Photo: Courtesy of Tufts Magazine.
Over the past few years, we've adopted all kinds of lingo to describe — and occasionally divide — parts of our nation: red states, blue states, the Rust Belt, the Bible Belt, and so on. But, those terms aren't sufficient for author Colin Woodward, who has drawn up a new map of the U.S. with 11 unique "nations" and published it in Tufts Magazine. The map takes into account a wide variety of factors when determining the boundaries of each nation, ranging from the types of settlers who first arrived in the region to current inhabitants' views on government, education, and social mores.
Okay, cue the record scratch — we know you're thinking, "Why should I care about this slightly reimagined map of America?" The answer: Because it's totally and completely fascinating. Woodward's map — and the accompanying article — shed light on divisive issues, like gun control and capital punishment, and explains why we don't always get along, especially in an election year. Case in point: Woodward writes that the states that make up the Deep South, Tidewater, and Greater Appalachia have the highest rates of violent death coupled with a distrust of government intervention. Meanwhile, the states comprising Yankeedom, New Netherland, and the Midlands have lower rates of violent death and more acceptance of federal regulation. When you think about it in those terms, it makes sense that a unanimous agreement on something like gun control would be nearly impossible. Woodward surmises: “With such sharp regional differences, the idea that the United States would ever reach consensus on any issue having to do with violence seems far-fetched. The cultural gulf between Appalachia and Yankeedom, Deep South and New Netherland is simply too large." You can read Woodward's article in its entirety here — and then go wow someone with your knowledge of how the world (or at least, the country) really works. ( Washington Post )