Monday, September 29, 2008

The 38 States of the USA

The state boundaries of the United States of America are all wrong. They don't reflect the natural, logical, physical or cultural boundaries, or the way that people spend their lives.

For example, I used to live in northern New Jersey about 35 miles from New York City. The city and its suburbs span parts of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey and form a much stronger natural geographical entity than the arbitrary state boundaries based on ancient land grants and colonial history. I sailed on the Jersey shore, the south and north shores of Long Island (NY), and was a member of a frostbiting fleet in Connecticut. New Jersey was a meaningless abstraction to me.

Now I live in Rhode Island. The state boundaries are so weird round here that the most natural route for me to our state's capital is through another state. I sail mainly on Narragansett Bay (RI), and on Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod both of which are in Massachusetts. The center of this region socially, culturally and sportsteamally is undoubtedly Boston (MA). Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts are a logical unit. But because of some disagreement about religion over 300 years ago there is a nonsensical state line a couple of miles north of my house. (Though it is kind of cool to be able to go for a run and say I ran all the way to the next state.)

So I was pleased to discover at Strange Maps that back in the 1970s, geography professor C. Etzel Pearcy proposed redrawing the borders of the US states, reducing them from 50 to 38. Each new state’s name was chosen to represent a physical of cultural aspect of each new territory. This realignment was supposed to be more organic and more logical than the current 50 state mish-mash.

For this week's Map on Monday, I give you the 38 States of the USA...

So what do you think? Does this map make more sense?

The other good things about this map... only 76 senators, only 38 governors (but 2 from Alaska god help us), and a shorter presidential primary season.


Pat said...

Ah, but this map would move Five O'Clock Somewhere right onto the state line between Cochise and San Luis. We might have to drive or paddle over a state line to get to our boat during the summer.

EVK4 said...

My new state, El Dorado, would actually have legalized gambling! I'll take it.

jbushkey said...

W. Mass and N. Connecticut make no sense being with NYC. They would probably be better off with a small part of western NY, Vermont, and most of NH excluding the suburbs of Boston. Adding RI, and part of SE NH to Boston makes sense though.

Carol Anne said...

I suspect the folks in the state of Cochise would rather have the state name be Geronimo. Yeah, Cochise was a better statesman, but Geronimo had more media appeal.

On the plus side, Gerald would qualify for in-state tuition at Cochise State University.

Meanwhile, what's with the state of Erie not being anywhere near Lake Erie?

Taylor Browne said...

This wouldn't shorten the presidential primary system, but elongate it. States will be more homogeneous then previously so they will all require more tailoring and positioning than previously.

States with multiple large population centers like New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, California, are all broken up now with every major city in those states now getting their own state to politically dominate. Redrawing states like this would also make the electoral college more relevant.

I normally don't post but I've actually been thinking about this recently!

angelin said...

Researchers found that all 38 states covered some type of medication treatment, such as Zyban, nicotine inhalers, and/or nicotine patches. Fourteen states covered some form of tobacco-cessation counseling for all Medicaid participants, while 12 others offered counseling only to pregnant women.
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Carol Anne said...

angelin, are you sure? I would guess that the states of Albemarle, Piedmont, and Carolina would oppose tobacco cessation treatments.

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