Monday, November 12, 2012

American Nations

In my explorations of the difference between liberal and conservative, red states and blue states, here is a book recently referred to me, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America. An excerpt of its description follows:

In AMERICAN NATIONS, Woodard leads us through the history of our fractured continent, and the rivalries and alliances between its component nations. He explains why “American values” vary sharply from one region to another—how an idea like “freedom” as understood by an East Texan or Idahoan can be the polar opposite of what it means to a New Englander or San Franciscan.  Woodard reveals how intra-national differences have played a pivotal role at every point in the continent’s history, right up into the 2012 election cycle.  AMERICAN NATIONS is a revolutionary and revelatory take on America’s myriad identities, and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and mold our future.

There isn’t and never has been one America, Colin Woodard argues, but rather several Americas. 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 unique religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics. Some championed individualism, others utopian social reform. Some believed themselves guided by divine purpose, others freedom of conscience and inquiry. Some embraced an Anglo-Saxon Protestant identity, others ethnic and religious pluralism. Some valued equality and democratic participation, others deference to a traditional aristocratic order. All of them continue to uphold their respective ideals today, with results that can be seen
on the composition of the U.S. Congress or the county-by-county election maps of most any competitive presidential election of the past two centuries.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.