How Geography Shaped American History, Law and Politics

How Geography Shaped American History, Law and Politics

From an interview with  Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, and author of the book The Law of the Land: a Grand Tour of Our Constitutional Republic

How was Lincoln a product of the Midwestern landscapes where he was raised?

If you are from the Midwest at this time, you believe that the union gave birth to the states. If you’re from Virginia, you believe the states gave birth to the union. Virginia was up and running since the 1620s, so it’s 150 years old by the time the American Revolution comes along. So, of course, Virginia comes first.

But if you’re from Illinois or Indiana, these were federal territories in the wilderness before the government created them as states. You are likely to be more of a nationalist for that reason. You are also going to believe that the federal government should create railroads and canals to connect you to the rest of the world. So you’re going to be in favor of infrastructure projects. You’re also going to oppose slavery, because these lands were proclaimed free from slavery back in 1787. So that’s Lincoln in a nutshell.

via How Geography Shaped American History, Law and Politics.

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