- Author and journalist Colin Woodard identified 11 distinct cultures that have historically divided the US.
- His book “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures in North America” breaks down those cultures and the regions they each dominate.
- From the utopian “Yankeedom” to the conservative “Greater Appalachia” and liberal “Left Coast,” looking at these cultures sheds an interesting light on America’s political and cultural divides.
- In response to the coronavirus pandemic, some governors are acting among these factions — like California, Oregon, and Washington, of all which have parts comprising of “The Left Coast” group.
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The Fourth of July celebrates American independence from Great Britain during the Revolutionary War.
During that time, the US was divided into 13 distinct colonies, which later grew and expanded into the 50 states we have today.
But the US isn’t only made up of 50 states. It may also be a country comprised of several tribes or factions.
That’s according to award-winning author Colin Woodard, who writes in his book “American Nations” that there are 11 distinct cultures that have historically divided North America (Canada is included in his overall analysis).
“The country has been arguing about a lot of fundamental things lately including state roles and individual liberty,” Woodard told Business Insider in a past interview. “[But] in order to have any productive conversation on these issues,” he added, “you need to know where you come from.”
The country’s divisions across political beliefs, rather than geographic location, can be seen in how the country is tackling the coronavirus pandemic. Absent of a federal plan for all the states, governors have been partnering up, often in tandem with these 11 factions, to create plans for battling the crisis. For example, the governors of California, Washington and Oregon — all of which have parts of what Woodward calls “The Left Coast” — have formed a coalition. States like New York and Connecticut, which are both part of the nation called “Yankeedom,” are working together, too.
Here’s Woodard’s historical take on each nation:
Matthew Speiser contributed to a previous version of this article.