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  #61  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2019, 5:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
Because American state boundaries generally make little practical sense. They’re arbitrary lines and yet remain the means by which we apportion political influence.

So in other words they're just like the nine regions of England.

Thanks for the clarification.
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  #62  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2019, 7:17 PM
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Because American state boundaries generally make little practical sense. They’re arbitrary lines and yet remain the means by which we apportion political influence.
Yes and no. The western states were just arbitrary lines but the the original 13 states plus Vermont, Texas and Florida were a bit more complicated.
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  #63  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2019, 8:12 PM
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Little practical sense? Should the boundaries of Kansas, for example, look like Maines? I think they make a lot of sense(most).
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  #64  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2019, 8:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
Because American state boundaries generally make little practical sense. They’re arbitrary lines and yet remain the means by which we apportion political influence.
Not all state boundaries are arbitrary. Just look at how many state boundaries are delineated by major rivers like the Ohio and Mississippi.

But as you move out west into the "rectangle states", yes most state borders become pretty divorced from geography.
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  #65  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 2:40 AM
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Could be like most of the world with arbitrary lines that the people on the ground don't respect.
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  #66  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 2:47 AM
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Because American state boundaries generally make little practical sense. They’re arbitrary lines and yet remain the means by which we apportion political influence.
It's worth noting that even if we look at European capitals, it's not really a universal rule that the largest city/capital is located in a geographically centralized location.

Certainly there are some capitals (Madrid, Rome) which are fairly centralized. But there are numerous others, like London and Paris, which are pretty far from the heart of the nation.
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  #67  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 5:04 AM
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Dublin is also off center.
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  #68  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 8:07 AM
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Yes and no. The western states were just arbitrary lines but the the original 13 states plus Vermont, Texas and Florida were a bit more complicated.
I would argue that the original 13 colonies make little practical sense today. I couldn't tell you the distinction between New Hampshire and Vermont or Delaware and Maryland.

Probably my West Coast elitism, though.
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  #69  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 8:14 AM
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Delete.
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  #70  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 10:17 AM
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I would argue that the original 13 colonies make little practical sense today. I couldn't tell you the distinction between New Hampshire and Vermont or Delaware and Maryland.

Probably my West Coast elitism, though.
There is historical basis for their borders; most could date back at least a century before American independence. California exists because a handful of cities on the west coast wanted statehood, so a state was drawn around them.
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  #71  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
Not all state boundaries are arbitrary. Just look at how many state boundaries are delineated by major rivers like the Ohio and Mississippi.

But as you move out west into the "rectangle states", yes most state borders become pretty divorced from geography.
Using a river as a boundary is actually arbitrary as well, in the absence of any longstanding cultural divide along said river. Human civilizations generally developed along rivers, on both sides. It would make more sense to have a state around a river than to use one to delineate a boundary.

And the borders of the original colonies were often quite arbitrary in some places as well. Lines of latitude, etc.
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  #72  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
Using a river as a boundary is actually arbitrary as well, in the absence of any longstanding cultural divide along said river. Human civilizations generally developed along rivers, on both sides. It would make more sense to have a state around a river than to use one to delineate a boundary.

And the borders of the original colonies were often quite arbitrary in some places as well. Lines of latitude, etc.
Everything is pretty much arbitrary within most countries then. I mean, using culture to create states, the US would have what...5 states?
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  #73  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 1:53 PM
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Because American state boundaries generally make little practical sense. They’re arbitrary lines and yet remain the means by which we apportion political influence.
Not everybody lives on/in a small island nation.
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  #74  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 4:20 PM
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Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
Using a river as a boundary is actually arbitrary as well, in the absence of any longstanding cultural divide along said river. Human civilizations generally developed along rivers, on both sides. It would make more sense to have a state around a river than to use one to delineate a boundary.

And the borders of the original colonies were often quite arbitrary in some places as well. Lines of latitude, etc.
All borders are arbitrary. For instance, the United Kingdom arbitrarily claimed a tiny portion of the island of Ireland to be its sovereign territory, even though most of the United Kingdom is on the island of Great Britain. That minor detail is keeping the United Kingdom from exiting the European Union according to the results of a referendum from 2016...
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  #75  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 7:16 PM
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Everything is pretty much arbitrary within most countries then. I mean, using culture to create states, the US would have what...5 states?
Perhaps.

My point, which should have currency on this forum of all places, is that cities (and their rural hinterlands) are the proper unit for most purposes, particularly cultural and economic.

Aside from Texas, which has a state identity to a weird degree for various reasons, cities are more meaningful than states, and so yes having state boundaries which essentially create a political boundary between a city and its hinterland is an odd thing.

It’s nothing to do with being “in the middle”, or for example Paris or London not being in the geographic center of France or England. But they aren’t cut off from their outskirts like many, many American cities.

The difference between the Americas (and particularly the US) and the Old World, of course, is that the political boundaries were formed before the cities developed rather than the other way around.
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Last edited by 10023; Sep 15, 2019 at 9:01 PM.
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  #76  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 9:41 PM
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State and (most) countries are administrative regions. It's where kings and governments extended their power. Cities and local communities have always been the nexus of culture and identity. But cities can't realistically be their own state or countries; Singapore, Hong Kong are exceptions. New York City is inexorably tied to New York State and rely on one another. Texas was a failed country and in the century or so since then, Texans forgot the 'failure' part and latched on to the fact they were briefly independent. Not as long as Vermont...
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  #77  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
State and (most) countries are administrative regions. It's where kings and governments extended their power. Cities and local communities have always been the nexus of culture and identity. But cities can't realistically be their own state or countries; Singapore, Hong Kong are exceptions. New York City is inexorably tied to New York State and rely on one another. Texas was a failed country and in the century or so since then, Texans forgot the 'failure' part and latched on to the fact they were briefly independent. Not as long as Vermont...
In the U.S., cities are creations of the state where they are located. NYS could dissolve the city of New York, or amend its borders to be larger or smaller whenever they want. The federal government would have zero say in the matter. Somewhat relatedly, this is why no one pays property taxes to the federal government. The federal government largely doesn't have that particular power of taxation, because property is derived from the state where it is physically located. Contrast this to England or France, where property is derived directly from the national government.

I think there is a bit of misunderstanding being exhibited in the thread. Our federal system is structured to give states most of the authority in administering their territory. The U.S. is more like a collection of 50 different countries that cooperate with each other... our country is essentially the European Union with stronger institutions binding the union together.
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  #78  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2019, 7:00 AM
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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
Everything is pretty much arbitrary within most countries then. I mean, using culture to create states, the US would have what...5 states?
I think that it would have 2. The Midwest and everywhere else. The Midwest is basically its own cultural island centered around Chicago.
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  #79  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2019, 7:07 AM
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Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
My point, which should have currency on this forum of all places, is that cities (and their rural hinterlands) are the proper unit for most purposes, particularly cultural and economic.
This dovetails nicely into my idea to have the United States divided administratively into a collection of city-states. San Francisco would own most of NorCal, Chicago would own most of the Midwest, New York would own most of the mid-Atlantic (including Philadelphia). There would be about 10 city-states in total, with the main city acting as the administrative capital and having a rail transit system from the outlying areas of the state.
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  #80  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2019, 1:01 PM
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I think that it would have 2. The Midwest and everywhere else. The Midwest is basically its own cultural island centered around Chicago.
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