The Lone Star State has a saying you’ve likely heard: Texas, it’s like a whole other country. But award-winning author and journalist Colin Woodward says it actually is, and he’s divided the state into three of the eleven “nations” he’s identified within the US in his latest book.
In his fourth book, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures in North America, Woodward’s eleven nations are formed by his claim that certain regions have been struggling to come to a political consensus since the birth of the country.
“The country has been arguing about a lot of fundamental things lately including state roles and individual liberty,” Woodward told Business Insider, “[But] in order to have any productive conversation on these issues, you need to know where you come from. Once you know where you are coming from it will help move the conversation forward.”
Southeast Texas falls into the “Deep South” nation, which Woodward says was “established by English slave lords from Barbados and was styled as a West Indies-style slave society.” This region includes the states of Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
According to Woodward, states in the Deep South have a rigid social structure and oppose government regulations they view as infringements on liberty.
Parts of South and West Texas fall into “El Norte,” along with parts of New Mexico, Arizona and California. El Norte features Hispanic culture with values of independence, self-sufficiency and hard work.
North and part of central Texas are included in the “Greater Appalachia” nation, the “land of hillbillies and rednecks” who value independence and personal sovereignty, distrusting Yankees and aristocrats.
Woodward, who hails from Maine, argues most of our national arguments are between the Deep South and Yankeedom, which covers the northeast of the nation. He claims Yankeedom “values education, intellectual achievement, communal empowerment, and citizen participation in government as a shield against tyranny.”
“We are trapped in brinkmanship because there is not a lot of wiggle room between Yankee and Southern Culture,” Woodard claims. “Those two nations would never see eye to eye on anything besides an external threat.”