Map of the Day: Patchwork America

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In suing the state of Arizona, the Obama administration declared that "the Constitution and federal law do not permit a patchwork of state and local immigration policies." The legal fight is shaping up to become the latest major battle in the war over states' rights, which seems to have intensified under Obama's tenure.

First, Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested that his state secede. Then, Republican state attorneys general sued the U.S. government over health care mandates. Now, the feds are battling Arizona over the state's efforts to enforce a border against a nation that it was once ironically part of.

Relations between the states and the federal government seem strained at the moment, but in reality, the tug-of-war has been raging since Jefferson vs. Hamilton. Remarkably, the union has held. This great map by Matthew White depicts "the most fragmented that North America could have been."

It shows areas that seceded or threatened to secede, and/or ones that were once sovereign. To be sure, it is historically inconsistent -- how could Dakota secede from the U.S.A. if the U.S.A. had never acquired Louisiana? -- but it does illustrate every would-be and could-have-been nation on the continent.

Patchwork America


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Patrick Ottenhoff has been writing The Electoral Map blog since 2007. A former staff writer for National Journal Group and project manager at New Media Strategies, he now attends Georgetown's McDonough School of Business. More

Patrick Ottenhoff attends Georgetown McDonough School of Business in the Class of 2012. He previously served as a project manager in the Public Affairs Practice of New Media Strategies and was a staff writer for National Journal Group. Patrick has been writing The Electoral Map blog since 2007. As the name implies, the blog covers news and commentary at the intersection of politics and geography, but it also analyzes the stories, people, culture, sports, and food behind the maps and the votes. Patrick is a native Virginian and graduate of Union College in New York. You can follow The Electoral Map on Twitter and Facebook, and follow Patrick on YouTube.
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