Regional and Local Character
From the days of the Revolution the notion has taken hold, from time to time, that the United States is not so much “one nation, indivisible” as a federation of more or less distinct regions. Down to the Civil War, the nation's politics were dominated by a struggle between North and South over tariffs, slavery and control of the emergent West, and under those circumstances everybody took the importance of regions for granted. In 1889 Henry Adams devoted the first six chapters of his monumental History of America during the First Administration of Thomas Jefferson to a description of the varying social worlds of New England, the South, and the “megastates” — New York and Pennsylvania.
Thirty-six years later another influential historian, ...