Inspired by the Bloomberg map of the American nations, where Woodard assigned a flag to each nation, I thought I’d make my own set of flags for each of Woodard’s Nations – based on revisions to Woodard’s Bloomberg version – including a little discussion of each of the nations. Residents from these regions, please feel free to voice your thoughts on my choices. 🙂
This flag is composed of iconic symbols of Yankee culture: the New England sports teams, with the logo of the tellingly named Patriots – a proud Yankee – in the center. Surrounding this are the emblems of certain New England Ivy League schools, symbolizing that decidedly Puritan tradition of education. Long viewing themselves as enlightened people (indeed, the Puritans thought that were God’s chosen people), the Yankees see themselves as stewards of the nation (and indeed today, the world, in many respects). They gave us many of our traditions, such as laying the foundations for democracy and equality. They also established many of the customs we now know (particularly universal education) as well as much of the mythos of American history. They weren’t enthused about outsiders, and only accepted immigrants into their midst once they embarked on an overt policy of assimilation (including a real ceremonial melting pot). Today, their “SWPL” descendants remain indifferent to outsiders, being de facto unwelcoming to people unlike themselves (the “people from away“, or PFAs, as their known here in northern New England) even if they outwardly speak of ideals of diversity. Crusaders for social justice to a fault, the Yankees seek to spread their enlightenment to others, often whether they like it or not.
I’ve used the flag of the city of Albany, NY, which much more closely resembles the flag of the New Netherland colony than does the flag of New York City, despite the latter city being much more clearly the epicenter of the cultural region. “New Netherland” is of course the nation most removed, ethnically, from its founding composition (see “Being the Dutch” at West Hunter), but still quite similar in its character (in being cosmopolitan and capitalistic). New Amsterdam was established as a trading center (and indeed, was the business capital for the Deep South), a role which New York City and its heavily ethnically mixed metro area continues to play today.
This is simply a combination of the flag of Quebec, the flag of the colony of New France, and the flag of Acadia, EDIT, 9/17/13: and the flag of Acadiana in Louisiana. The French colonists took a decidedly different route than did the British settlers, insisting on good relations with the Native populations from the beginning (something the Brits copied in their own Canadian settlements). The French colonists early on cast off notions of aristocracy and social hierarchy. The initial population was small and isolated (being only about 2,600 in Quebec), but soon exploded in size. Today, their descendants seem to have reversed in many of the traits, having evolved towards clannishness and corruption since being in the New World, perhaps due to inevitable inbreeding given their tiny initial population.
I’ve kept the Betsy Ross flag assigned by Woodard. The Midlands and their way of life is commonly regarded as the quintessential American. It is “the most prototypically American of the nations … It is Middle America, the most mainstream of the continent’s national cultures and, for much of our history, the kingmaker in national political contests,” as Woodard put it (p. 104). The little experiment in tolerance and diversity the Quakers established along with their German followers ended up becoming one of the most pervasive of all cultures, if for no other reason that they became the default. Paradoxically, as much as it is Americans, the Midlands is also the quintessential Canadian as well. The Canadian ideals of civility and societal openness is a Midland trait (settlers to Ontario were transplants from the Delaware valley). The perfect society they set out to create, symbolized by the original American Union, applies equally to our Canadian friends. Though the Yankees get the credit (or the blame, depending on how you look at it) for imposing their ideals of equality and diversity on the other nations, these ideals were wholly Midlander values (the Midlanders were vehemently opposed the the slavery of the Tidewater and the Deep South, for example).
The Cavaliers were apparently intermediate between clannish and non-clannish people (see earlier post), retaining traces of a kin-based societal organization, a strong sense of pride (which their northern neighbors are lacking in comparison), and the culture of honor of clannish frontiersmen (a role the Cavaliers may have played in Britain):
While the Yankee elite generally settled their disputes through the instrument of written laws, Tidewater gentry were more likely to resort to a duel. Commoners were equally prideful: arguments in the tavern commonly led to nasty fights in which it was acceptable to kick, bite, strangle, gouge out eyes, and dismember genitals of one’s opponent. (Woodard, p. 62)
Tidewater society was hierarchical, with everyone’s role in society clearly established by birthright, sex, and race – in the spirit of medieval feudalism (on which their society was consciously based). The top men were refined gentlemen (having originated as Royalist losers in the English Civil War or as younger sons of English nobles) as, and the masters of their domain, had near complete rule over the lives of all the men, women, and children on their estates. As well, exploitation was the rule in their society; the plantation lords saw themselves as occupying their rightful place as lords over their Darwinian inferiors. Rules did not apply to them. Exploitation was a fate that befell their women (the “breeders”), the White servants who paid for their passage with servitude, the Native Americans (with whom the Cavaliers were hostile towards from the start), and eventually, African slaves. Tidewater society – in conjunction with their cousins in the Deep South and the Scotch-Irish of Appalachia – gave America much of its fighting spirit and many of its martial customs. Its unique flavor remains alive and well today on the Virginia shores.
The Rebel Flag. There’s no two ways around it, this flag is the preferred symbol of Deep Southern culture, and is proudly flown there. Woodard was quite correct in choosing this flag for that nation. Another product of Cavalier extraction, the Deep South was founded even more explicitly on exploitation, initially by English plantation lords from Barbados who sought to replicate their plantation system here. Voracious for slaves (slaves were often worked to death, as it was frequently profitable to do so) and expansion, they carved a path across the Southern reaches of the country and played an instrumental role in the expansionist endeavors of the early United States. With their Tidewater allies they attempted to break away from the other nations by force, but were overcome by the Northern coalition’s (of Yankeedom and the Midlands) superiority in nearly every area. Even after the Civil War, they retained their racial caste system, until that too was broken by Northern intrusion. The Deep Southern and the Tidewater’s culture of exploitation lives on in the American corporate and political class, with Deep Southern fat cats now playing a strong role in American politics. Today, (as those in the HBD-sphere are all too aware), Deep Southerners remain proud of their culture and heritage, and don’t necessarily conform to the Yankee and Midland naive conception of proper right-thinking people. Like the Tidewater, they begrudgingly accept their part in the Union with the other nations, but it remains to be seen how long that will last.
This is a slight variation of the checkered flag featured on Bloomberg. I went with the more explicit route. Today, a good symbol of Scotch-Irish identity is NASCAR, something that is quite popular across Greater Appalachia. Clan-based warriors from the beginning, Appalachians retain their unbeatable pride, even though they remain the poorest all of the nations. Greater Appalachia also remains the most doggedly independent of the American nations, being the most opposed to federation at the beginning. As DHF put it:
During the first years of George Washington’s administration (1789-93), regional elites in New England, the Delaware Valley and the coastal south strongly supported the new federal government … The fourth region, however, remained stubbornly opposed to this coalition. The backcountry did not support the federal government. Throughout the interior parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, hostility to the new regime grew stronger as it began to function. In 1794, after a federal excise tax was enacted, the backcountry rose in an armed insurrection which has been miscalled the Whiskey Rebellion—a label which has trivialized a regional movement of high seriousness and danger to the republic. (p. 636).
Sound familiar to any of you?
Based on a vectorization of the Wyoming license plate. The interior West was actually one of the last areas of the country to be settled, even after the West Coast. It took aggressive pioneers to do so, especially since the area needed to be cleared of much of its Native population (who, having the longest time to adapt to Europeans, were best able to resist the invaders). The Wild West was born of these people, where only the toughest survived. The traits of these early colonists are quite visible in the present population. The area is heavily Scotch-Irish in population, who established their ranching culture there. However it also received pioneers from all regions. As well, it contains that western splinter branch of the Puritans, the Mormons, who remain one of the dominant groups there. Settlers to the Interior West were essentially completely dependent on the federal government for survival and largely remain so today, leading to an ongoing uneasy relationship between the two. Far Westerners often found themselves the victim of corporate exploitation, fueling the early populist movements there. The Far West spans both the U.S. (including Alaska) and Canada , being most evident in the latter country with infamously conservative Alberta.
Why this flag? Come on man, whom are we kidding? This Puritan exclave was founded as yet another Yankee attempt to form a perfect society (indeed, many of the settlers to the Pacific Northwest came from Maine, as the city of Portland – named for its eastern counterpart – attests). But it also managed to attract people from all walks who came to seek fame and fortune, a tradition that continues to this day. Its Yankee elite set the dominant tone, but they only partially contained the diverse flavor of its residents. Today the Left Coast exists with a special brand of Puritan liberal ethos, but in a decidedly cosmopolitan way. Settlers willing to go far and wide to seek fortune and fame established a unique society, one even more atomized than those of the east. “Loners” are common here. This flag undoubtedly symbolizes the people there and their culture. One didn’t need to over-think a symbol for them. 🙂
On that note, I’ll close with this song: