Personal Space (was Re: [LMB] Touching) possibly OT:

Victoria L'Ecuyer vlecuyer at
Thu, 13 Nov 2003 13:20:14 -0600

 Raye Johnsen (Northern Aussie)
> [snips]
> Where are the geographic boundaries of 'The South'?  I
> thought California *was* a southern state.
> Raye

Grab a map, this requires visual aids.

It helps if you remember that the continental US is first divided into "vertical" thirds (up and down on the map) with the boundaries running more or less along the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. So you have the Eastern, the Mid-western and the Western states. (That makes California a western state) States that straddle the mountains are included in the outer-most sections. This follows the old settlement routes and basic geography.

After you do the Vertical Third separation, then you have to do a horizontal division (left to right across the map). Due to political (and assorted historical)  reasons you have the northern half and the southern half. Washington DC is, more or less, on the Horizontal Divide for the eastern states. The western states divide between California and Oregon. The Midwestern states have a three part division. After the Vertical Third and the
Horizontal Division are in place (these are usually used for economic studies as well as sales-territories), you get the Geo-Political Slide which creates the different cultural regions.

The Geo-Political Slide is the effect of state and federal politics throughout history. The South* is a backward-L that starts on the eastern seaboard's lower half.  It slides around the southeast coner of the country until it meets the Southwest* somewhere in Texas. (Texas used to be its own country, and some of the born-and-raised-there think that is still the case) This means that the lower right hand 1/6 of the geographically mid-western
states are actually part of the South*. The lower left hand 1/6 of the (geographic) Midwestern states are part of the Southwest* (which kinda-sorta includes Southern California, but not really). The regional variations that make up the Midwest* starts at the top of Texas and make a lop-sided, V-shaped/U-shaped wedge that terminates at the lowest of the Great Lakes in the east and the Montana/Rocky Mountain/Canadian border in the west. That
leaves the East Coast* (which is pretty much analogous to it's geographic/economic shape) and the (Pacific) North West* which is basically Oregon and Washington State (with the extreme parts of northern California tacked on).

State boundaries are merely regional guidelines, not hard and fast borders. The territorial wars (which is why Missouri is half Southern and half Midwestern) carried a lot of culture/ideals back and forth.

Victoria (native of "Bleeding Kansas" and History fangrrl.)

* Regional names, all capitalization is deliberate.