were afraid of any effort that might effect their profits. They didn't like the Imperial efforts to increase their taxes or reduce their authority so they did agree to support boycotts of British goods but that was mainly to reduce political resentment and to maintain their bargaining position.
The First Continental Congress, held in Philadelphia in early September 1774 was the first time leaders of the nations had ever come together. They all knew that collaboration wasn't going to be easy and Georgia refused to send any delegates while the delegates from the Appalachian region were refused entry. By the end of October 1774 they had agreed to a boycott of British goods and an export moratorium if Britain did not back down by mid 1775. As we all know, Britain did not back down.
Chapter 11: Six Wars of Liberation   In his book Albion's Seed historian David Hackett Fisher makes the case for their having been not one American War of independence before; a popular insurrection in New England, a professional "gentlemen's war," in the South, a savage Civil War in the backcountry, and a "nonviolent economic and diplomatic struggle" spearheaded by the elites that Woodard calls the Midlands. Woodard raises this to six, points out that they did not occur sequentially and the two involved invasions by one American nation into another. Many battles occurred in the complete absence of British forces.
The author briefly goes through the war, from the Battle of Lexington to the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in the Tidewater and explains how the specific goals of each of the nations were achieved or lost during the war. Yankeedom, Tidewater, the Deep South, and northern Appalachia essentially won their wars and New Netherlands, the Midlands, and southern Appalachia lost. The concept of America had very little to do with the Revolution.
Chapter 12: Independence or Revolution?   By the end of the war, the six nations had closer connections to one another than they had ever had before. However their efforts to preserve their separate cultures had produced two unexpected side effects:
Chapter 13: Nations in the North   There was a lot of both support and opposition to the American Revolution in Canadian territory and there were two regiments who fought on the American side during the entire war. If the British hadn't sailed a fleet with numerous soldiers landing in Halifax in April 1776 and a rebel force laying siege to Québec City was forced to retreat in May 1776 when fresh British troops arrived it is entirely likely that much of Canada would have rebelled also. Another factor is that the Yankees were more interested in Boston and lower New England and were afraid to send too many reinforcements north. The pockets of Yankeedom, New France, and the Midlands within Canada have retained their culture to this day but they never felt compelled to revolt and the British maintained tight control with troops to backup their government and also had learned enough not to govern too oppressively. There was never anything other than isolated resistance.
Chapter 14: First Secessionists   For many years school children have been taught to venerate our leaders of the Revolution and the Authors of the Constitution. Above all we should understand that they were not perfect, they were people and they had human virtues and failings. They were also mostly true sons of their nations and their nations had different values. Outside of Tidewater and the Deep South, many were alarmed by a document they regarded as counterrevolutionary, intentionally designed to suppress democracy and to keep power in the hands of regional elites and an emerging class of bankers, financial speculators, and land barons who had little or no allegiance to the continent's ethnocultural nations. Many of our Founding Fathers agreed.
Some of the people in Appalachia knew what was going on. They staged the Whiskey Rebellion because that was their currency after the bankers and mostly Tidewater politicians manipulated their money away from them. They formed the state of Franklin but this didn't last. Another effort was made to secede but this failed in 1794 when President George Washington rode out with an army of 10,000 well-armed troops and the regional congress voted to submit to federal authority.
Resistance in New England died out quickly but when George Washington retired, John Adams was elected in a very close race over Thomas Jefferson, the Electoral College vote was 71 to 68. Adams' presidency was very controversial because he tried to make over the nation by imposing the cultural values of New Englanders. In 1800 he lost the election to Jefferson. Jefferson and the Congress passed many laws which were favorable to the more southern states but quite detimental to New England. Feelings escalated until in December 1814 a meeting was held in Hartford, where most people were prepared to secede. At the last minute the delegates pulled back and dispatched three commissioners to Washington to negotiate terms. Just after they arrived news was announced that Britain had signed a peace treaty and Jackson had defeated a British Army in New Orleans. The commissioners dropped their demands and went home and talk of secession receded.
1816 to 1877
The majority of the chapter discusses the Yankee expansion in much more detail including social and religious factors.
Chapter 16: The Midlands Spread West   A short chapter describing the movement and settlement of those from the Midlands (Pennsylvania area). Composed of many ethnic and religious groups there was no single overriding philosophy other than perhaps live and let live. Their individual settlements tended to be homogeneous but the next town may well be very different. Many were of German origin but a maximum was reached in Wisconsin at 16% in 1860. Their area was often fairly evenly split between the major political parties with a large and often deciding group which would shift at election time. This group in Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana put Lincoln in the White House on the basis of a shift from Democrats to Republicans.
Chapter 17: Appalachia Spreads West   Appalachian people have long been identified with the American frontier. They were out fighting Indians for the control of land while the Yankees and Midlanders generally waited for federal troops. They left only a narrow border for the Yankees and Midlanders in the north, were stopped in the west by the treeless, arid prairies of the Far West, and in the south by the power of the Deep Southern planters. They expanded by individuals or very small groups, not towns, and had little use for the amenities of settled towns. They were distrustful of political parties and government in general, especially Yankees telling them what to do. They were stopped by the Cherokee nation in the Tennessee and surrounding area from the 1750s to 1829 when Andrew Jackson was elected and put the Federal government behind efforts to remove the Cherokees in the Trail of Tears.
Chapter 18: Deep South Spreads West   Prior to 1820 the Tidewater was the dominant power in the SE. However both Appalachia and the Deep South were rapidly expanding. Appalachia added 4 states by 1840 and the Deep South grew from 2 to 6 states. The slaveholding states of the Deep South became the regional power. With the increasing value of cotton and sugar as cash crops the slave owners were able to buy much more property and more slaves. They bought property in Appalachia and slaves in Appalachia and Tidewater, Tidewater alone exported 124,000 slaves between 1810 and 1820. The Citadel was created as a military school to train planters youths to put down slave rebellions.
As the Deep South spread it went beyond defending slavery into developing a social and political philosophy of celebrating slavery. Southern Baptist and Methodist preachers broke with their northern counterparts to endorse slavery on the grounds that Africans were descendents of Ham, who was condemned in the Bible to be a "hewer of wood and drawer of water" for his white masters. Many Presbyterians also supported this line. As tensions over slavery increased, Deep Southerners began asserting their racial superiority over Yankees as well. They reaffirmed the thesis that they belonged to a master Norman race, separate from and superior to the Yankee Anglo-Saxons. They also despised the residents of New France around New Orleans because of their French and Spanish forms of slavery with less rigidity and acceptance of free blacks, their Catholic religion, and their overall culture.
By 1850 they had extended over all the lands that were suitable for growing cotton or sugar. They began to contemplate taking over the Spanish territories of Cuba, Central America, and Mexico. They tried to invade Cuba and failed several times, Nicaragua was conquered for a few months in 1856 before cholera and an insurgency drove them back out. It was tried again but the leader, William Walker, was arrested by a US Navy officer. A final effort was made to conquer the Mexican territory of El Norte.
Chapter 19: Conquering El Norte   By 1821 the Mexican civil war had bankrupted the country, a tenth of the people had been killed, governments fell 35 times between 1833 and 1855, and the provinces were left largely on their own. Many from the Deep South and Appalachia had already settled in the area and by 1825 immigration was opened up a great deal of land was dispersed, almost for free. When the authorities learned that the immigrants from the US "did not play well with others", immigration was officially cut off—but the number of immigrants actually increased. Santa Anna seized power in 1833 and in 1835 Texans, led by Stephen Austin and Juan Seguín and with the support of many of the Mexicans living in the area, revolted against Santa Anna. As a side remark, seven of the Mexicans died at the Alamo.
The Mexican nationals, who had been full participants in the revolution, were disliked (hated) by many of the Appalachians and the Deep Southerners and were treated only slightly better than the Cherokees had been. Most if their property was stolen but they were not driven from the area or killed unless they objected. Texas was admitted as a state in 1845, Mexico refused to recognize the border, and war was declared. Mexico was no match for the American Army and it was conquered very rapidly. It ended in 1848 with the US taking title to the property north of the current border (the Gadsden purchase came in 1853).
Chapter 20: Founding the Left Coast   Most of the Left Coast's early colonists were Yankees who arrived by sea in hopes of founding a second New England on the Pacific. Although they didn't completely succeed they had a major effect.
The first whites who stayed in the northern areas were mostly fur traders. The local staff of the Hudson's Bay Company were mostly from New France and their main rivals were shipborne fur traders from New England. Beginning in the 1820's some people in New England began to worry about Catholics (Jesuits) coming in with the fur traders (French oriented) and up from the south (Spanish oriented) taking over the coast. Many of these settled in the Willamette Valley. The Yankees generally built the first towns and settled them and the settlers from Greater Appalachia, who arrived shortly thereafter, settled in the countryside, leaving the towns and government to the Yankees. Washington, to the north, was not settled as soon because the ownership of the area was still unclear.
California south of Monterey had been settled by the El Norte nation but their influence began to decrease beyond the coast and north towards Sam Francisco bay. Settlement pattern were similar to Oregon, Yankees in the towns and Appalachians in the countryside. The discovery of Gold in 1848 upset everything. The threat to morality that all of these savage brutes brought to California inspired many Yankees to come west to bring education, culture, and their churches to the West. It was not completely successful, there were just too many immigrants from all over the world, but it left the culture of the California coast very similar to that of Oregon and Washington—idealistic but individualistic—and quite different from the inland parts of those states.
Chapter 21: War for the West   This chapter is longer than most and very dense. Perhaps a list would make it clearer.
1878 to 2010
The farmers from Appalachia and the Midlands got to the 98th meridian and realized that not enough rain fell to the west and stopped or went all the way west to the Left Coast. For early settlers there were only two ways that worked. The first were the fur traders attached to the Hudson's Bay Company. Many of them adapted the nomadic ways of the Native American people. The second was the Mormons who emigrated from Vermont and New York via Illinois. So many came and settled around the Great Salt Lake that they were able to establish themselves as a viable colony with little outside contact for many years. Most of the rest of the Far West was settled by miners, railroaders and associated service industries, and farmers lured into the area by the railroads, mines and other heavy industry, and the federal government.
The railroads convinced the federal government to heavily subsidize their track laying and then very quickly the railroads and associated industries (mining, timber, and to a lesser extent farming) bought sufficient politicians to control much of the governments of the area. The strong progressive/populist orientation of many of the workers asserted itself in the 1930s with Roosevelt and the New Deal but the cultural revolution of the 1960s drove many of them into an unholy alliance with Deep South politicians which still exists.
Chapter 23: Immigration and Identity   The author spends this chapter demonstrating that immigrants do not change the culture of a region. He does offer one "out". An overwhelming number of immigrants may completely submerge an existing nation. Earlier he refers to the first immigrants to Georgia being submerged in the Barbados based culture of the Deep South and in this chapter he refers to the possible takeover of the entire region of El Norte by the norteño culture which currently extends both north and south of the US-Mexico border. I must admit I question the inevitability of a nation's culture maintaining itself for all time, with increased ease of cultural communication via the internet I would question whether the pull of the local culture may be decreased compared to earlier eras.
Chapter 24: Gods and Missions   The Civil War ended at Appomattox. The uncivil feud began shortly thereafter. The Deep South, Tidewater, and much of Greater Appalachia were occupied by a Yankee-dominated army. The more than 1/2 million deaths the feud had a bad start but the occupation made it worse in the Deep South and Tidewater. This time the political leaders in the South were able to convince the populous of Greater Appalachia to join with them. The end result was a triumphant, social-reform-minded alliance of Yankeedom, New Netherland, and the Left Coast pitted against an angry, humiliated, and salvation-minded Dixie block. Not only did the North's efforts to convert the South to Yankee ideals, it unified the three southern nations as nothing had done before.
The Deep Southerners and Tidewatereites organized their resistance around the one civic institution they controlled, the churches. Southern Baptists, Methodists, and Episcopalians and others became more private, believing that the world was inherently corrupt and sinful, particularly after the Civil War. Their emphasis turned more toward personal salvation instead of social gospel—an effort to transform the world in preparation for Christ's coming. Private Protestants had no interest in changing society but emphasized the need to maintain order and obedience. Slavery, aristocratic rule, and poverty weren't evils to be confronted but the reflection of a divinely sanctioned hierarchy to be maintained at all costs against Yankee heretics.
The southern clergy helped foster a new civil religion in the former Confederacy, a myth that has been called the Lost Cause. Whites came to believe that God had allowed the Confederacy to be bathed in blood and its enemies ruling over it in order to test and sanctify His favored people. In the Deep South and Tidewater the elite still maintained control over the former slaves so they could vote as long as they voted as they were told to. They were also not interested in having the white underclasses acquire any power. In Appalachia there were few elites so free blacks had an opportunity to prosper but they competed against whites. This could not be allowed to happen and the first Ku Klux Klan was founded in Tennessee to terrorize uppity blacks and Yankee whites who had come to change the existing slavery culture, schoolteachers, judges, etc. It was disbanded by its own Grand Wizard in 1869 when the southern white elite became concerned that it was encouraging the lower white orders to think and act on their own.
Resistance to Reconstruction was largely successful, slavery didn't come back but the racial caste system was restored. This worked so well that when a University of Chicago researchers studied this in the 1930s citizens bragged about killing blacks and one official said, "When a nigger gets ideas, the best thing to do is to get him under ground as quick as possible." Sort of reminds me of the motto of some ranchers in the Far West about wolves, "Shoot 'em, dig a deep hole, and cover 'em up."
While a Dixie block was coalescing around individual salvation and defense of traditional social values, a Northern alliance was forming around very different religious priorities. Led by clergy and intellectual elite of Yankeedom it gained wide acceptance in the Midlands, Left Coast, and New Netherlands. Examples: Southern Baptists and other salvation-minded denominations judged alcoholism as an individual failing of character. Yankee Congregationalists, Northern Methodists, Unitarians, and Anglicans viewed it as a social ill in need of legislative redress. Salvationists concentrated on saving the souls of the poor; Public Protestants concentrated on labor protections, minimum wage, and reducing poverty. Private Protestants emphasized individual responsibility for one's lot in life; Public Protestants tried to harness government to improve society and the quality of life. These conflicting worldviews pout the two blocks on a political collision course.
Reconstruction was only the first of the large-scale social engineering efforts by the Northern Coalition, others were:
The fundamentalist spent the 30s, 40s, and 50s organizing and building religious infrastructure and recruiting new members while membership in mainline Protestant churches declined. A full-scale cultural war was quietly brewing and it would explode in the 1960s.
Chapter 25: Culture Clash   In the late 50's I was in High School, my parents were Republicans. I knew nothing of politics or social movements. In the 60's I was a college student, in the wheat fields of Eastern Washington not much happened, Oh, my fraternity had a "Fidel Castro Day" to celebrate the overthrow of Batista (sp?) - he was a real jerk, but then Fidel became a bad person so I forgot about it. I didn't seriously get informed about politics until the early 2000's. I lived through all of this chapter but my mind was elsewhere. I recognized all the major occurrences but never put them together. If you are a first time voter, this is ancient history, better learn it.
In the 50s and 60s both the Dixie block and the Northern alliance had social revolutions. In the South African Americans rose up and demanded their rights, white southerners rose up to defend their power. It was not peaceful and many African Americans and their white supporters were beaten up, put in prison, tortured and killed. At first it was personal violence in the South but shortly federal troops got involved. Then the fighting was transferred to court fights and finally to education. All of these are still going on.
Starting in the 1960s conservatives in Yankeedom, New Netherland, and the Left Coast spent their time fighting to contain a youth-driven cultural revolution. They were generally trying to break down the traditional institutions and social taboos Dixie whites were fighting to protect. The author lists a large number of activists and their causes. At the same time, many in El Norte and New France were fighting to take over their cultural homeland. The norteños (chicanos?) who had been second class citizens with Deep South or Greater Appalachian whites in control began to take over many of the cities. The Québec liberals took over from the Anglo-Canadian and Catholic hierarchy and remade the province. Some of the radicals were involved in many killings and were arrested, many aboriginal rights were granted, and they are fully in charge of the province. The last remaining question is whether or not they will remain in the Canadian federation.
The battles that were started in the 1950s and '60s have continued through the 1990s and 2000s. Yankeedom, Midlands, New Netherland, and Left Coast generally supporting social change, Deep South, Tidewater, and Greater Appalachia defending the traditional order. El Norte and the Far West varied depending on the particular issue. Labor and manufacturing also generally split along these same lines.
Chapter 26: War, Empire, and the Military   This chapter, 26, continues the theme developed in chapters 24 and 24. The Deep South and Tidewater never found a war they didn't like, Appalachia tends to hang back until the war starts and then it supplies a lot of the soldiers. Opposition to war is centered in Yankeedom and the Left Coast with the Midlands and New Netherlands a bit behind. The Far West and El Norte tend to swing depending on the circumstances. The author presents a number of specific facts to back up his hypothesis.
As always, there are specific national flavors to their support or rejection of specific wars. Early on in the late 1800s the Deep South was in general favor of war and conquest but was leery of conquering areas and considering them for statehood if they had a large population of brown-skinned or uppity niggers which might form a threat to the Deep South way of life. Conquering enemies was good but it couldn't result in any Yankee-inspired efforts to reengineer, "uplift", and assimilate inferior peoples.
Hitler's rise was an interesting case. The Nazis had praised the Deep South's caste system and lynching as a solution to racial mixing but that didn't go over well in Dixie. There opinion makers attacked the Nazis suppression of Jews but ignored their views on the "Negroid race". New Netherlands congressmen were hawkish on military preparation because so many of their constituents had emigrated from countries endangered by Hitler. Midlanders tended to resist war preparations because so many of them had emigrated from Germany. The Left Coast, El Norte, and The Far West were happy to support the new war industries and military bases in their regions. Yankeedom was split, New England was strongly for the war while the western regions were somewhat hesitant. After the attack on Pearl Harbor the nation solidified behind the war effort.
Following WW II (he ignores the Korean War) the Nations reverted to form, Yankeedom, New Netherlands, and the Left Coast rejected wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Middle East. The Deep South and Tidelands strongly supported these wars and Appalachia supplied the soldiers. The other nations were less enthusiastic. The Northern group (Yankee etc.) does tend to be activist in foreign relations, but mainly in terms of civilizing the world and advancing the cause of indigenous populations.
Chapter 27: The Struggle for Power I: The Blue Nations   Chapters 27 and 28 discuss what is happening today versus what has happened in the past. I also have a serious problem with these chapters: color. He uses color as though it means something. It very well may, but being color blind (technically color weak), color has no emotional effect on me. I know that Democrats are generally considered blue and Republicans are considered red, but I have to check some campaign literature to make sure I got them sorted out right. In these two chapters blue means north and red means south.
The main conclusion for both of these factors is that the nations remain true to their origins but their means and their labels change. The current chapter discusses the Northern Federation. Yankeedom is still focused on a quest for betterment of the "common good". The Left Coast is nearly identical with the addition of environmental quality. Technological prowess is similar between the two although the Left Coast has been tending towards things that change the cultural world. Although New Netherland often sides with Yankeedom and the Left Coast it has sided with the Dixie coalition at times. Generally the Northern Federation has sided with taxation, large-scale public institutions, cultural diversity, freedom of conscience and expression, and social liberalism. Dixie has pushed for white Protestant superiority, social conformity, and suppression of dissent.
During much of the 1800s Dixie was solidly Democrat and with the Civil War the North was Republican. However with the advent of more liberal Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt and liberal Democrats like Franklin Delano Roosevelt the parties started changing and following the administrations of Kennedy and Lynden Johnson the parties had pretty much swapped and Democrats became the party of the North and Republicans the party of the South.
Chapter 28: The Struggle for Power II: The Red and the Purple   The Dixie block has not been particularly stable. The Deep South and Appalachia have long been bitter enemies, having fought against each other in both the Revolution and the Civil War. Tidewater, which was the leader in the early days of America, has always been less committed to apartheid and authoritarianism than the Deep South, has slowly been turning towards Midland attitudes. The Deep South oligarchy has had to content with rising numbers of black voters, gentlemanly moderation among the Tidewater elite, and powerful populist sentiment of many borderlanders. These work against the Dixie coalition. The Deep Southern oligarchy has been consistent for over 400 years: control and maintenance of a one-party state with a colonial style economy based on large-scale agriculture using a compliant, poorly educated, low-wage workforce with as few labor, workplace safety, health care, and environmental regulations as possible. When slavery became illegal they developed a caste and sharecropper system. When these were challenged they rallied poor whites by fearmongering. They, or their political hirelings, described biblical style repercussions if they were not elected, and when they were in office they focused on cutting taxes for the wealthy, funneling massive subsidies to oligarch businesses, eliminating regulations, and poaching manufacturing jobs from higher-wage unionized industries in the north. Their greatest challenge has typically been keeping Greater Appalachia in their coalition.
The power of the Dixie federation was fairly low from the end of the Civil War to the 1960s when JFK and LBJ threw the power of the federal government against many of the abuses of Dixie. Since then the power of Dixie grew until the 1990s and it has been fairly constant since then. The author spends most of the rest of the chapter describing the details of how voting power has shifted since then.
The final 2½ pages ask the question, what if the Dixie block never existed or if the Confederacy had quietly and peacefully seceded in 1861. He answers that by pointing to the country across the northern border from America, Canada. Canada has much the same constituents as the United States. Yankees in the East, much more of New France in the Northeast, Midlands north of the Great Lakes, the Far West through the prairies and into the Rockies, and the Left Coast along the western coast of British Columbia. Probably the most difference is the First Nation which has recently gained control of most of northern Canada. In the US Native Americans are widely scattered and have no real center of power.
Epilogue   Now for your final exam, draw the map of the American nations as it will look in 2100 and describe how it will get there, what the politics relating the nations will be, and how the nations will be faring economically. Final papers will be due Jan. 1, 2050 and grades will be posted by Jan 1, 2100, good luck.
At present it appears that the Mexican federation is in the worst shape. Many observers are calling it a failed state. The National Army has been called out to suppress the drug cartels but it doesn't seem to be winning. Ethnic Maya are fighting an ongoing independence struggle in the south. Northern Mexicans are questioning why they should continue supporting the government in Mexico City. If something major would happen in the US would the Mexican states south and west of the Rio Grande opt to join the US or perhaps join with the El Norte areas of the US and form their own nation-state?
Canada has had major fractures but they seem to have been overcome in large part by the actions of the First Nations. Canada appears to be quite stable at present at least in part because the Canadian nations realize that they cannot survive nearly as well by themselves as they can and a working federation. He also points out that the various peoples of the Inuit have many similar beliefs and cultural practices and would probably create a very different nation than that of many peoples to the south.
How about the United States? Can they follow the Canadian example and compromise on their respective cultural agendas for the sake of unity? Neither the Dixie block nor the Northern alliance is likely to agree to major concessions to the other. The majority of Yankees, New Netherlanders, and Left Coasters simply aren't going to accept living in an evangelical Christian theocracy wit weak or nonexistent social, labor, or environmental protections, public school systems, and checks on corporate power in politics. Most Deep Southerners will resist paying higher taxes to underwrite the creation of a public health system, well financed, unionized, and secular public schools, free public universities with science — not the King James Bible — guides inquiry, and vigorous regulatory bodies.
Will there be some major crisis in which some of our federal leaders betray their oath to uphold the US Constitution and condone the suspension of civil rights, the dissolution of Congress, or the incarceration of Supreme Court justices? If this were to happen would the individual nations go their own ways or come together in multiple, smaller, federations? Since the legal states are the recognized political boundaries would the breakup be along state lines, would some of the states break up to more closely match the boundaries of the nations?
The book has 3 pages of acknowledgments and suggested reading, 27 pages of notes by chapter and a 17 page index.