Map of the Day: Patchwork America

By Patrick Ottenhoff

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


This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/07/map-of-the-day-patchwork-america/59308/