Colin Woodward asserts that this country has never been “one nation indivisible” but has always been a confederation of 11 nations. Woodward shows how each nation’s culture and values reflect the original settlers of each nation and then traces the conflict and cooperation among regions down to us.
With this thesis, it is not surprising that Woodward thinks that our perception of being “deeply divided” is old news. In his conclusion, after the nobody can predict the future disclaimer, he speculates about compromise, collapse and an EUy confederation. The only way for the “United States to continue to exist in something like its current form” is for “its central government to function cleanly, openly and efficiently.” But there is a chicken and egg in here because our government would function more cleanly, openly and efficiently if we were less divided. So, all hope is lost maybe.
This book is bold, entertaining and informative. The swing nation thesis fits in well with the results of the November election so it helped me get it. I wish he had spent more time on how the united versus the divided aspect but that’s a matter of taste and authorial prerogative.