In his book ‘American Nations’, Colin Woodard laid out 11 distinct “nations” that exist within the US today. Those nations are El Norte, New France, Tidewater, Yankeedom, New Netherland, Deep South, Midlands, Greater Appalachia, The Far West, and The Left Coast. Within Yankeedom lies the states of (in decreasing order of population); New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Yankeedom also includes parts of upper Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I believe that this area of the Union should secede because of its unique culture, progressive values, political dominance, and the distinct possibility that it would create an overall improvement in the quality of life for its inhabitants.
But what makes this part of the country unique? As Woodard put it, Yankeedom was founded on the shores of Massachusetts by Calvinists searching for a new Zion. These Puritans laid claims to much of New York and got the right to move its people to those counties. People from New England eventually moved out west to the Great Lakes region, settling it and molding it like New England, thus expanding Yankeedom. (Woodard, 2011)
Yankeedom is also politically distinct from the rest of the country. In 2004, Yankeedom went to Kerry while the majority of the country when to Bush. But that isn’t where the region acting as one cohesive unit ends. Yankeedom has always been at the forefront of accepting and supporting members of the LGBT community, such as myself. The first state to legalize gay marriage was Massachusetts in 2004, 11 years before the Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriage was a civil right. Why should an area that is so progressive be held back and forced to deal with people who do not want to change?
“Except for Woodrow Wilson’s presidency, northern Republicans occupied the White House continuously from 1897 to 1932, and only lost to Wilson by splitting their vote in a three-way race” (Woodard, 297). The fact that the only way that the northern Republicans lost to a southern Democrat twice in 30 years shows 2 things. 1) Yankeedom was a powerful political powerhouse with New Netherland and the Midlands, and 2) the policies were popular. Presidents McKinley, Taft, and Coolidge were all from Yankeedom alone. “Although they presided over an era of laissez-faire capitalism, all of them (save Hoover) supported civil rights for African Americans” (Woodard, 293). This also shows the assertion that citizens of the the North, especially Yankeedom, have supported, and continue to support equal rights for minority groups. “And all (except Coolidge) supported an expanded reach for the federal government and checks on corporate and plutocratic power. They weren’t averse to cutting taxes, but generally did not do so in ways that skewed the benefits to the wealthy” (Woodard, 297-298).
Keeping what has been said about what makes Yankeedom unique, why secede? First off, the United States is a union and in a union people should be able to leave when they want to. An overarching and intrusive federal government and a piece of paper that allegedly binds a group to it. But we are talking about governments, not marital unions or unions of workers. People from Yankeedom have a history of separating themselves from governments that they do not feel are just or protecting the rights of the people. Massachusetts was the first state to take up arms against the British Empire, showing the history of secession of Yankeedom. The federal government has done just that, between imperialistic wars in foreign lands or domestic spying on US citizens. This is why Yankeedom should secede, because it would be a more effective government. During the time that the presidency was controlled by northern Republicans, it was made more efficient (Woodard). The New England style of town meetings that still exists today would echo within a federal government tailored for Yankeedom, which would help stop executive overreach. The smaller population and no established military would prevent imperialistic wars in foreign lands.
Secession is a practical idea. The aim of secession is to not oppress people within a geographic area, but to protect their freedoms. But what would a free Yankeedom look like? The defense spending would be nowhere near as large of a percentage of federal expenditure as it is with the current federal government. There would be much more of a cultural and government emphasis on education, with that being the main priority in a lot of families. The emphasis of education can already be seen in Yankeedom, with some of the best universities, according to US News, being in Yankeedom. Of the top 20 universities, 9 of them lie within the area of Yankeedom.
An independent Yankeedom just makes sense. The common culture and values will provide a government that better represents the people than the US government. It will be a more peaceful nation than the US at large. It will be one that is on the frontlines of social issues and will be on the winning side of history. That is why the people should rise up and demand that the elected officials in Yankeedom support secession. It is what is best for the people living within it.