Proposals for partitioning the United States have a long history (including, of course, a serious attempt by a group of states to implement such a partition in 1861). This post looks at some more contemporary suggestions that either predict a partition, or look at various cultural divisions within the US that might be considerations if someone were planning a partition. Consider this to be background material only; my own proposal for a partition that separates 11 western states is based on different criteria. Still, it is useful to start thinking about the premise that there are cultural differences between regions of the US, and that in a future where long-distance transportation is more constrained, those differences may matter even more than they do today.
the Wall Street Journal late in 2008.
Some aspects of this partition seem peculiar to me. He ignores obvious cultural influences: it is more likely that Arizona would align with a Mexican influence than a Chinese one. The partition ignores some geographic considerations: Kentucky and Tennessee are on the other side of the Appalachians from the rest of Atlantic America, and the California Republican stops short of the Rocky Mountains. Relative sizes argue against much of the whole premise. His Central North-American Republic,
which is either part of Canada or under Canadian influence, has
double the current population of Canada. His Texas Republic of nine
states, predicted to be either a part of Mexico or under Mexican
influence, has a GDP almost triple that of Mexico . Generally speaking,
poor countries don't acquire or overly influence much richer ones, nor
do that to territory with double their own population.
Neil Freeman in 2012.
Mr. Freeman is upfront that this is a work of art, not a serious proposal, but I'll
criticize some aspects of it anyway. The new state of Shiprock spans
more than a thousand miles from east to west, three time zones, and multiple mountain ranges;
that's a difficult situation for a state government to manage. Another
interesting case is Ogallala, which consists of the Front Range area of
Colorado and a whole lot of mostly empty space. I've written recently about how
northeast Colorado would like to separate itself
from the Front Range urban area; Mr. Freeman has grafted on a whole
bunch of additional area that would presumably feel the same way.
American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, with some of the arguments summarized in a Tufts Magazine article. Mr. Woodard argues that the groups of people who historically settled these regions account for the very different attitudes towards issues like violence and gun control in the US today. More interesting is Mr. Woodard's argument that American mobility is reinforcing the divisions as people self-sort by moving to regions where the cultural attitude more closely matches their personal preferences. That's an important idea, but one I would consider more important in the growing urban/rural divide: the differences between urban and rural areas within these regions is often greater than the differences between the regions.
 Consider also the Department of Defense's 2010 Joint Operating Environment document, which identifies one of the potential risks to be planned for as Mexico becoming a failed state unable to manage its own affairs.