America Is Basically 11 Different Nations – Here’s Why

America Is Basically 11 Different Nations – Here’s Why –


In his book, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures in North America (whew, say that three times fast), author Colin Woodard identifies what he says are 11 different, distinct cultures that populate and divide America. These regions are split on fundamental issues including “state roles and individual liberty.” According to Woodard, “to have any productive conversation on these issues,” he added, “you need to know where you come from.” So, from the horse’s mouth to your eyes, here is the regional breakdown in case you weren’t sure exactly where you stand on the issues. Most of these are just regional stereotypes of america, but hey who doesnt love generalizing large swaths of people?


Including the entire Northeast from northern New York up, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, you damn Yankees value education, intellectual achievement, communal empowerment and citizen participation in government to combat tyranny. You are comfortable with some government regulation. According to Woodard, Yankees have a Utopian Streak and the area was settled by radical Calvinists. “Bring on the socialism” – Yankees apparently.



Changing gears a bit, New Netherland is a more materialistic nation. Since they’re more focused on commercial cultures, they’re very open to ethnic and religious diversity with a resolute devotion to freedom and “inquiry of conscience,” Woodard says. They have a natural affiliation to Yankeedom. This nation was originally founded by the Dutch.



Welcome to America’s heartland! English Quakers settled this territory with more moderate opinions on politics and a strong disdain for government regulation. Cheers to that! Woodard refers to the Midlands as “America’s great swing region,” encompassing parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. A working class with the blisters to show it. You’re free to interpret that as you wish…



Young English gentry originally called the area around the Chesapeake Bay and North Carolina home. Once a feudal society that embraced slavery, people of this area strongly value respect for authority and traditions, not all tradition though, thankfully. Woodard is quick to point out the impending demise of this region thanks to the encroachment of, “expanding federal halos around D.C. and Norfolk.” Traditional is as traditional does.



Bring on the Mountain Dew and moonshine! Playfully thought of as “the land of hillbillies and rednecks,” the area was originally colonized by settlers from war-torn borderlands of Northern Ireland, Northern England and Scottish Lowlands. Not surprisingly, these people are fiercely protective of their personal sovereignty and individual liberty. Politically, these people side more with the Deep South, aligning against the influence of federal government, remaining “intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers.”



Sweet home Alabama was actually established by English slave lords from Barbados who fancied it as a West Indies-style slave society—which makes complete sense. Among other dominant traits, the Deep South has a very rigid social structure which fights the tempest of government regulations threatening individual liberties. Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia and South Carolina would all like the federal government to kindly piss off.



Hispanic culture dominates the “borderlands of Spanish-American empire.” Woodard says El Norte is “a place apart” from the rest of America. Core values for the inhabitants are self-sufficiency and hard work first. These strong-armed people colonized parts of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California call El Norte home. Elbow grease is the number one export.



New Englanders and Appalachian Midwesterners who got sick of the shit back East, colonized the Left Coast as a hybrid of “Yankee utopianism and Appalachian self-expression and exploration.” Though geographically furthest away, they are “the staunchest allies of Yankeedom”—so true. Coastal California, Oregon and Washington are home to the Yankees of the west.



Not to be confused with the Left Coasters, the Far West lean much more heavily to the conservative side. Woodard says Far West people, “Developed through large investment in industry, yet where inhabitants continue to “resent” the Eastern interests that initially controlled that investment.” No comment. Among the confused Far Westerners are Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California.



This corner pocket of liberalism is nestled firmly in the conservative Deep South. The people of New France are “consensus driven, tolerant and comfortable with government involvement in their economy.” According to Woodard, this is one of the most liberal places in North America, also one of the wettest. Inhabitants of New France reside in parts of Louisiana, mostly New Orleans and the Canadian province of Quebec.


The First Nation is aptly named as it is largely comprised of Native Americans. First nation peoples enjoy tribal sovereignty in the US, but its 300k inhabitants live mostly in the northern reaches of Canada.


Of the 11 nations Woodard breaks America into, he claims “Yankeedom and the Deep South exert the most influence while constantly competing with each other for the hearts and minds of the other nations.” He believes these two nations are diametrically opposed and will never see eye to eye on anything besides external threats to America.  Remember folks, there is no compromise, and the middle ground doesn’t exist.  Literally no possible overlap on values or perspectives.

Furthermore, Woodard believes America is likely to become even more polarized even as it becomes more diverse. His reasoning? People are “self-sorting.” We are more inclined to move to the places that identify with our values, as opposed to spreading our beliefs in an area of opposition.

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