On July 3rd in Chautauqua Institution’s Hall of Philosophy, Colin Woodard described several settlement regions in American history, and how those settlement patterns still impact the heartbeat of America today.
Woodard argued that politics can be understood through looking at the historic regions, and that today there are two superpowers that have stood out: Yankeedom and the Deep South. The two struggles with the balance between individual liberty and the common good, and Woodard maintains that straying too far in either direction is a detriment to society. Although, as Woodard says, we are becoming more polarized as a nation due to people moving to live with like-minded people, we can potentially find a middle ground by recognizing that at the base of American politics, what we really want is to let the best idea win, ensure taxpayers are not being cheated, that wealth not be based on birth, but on merit, and that everyone has the chance to achieve their potential. So, then, our American identity can be about our unalienable rights given to us with the very document that declares we are American in the first place.