Thursday, January 25, 2018

The 38 States of America


I was given the book Strange Maps, which has been moderately fun. About halfway through, this one shows up. It is an excellent example of an idea that looks crazy at first, but becomes more sensible as you look at it. It's never going to happen, of course, and the geographer C Etzel Pearcy who thought this up knew that from the start. Too many practical difficulties with changing even small amounts of disputed territory, as the residents of New Hampshire and Maine know from the Portsmouth Shipyard controversy. (Commenter Granite Dad is still exercised about this.)

The emotional attachments would escalate from mast protests to shooting wars in a hundred places. Grand Rapids may be happy to shove Detroit off, but they get Chicago, which I think they might hate more. I don't know if the renaming would reduce arguments or increase them. I might be okay with being part of the State of Kennebec, but I wouldn't be getting that choice, because I'd be on the outer border of the Commonwealth of Plymouth, which I don't like.  Happy to see Massachusetts cut in half, though. Does Texas care all that much about the panhandle?

Still, Pearcy had good arguments for why he drew the lines where, and as near as I can tell from the places I know well, they make some cultural sense. Pearcy tried hard not to divide up metropolitan areas, drawing the lines through less-populated places. In New England, that means a line from Foxwoods to Laconia, then SSE to the ocean between Portland and Portsmouth. Connecticut and Western Mass become part of a state centered on NYC - which they pretty much are anyway. Maine, Vermont, and the rest of New Hampshire had more cultural unity in 1973 when this came out, but I think it could still be found. Adding in that bit of Upstate NY around Plattsburg makes sense.

I can't tell where Lexington KY and Williamsburg VA are ending up.  Again, less of an issue in 1973, more so now.

9 comments:

Christopher B said...

From my (admittedly brief) political observations, Lexington's location might not matter much, and it would be pretty tough to move Louisville to a hospitably Blue area given that the region along the banks of the Ohio is pretty Red until you get up around Cincinnati.

RichardJohnson said...

It would be an interesting exercise to find out how the 2016 electoral vote would have changed with this map.

Does Texas care that much about the Panhandle? Them as who don't live in the Panhandle don't. Back in the day, I was beaten up in Amarillo for having long hair, so I don't have much attachment to the place.

The California delineation today would have been better done by coastal versus inland. Currently that is a stronger divide than the traditional LA/SF divide. People in LA or SF agree on politics much more than their counterparts in inland California.California Shouldn’t Secede from the U.S.It should divide in two.

As Fairfield County is much more aligned with NYC than with Hartford, some sort of division of CT makes sense to me. The NY/Plymouth border in CT is too far east. Consider Red Sox/Yankee support as a rough guide for drawing the border.

james said...

Quite a number of places I've been are on boundaries.

A hundred years from now, the boundaries would all be different.

Cambias said...

This is not a map of a union of sovereign states. This is a map of provinces of a centralized superstate.

Donna B. said...

Yeah, what Cambias said. And ditto to Richard Johnson re electoral vote.

And, while I'm not at all familiar with anything but a few of the southern and western states, I can tell you that Shreveport LA, Huntsville AL, and several parts of Texas ain't gonna be happy.

Shreveport has much more in common with Dallas and NE Texas. SE Texas probably does have a lot in common with SW Louisiana.

Huntsville AL has nothing in common with the rest of Alabama. I don't know whether Ozark or Cumberland could better handle it. I actually do have rocket scientists for neighbors here. Big window-rattling booms are common too. Engineers are a dime a dozen. It is, however, very dependent on DOD contracts.

Jacksonville FL belongs in Talladega.

Give the panhandle back to Texas, but give Brownsville to Cochise. And no way is Texas giving up the Red River. Nor is Shawnee.

It actually does make sense to combine a lot of Arizona with New Mexico and a bit of west Texas, at least geographically. Politically... perhaps not.

RichardJohnson said...

Donna B.
SE Texas probably does have a lot in common with SW Louisiana.
There is some Cajun influence in the likes of Port Arthur or Beaumont. Today, there are probably at least 375,000 Cajuns who call Texas home.

However,Texas had a big problem with the New Orleans refugees from Hurricane Katrina.In a phrase, more work-shy and crime-prone than desired.I knew a NOLA Hurricane Katrina refugee who definitely was one of the work-shy. BTW, he was white.

Most Texans are quite content with keeping the TX/LA border at the Sabine River.

RichardJohnson said...

2015:No, Katrina evacuees didn't cause a Houston crime wave.The data doesn't support the myth.

Donna B. said...

Problem or not, not many of those refugees were Cajuns.

Wyman said...

Texas would mostly have a problem because they're very proud of how big they are, and this would cut into that. They certainly don't care about the panhandle, but they would be upset to be less important.

Cambias is right that this turns states into provinces, and as such, probably leads to fair amount of redistricting over time. Once you've messed with state lines, the ability to gerrymander is constantly at play. After all, you did it once and it really makes more sense for this part to be over here... there'd be no end to it.