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Iowa is in Two "American Nations," Which One Do You Live In?

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Courtesy of Colin Woodard
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Colin Woodard's 11 "American Nations"

Why do we classify states or regions as “red” or “blue”? How did certain areas of the country gain particular political reputations? 

Here in Iowa, considered a “purple” state by many, there is now a  congressional delegation of six Republicans and only one Democrat, and with Governor Terry Branstad winning 98 of 99 counties.

We need to understand our differences and where they come from if we want to understand what our political arguments are about. - Colin Woodard

 According to Colin Woodard, there’s a whole lot more to the conversation than red versus blue. He’s the author of the 2012 book “American Nations: A History of Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America,” and is speaking Tuesday, November 11, at 7 p.m. in Hubbell Hall in the Kent Campus Center at Simpson College as a part of the Wonder of Words Festival.

Woodard argues that there has never been one America, but several, and that political idealogies have roots in our cultural heritage, dating back to when the U.S. was first settled. This hour on River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Woodard about the long history of political partisanship in the U.S. and what we can take away from the elections last Tuesday. Richard Doak, retired columnist for the Des Moines Register and adjunct professor of history at Simpson College, also joins the show. 

This program originally aired on November 10, 2014.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer