Essay about The Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

Submitted By lindsayk98
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Pages: 5

In American Nations, a History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America,
Colin Woodard has one main purpose; to prove that North America has never had one main set of values. This goes back to North America's original settlers, who were of different races, religions, and cultures in general and had substantially different values and morals. Woodard divides modern-day North America into eleven different segments or groups of people sharing cultural values, the Left Coast, the Far West, el Norte, First Nation, the Midlands, New France,
Yankeedom, Greater Appalachia, Deep South, Tidewater, and New Netherland. These different segments of North America are divided with regard to culture and moral values only, and state lines have no effect. Woodard illustrates this when he says, "The lines of the map slash through cohesive cultures, creating massive cultural fissures in states like Maryland, Oregon, and New
York, whose residents have often found they have more in common with their neighbors in other states than they do with each other. Banish the meaningless "regions" with which we try to analyze national politics..." (page 4) Woodard proves that North America has not, is not, and will not be a country with congruent values. Rather, the values of North Americans refer to each
'nations' ancestry and settlement.!
The eleven nations Woodard divides the continent into are all fundamentally different.
Each nation was settled by different people from different places with different morals; "Each of our founding cultures had its own set of cherished principles, and they often contradicted each other." (page 2).!
Using this quote as a motto, Woodard goes on to illustrate the beginnings and location of each nation, starting with El Norte, which was the first area discovered and explored in the New
World. The Spanish arrived long before the English, and explored much of the southern United
States. Old rivalries, however, made them many enemies. Woodard explains this when he says,
"by spearheading the effort to snuff out the Protestant Reformation, the Spanish had earned the lasting hatred of {several European nations} and {this anti-Spanish feeling} became deeply engrained in the cultures of Yankeedom, Appalachia, Tidewater, and the Deep South...the effort to stamp out Europe's Protestants consumed so much of the Spanish Empire's focus, energy, and resources that it was left incapable of supporting...its American colonies." The Spanish settlements were isolated from most of the other European cultures and Spain itself, and therefore developed a culture entirely it's own. There was a patron-type government, and much of the region was Catholic. Freedom was very important; to become free all people had to do was leave the town's jurisdiction; living with the Indians, etc. As a result, the people of El Norte were fiercely independent, cherishing independence, and becoming increasingly self-sufficient.!
The culture of New France was started with the intention of founding a perfected feudal society, with the counts, viscounts, and barons ruling over commoners and their servants. A respectful alliance with the Native Americans was expected, and religious tolerance was accepted. The gentlemen of New France staged plays, wrote poetry, and rarely if ever went into the fields. Indians were treated as equals by the gentlemen, unlike the peasants. Woodard refers to this joining of people when saying, "This pattern of cultural openness was repeated in Quebec and would be practiced across New France" (page 38). Intermarrying was normal between the original settlers and the natives. While the original goal of the French was to convert the Indians,
"ultimately they {the French} themselves became acculturated into the lifestyle, technology, and values of {the native peoples}" (page 39). When Louis XIV stepped in and attempted to create a government bureaucracy, and the main result was the