Is the Breakup of the United States imminent?

In his 1981 book, The Nine Nations of North America, Joel Garreau argues that, because of the vast differences between several parts of North America, the many national borders are irrelevant, and, that indeed, the United States and Canada are not just two nations, but nine nations.  In its time, the book was hailed as a classic text on the current regionalization of North America” by American intellectuals.

Garreau’s idea that borders are essentially artificial must be taken in the proper context; they are not to be used in a sentimental sense which would make them easily appropriated by people who advocate massive immigration between nations.  Quite the contrary, Garreau’s idea establishes the opposite: that in defiance of the widely-accepted idea of huge superstates encompassing many different peoples, a smaller and localized nationalism, maintaining the local character of the people is needed.

The nine hypothetical nations of North America, according to Garreau

Indeed, the borders of the United States and Canada are artificial, with even less historical justification than Russia’s dominion over Siberia or China’s over its various regions.  In the case of the latter, Russia permits certain areas to form autonomous republics, many of which have the limited right of nullification, or the right to enact legislation at odds with the federal constitution.  China allows some autonomy in its outer regions by designating them as “autonomous regions”.  The United States was formed by the westward expansion of the Federal Government, incorporating land formerly belonging to the Red Indians into the newly-formed nation.  The American system also differs considerably, with a bloated federal government which maintains a “one-size-fits-all” outlook on their authority.  In reality, then, the “United States” is just that: 50 sovereign states in a union and that union can dissolve just like the Soviet Union did.

Perhaps, the nature of the Americans, as noted by Francis Galton, is nearly a recipe in itself for disaster when combined with a tyrannical but incompetent government.  As Galton once said:

The North American people has been bred from the most restless and combative class of Europe. Whenever…a political or religious party has suffered defeat, its prominent members, whether they were the best, or only the noisiest, have been apt to emigrate to America…Every scheming knave, and every brutal ruffian, who feared the arm of the law, also turned his eyes in the same direction. Peasants and artisans, whose spirit rebelled against the tyranny of society and the monotony of their daily life, and men of a higher position, who chafed under conventional restraints, all yearned towards America. Thus the dispositions of the parents of the American people have been exceedingly varied, and usually extreme, but in one respect they almost universally agreed…They are enterprising, defiant, and touchy; impatient of authority; furious politicians; very tolerant of fraud and violence; possessing much high and generous spirit, and some true religious feeling, but strongly addicted to cant.

One of the major possibilities for the breakup is the ever-widening political divides between Americans.  A few Americans are opposed to the current Obama regime and favor limited government intervention in property rights, some Americans favor the status quo of continued wars and interventions which have gone on since the end of the Second World War, while yet others wish to use the current conditions to pass and uphold every sort of socialist legislation such as hate speech laws, gun laws, immigration laws, socialized medicine, social activism and secular humanism agendas in schools.  Such people also want to expand the authority of welfare state and turn it into a Freudo-Marxist secular regime, while increasing big brother/nanny state police powers and many other laws and regulations that subvert individual freedoms given under the Constitution of the United States.

The American economy is not in good shape.  In a society which is materialistic and in which people demand their bread and circuses, this translates into a decreasing trust in the American government’s abilities.  Reckless deficit spending has caused our federal government to amass a fourteen trillion dollar debt.  The American dollar has lost its value significantly in recent decades, fallen by 1000% since 1950.  In other words, goods which cost $10 to purchase in 1950 cost $1000 today.  With such crippling debt, excessive spending on wars and entitlement programs, the American economy cannot be sustained.  Those who depend on the government dole for their bread will also revolt against the government.

Desolation: The Future of America?

At some point in the not too distant future I surmise that a significant segment of the population will rebel against this government.  Another crack in the American dam is noted by Toynbee, the noted British historian, who noted that:

First the Dominant Minority attempts to hold by force – against all right and reason – a position of inherited privilege which it has ceased to merit; and then the Proletariat repays injustice with resentment, fear with hate, and violence with violence when it executes its acts of secession. Yet the whole movement ends in positive acts of creation – and this on the part of all the actors in the tragedy of disintegration. The Dominant Minority creates a universal state, the Internal Proletariat a universal church, and the External Proletariat a bevy of barbarian war-bands.

There exist today in America, in fact, many dominant minorities who are willingly subverting the interests of the United States for their own purposes.  Certainly, America is also fracturing along racial lines.  Even under the Obama regime, people of different ethnic groups are finding it difficult to co-exist, as evidenced by the rampant crime in American cities.  Latinos have come to dominate the American Southwest and display more loyalty to their Hispanic brethern across the border then they do to the United States.  Native Americans, perhaps the biggest victims of the Federal Government, also have a compelling case for secession, as does the former Confederacy.  The Catholic Knight points out that secessionist movements have already cropped up around the country.

What would a hypothetical re-drawn map of America look like?  On one extreme, it could resemble Europe during the Dark Ages: a vast continent composed of many small states and fiefdoms.  As the Union collapses, and states secede, different nations might arise, citing commonalities in their regional lifestyles.  For instance, the former Confederacy might form a single nation, while some West Coast states form another.  Some Canadian provinces might join with former U.S. states, but Quebec will certainly become its own nation.  The entire Southwest might be absorbed into Mexico, or certain Northern Mexican states may secede from Mexico and join the largely Hispanic Southwest.  Indian nations might also secede.  There is no telling how many nations America may be broken up into, and it is certainly possible that Garreau was rather kind in making his predictions.

Another proposal for what a Balkanized North America may look like (click to expand)

Those who are unlucky enough to witness this collapse will have to weather the initial storm of violence and social unrest before more stable and localized societies are formed.  Such an event may take a few generations.  Eventually, an equilibrium might be established, or these newly formed states could degenerate further into violent conflict.  If future generations are fortunate, a few centuries of peace and prosperity may arise out of these smaller nations, forcing people to return to a smaller ecological niche.  Unfortunately, history has been shown to be cyclical and not linear, and perhaps one day in the future, a new Union of North American states will be formed at the great expense of the people living there, thus initiating the cycle once more.

Translations of this article:

Русский: Распад США неизбежен?

About William van Nostrand

William van Nostrand is a native of Chicago, Illinois and is currently the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of He holds a B.A. in Economics as well as a minor in cultural anthropology. His interests are highly varied and include late medieval European architecture, German romantic classical music, and travel.
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  • Harry Johnson

    More wrong wing, CONservative sour grapes. Typical babies wahhh wahhhing, I didn’t get every single thing my way so I am going to throw all my toys and bust up everthing.

    You did not say this while the little spoiled frat boy bush junior and his evil master cheney were tearing up the Constitution and using it for toilet paper. You were doing handsprings and leading cheers when your hero, the senile reagan was letting the CIA and old connected money undermine our democracy and sell out our economy. Only now, when a black democrat is president, do you decide the world is about to end and we just cannot work out our differences.

    During the evil of the republiCON regimes of the last thirty years, you were quick with the we must all pull together and the people spoke in the election so everyone had to cave to your 2 cent programs and extremist nonsense. Now when the voters have spoken differently then by God we had just better break it all up so you can have your own way somewhere. And your little racist dig, with the tiny New Afrika on the map in Northern Alabama, East Tennessee is more than a bit over the top.

    Tell me now, once it has broken up this far, what will prevent it from breaking up further? In the old Confederacy, once things started to go south, so to speak, there were more states wanting to peel off. Of course they were not to blame for the failure it was the other guy. If they weren’t being dragged down by them then success was assured.

    No, if a country with all of the resources and talents of the United States cannot succeed, then neither can any of the pieces all working with far less.

    • William van Nostrand

      First of all, you don’t know what we were saying about Bush, because this site did not exist during the Bush era. Secondly, the problem is not one of partisan politics, it is a problem with the entire system. Obama’s presidency could very well turn out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, because he has not managed to keep his promises to the American people, despite all the hype that surrounded him when he was elected. Rather, some of his policies have indeed polarized Americans. Third, your assumptions are groundless and silly. I have never expressed any support for the Republican party on this site.

      Had you genuinely been interested in having a discussion, you would have realized that this, while some of the authors on this site are Christians, we are as critical of the self-designated “Christian Republican American Patriots” as they are of the liberals and the Democratic party. We fully condemn much of the decadent lifestyle of Americans, but we also have a deep respect for individuals like Malcolm X and the Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

      Obama is not exempt from criticism because he is a black democrat, as most liberals want to think. The people who criticize Obama are not necessarily racist. On war, Obama has been worse than Bush. In reality, none of the modern American “leaders” are good, whether they are closet socialists or defenders of finance-capital, because they all serve hedonistic, individualist anti-culture, of which America is the primary representative in the world today. The reality is that historically, both parties have been pro-war especially since the LBJ presidency.

      In a few words, America is the enemy of the American people and the world.

      • Ben Steinke

        Oh, here we go again with the “Jeanine Garofalo” theory—-anyone who criticizes Obama MUST be a Republican conservative bigot and racist. NOTHING, BUT NOTHING could possibly be further from the truth. In high school, during the first Bush presidency, and later during his son’s presidency, I was involved in many protests. Now, I can’t FIND a single anti-war protest ANYWHERE, and I think I know why—-the Obamabots don’t want to protest against Obama precisely because they don’t want to appear to their peers to be too “politically incorrect” by criticizing a black Democrat. They’ve been taught that criticizing people other than their fellow Caucasians is “bigotry”. Obama has wars going on just about everywhere, but the only things Democrats seem to protest against nowadays are Republican governers who don’t want collective bargaining rights for unions or against oil pipelines coming through the center of the U.S. But God forbid the ObamaBots should criticize THEIR MAN, who is (and Mr. von Norstrand is totally correct on this) a “ChickenHawk” who makes GWB look like a UC-Berkeley flower child.

        People like you, Harry, are like Thom Hartmann—-Republican conservatives and libertarians are terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad people who can never do ANYTHING right. BUT, Democrats are absolutely perfect, flawless, always moral, and never wrong about ANYTHING. This political party “Brand Loyalty” is what creates empty politics and empty minds.

    • Lenny

      You are a fascist and therefore you have not a clue on what you’re talking about. You are just typing words and not making any since. Have you ever looked in the mirror at yourself?

  • John

    Let it break up, and for that matter we should encourage such.

    Unlike the Von Nostrand fellow above who makes the specious claim that Obama hatred is the cause of these arguments, I’ll refer instead to the noted U.S. statesman George Keenan who argued back in the 1950’s that the country should be broken up into what would be more natural “nations” based on their distinct geographies, economic underpinnings, and yes, gasp, racial makeup.

    Fantasy aside, the history of the world is “tribal” and no amount of idiotic supposition that it isn’t cannot change that reality.Outside of the U.S. in particular, with Western European nations being a close second and then trailed by Australia (note the things the so-called “enlightened” have done to themselves?), no other nation or group thereof anywhere in the world has or does allow immigration. Try immigrating to China, Japan, Mexico, India or wherever and gaining actual citizenship. Not happening. And if one will note, outside of areas where colonial or imperial powers established borders, there exists a certain logic to those borders based upon ethnicity and religious belief. There was a moment here where such was generally the case, but no more. This is now nothing but an imperial construct instead of a “nation”, and its population an admixture reflecting the problems of when an Empire comes home.The “burden” as Kipling argued, is too much to bear.

    Sadly, this political entity, for a “nation” it no longer is and barely ever was, on top of being now racially Balkanized as a matter of (destructive)policy, has little or no philosophical or political congruence. What on God’s green earth does the ruling class in Washington D.C. and the monied elite in New York have in common with people in say Nebraska or Nevada? Effectively nothing. What does an urban African-American or one of those Hispanic-Americans cheering for Mexico’s soccer team while said team is playing against the U.S. team during the World Cup in L.A. have in common with someone in Kansas or Idaho, or for that matter Wisconsin, Minnesota or Missouri? Nothing. Nothing at all. Diversity is destructive and destroyed we have become.

    This “Union” was brought together at the point of a gun and remains “United” only because of the barrels of guns, period. Philosophical hogwash aside, it is time, past time according to Kennan and many others, for this failed monstrosity to come to an end. It is morally bankrupt, spiritually bankrupt, financially bankrupt, racially divided (see the above stupidity) to the point of constant inter-racial violence (mostly aimed against whites) and will become even more so. We can end this forced and now abusive “marriage” intelligently though deliberative conversation to determine an amicable separation or instead allow the sands of history to inevitably bury it, colored by the tides of blood on the way to its extinction.

    The “parts” no longer fit.

  • Shannon

    Since I live in the Southwest, northern Arizona to be exact, I am always fascinated by these maps showing the breakup of the United States, and the Southwest being exported into Mexico. I remember seeing a map created by a Russian author sharing the breakup of the United States based on ethnic lines. when the total collapse of the economy finally happens, many of the Mexicans and the Southwest will return back to Mexico. Why should they fight and die for regions of the United States, when the only reason they are in the United States is for work. If there is no work, they go back to Mexico, and in fact are going back to Mexico in large numbers even now.

    European Americans cannot go back to Europe, and when the economy crashes they will revert back to their farmer warrior profile of the past, and militarily drive out the Mexicans and take back their country. This process will be long and bloody and fierce, but the Mexicans will not stay and fight, this is not their true home in spite of the conjured Nationalist Mexican websites that claim all the southwest.

  • Mustafa H. E

    “More wrong wing, CONservative sour grapes. Typical babies wahhh wahhhing, I didn’t get every single thing my way so I am going to throw all my toys and bust up everthing.”

    Most American conservatives and Republicans would be against the break-up of the Union, despite Obama’s reign as president. Your political analysis is a bit off.

    “You did not say this while the little spoiled frat boy bush junior and his evil master cheney were tearing up the Constitution and using it for toilet paper.”

    I agree with you, George W. Bush sucked as a president and it will be a great day once Cheney dies from a fatal heart attack, but I’m still not going to excuse Barack Obama for doing essentially the same things the Bush Administration has done. When it comes time, both Bush and Obama should be held accountable and punished for their abuses. I am against both Republican and Democrat hypocrisy.

    “Only now, when a black democrat is president, do you decide the world is about to end and we just cannot work out our differences.”

    Funny, I don’t think the world’s going to end. In fact, I think nothing has really CHANGED since Obama replaced Bush. Our country is still in heavy debt, much of it to the red Chinese, we still have troops on foreign soil, even in Iraq and our relations with the Muslim world and the third world has not improved, and has infact taken a turn for the worse since Obama came to power. Obama is neither a messiah of Hope and Change, nor is he an anti-christ. But rather he is just a paper-tiger politician who talked a big game about changes and reformation as candidate, but became a servant to real powers to be when he became president.

    “During the evil of the republiCON regimes of the last thirty years, you were quick with the we must all pull together and the people spoke in the election so everyone had to cave to your 2 cent programs and extremist nonsense”

    Most of us here at “RidingtheTiger” do not like the Bush Administration’s abuse of power. We are larger critics of the national security state than most liberals. We are also critics of Bush’s neoconservative foreign policy, his misguided war in Iraq and his free trade economic policies. It is you who is being the hypocrite for supporting Obama’s war in Libya.

    “And your little racist dig, with the tiny New Afrika on the map in Northern Alabama, East Tennessee is more than a bit over the top.”

    If the blacks want to have their own country, they should. I actually find myself agreeing with Marcus Garvey, Harry Haywood and Malcom El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz moreso than circlejerks like Martin Luther King Jr.

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  • BJ

    Tell Me, What happens to the 2nd Amendment if these 9 Countries
    come into being? Will it cease? Not Good!

    • Trilby

      I hear it’s most likely going to stay alive in some of the states like Texas. I’m working on getting a new identity and then moving from Australia over to America, I don’t want to be disarmed when the poop hits the paddles.

  • crow

    I like it. It’s really the only scenario that makes much sense.
    As Liberal Boy so aptly makes clear: the left is just not a thing a reasonable person can live with. Nothing but sneering hatred there.
    So secession. Makes sense to me. Make sure to include a Leftopia, somewhere far off.
    I’d like to see Dixie whole again.
    And people among their own people.
    You’d think such a sentiment would be obvious. But it just isn’t.

  • DiMarco

    I cannot believe I have never been to this site before – GREAT site first off.

    Ok now to the article – I too have seen many theories of the socio-economic stratification many ‘thinkers’ define as the most likely outcome for what is described as new independent nation-states…based on the basic principles or common denominator of ‘Belief System’ and/or ethnicity aka cultural identity. Now as a new contributor I am in agreement with many of the above suppositions (not Harry’s btw) but I wanted to propose how technology would figure in your believed paradigm of this disintegration of this Union of States? Not to sound too X-files about it, but our level of technological knowledge is beyond what some can fathom. Would not technology allow people to live their lives together in perhaps a more technological comfortable world where of course differences in culture exist, but the common principle we all should respect is Liberty… there by eliminating some of the tensions (econ. especially) in the world that get further accentuated into violence and hatred of differences.

    Kind of vague – but I hope my point came across.

  • Steve

    When the USSR was Balkanized, I guess that was planned by Obama bashers too! Oh wait …Brzezinski was the one who took credit for that and he was on Obama’s team!

  • John

    @ Steve –

    The U.S.S.R. was balkanized far before Brzezinski came along – it was essentially loosely accomplished by the Tsars by annexing into the Russian Empire areas wholly populated by widdly different ethic groups and then enforced in a rather harsh fashion by the communists. The collapse of that empire made naked the falsity of false union and a more natural order emerged from the ashes.

    To the contrary, the “balkanization” of this country has happened by deliberate immigration policies promoted by a certain elite with a well documented purpose of destroying the WASP overculture to make “safe” the elites existence. “A house divided cannot stand” has meaning in real life. I would suggest you thoroughly read Professor Kevin McDonald’s “The Culture of Critique” to clarify your thinking on this matter. The work is available as a free download online. Any and all would be far better off for reading this prescient, peer-reviewed and incredibly well-footnoted work. Given the topic he dissects, perfection was not only warranted, but for Professor McDonald’s professional survival, it was demanded.

    • Mustafa H. E

      It is possible to claim and maintain an empire or a large nation that is ethnically and even religiously Balkanized. The Russians (both during the Tsarist and Soviet periods and to a more nominal extend in it’s current Federation), the Chinese (even well before their modern republican/communist period), the Ottomans, the Byzantines, the Abbasids, the Umayyad and the Romans all had or still have long lasting empires and nations that encompasses more than one ethnic group. It is because the leadership in those nations are smart and know how to manage a multi-ethnic country. Many of the aformentioned empires do not exist today not because multi-culturalism killed them, but because empires and countries, similarly to living organisms, usually have life and death cycles.

      What the US is suffering from is too from too much immigration and cultural Balkanization. Russia may have it’s Turkic populations and Rome had it’s German migrants (through a long part of it’s history, until it went out of control during it’s decline), but unlike the liberal west, those nations do not have liberal and permissive immigration and social policies that cause society to crumble.

      Although I will check out Prof. MacDonald’s book some day.

      • John

        The same diseases that caused those mentioned empires to collapse are the same that have infected us today, and being “smart” enough to run them has little or nothing to do with it. “All power flows from the barrel of a gun”, said Chairman Mao, and that is the reason the U.S exists as it does today.

        An absolute certainty is that these ancien’ regimes that you introduced as examples did not have the communication methodologies available to them which could be used by naturally disaffected ethno/religious groups to solidify their cause amongst fellow members. Nor did a political structure exist for them to forward their agendas at the obvious cost of the majority populations, let alone a media conglomeration that in seeming irony is sympathetic to their myriad causes. These factors are indisputably, “game changers.”

        “Smart” has nothing to do with it.

        Perhaps this quote from Marcus Tullius Cicero has some bearing on this matter:

        “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”

        Traitors they be and traitors they have always been.

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  • Doug

    We shall have peace and quiet in New Montaho, where everyone is armed and dangerous. Stay the hell out!

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  • Stijn Cleemput

    As i live in the Flanders region(you know it as belgium but we are 2 nations, the dutch flemish and the french walloons, glued together and we do not go along well), we here have an increasing hatred towards an european superstate wich models itself in a United States model. In all of europe our ‘leaders’ be they right wing , left wing, liberal, cristian,socialist,etc… try to force us in such a farce as the ‘United’ States. Learn your lessons from history, forcefully glueing people together don’t make a serene nation. I for one am suprised the states didn’t already brake up.
    Anyway what I am trying to say is, the european union is trying to model itself in an american fashion but there is one thing the eurocrats forgot. And that is the people of the european countries, in not a SINGLE country there is willingness to develop into such a mongrel state. We will not develop from a economical alliance into a actual superstate! Our benevolent leaders however in their ivory towers have, for some reason, not realised this. Oh well, if they continue on this path they will know.
    If we in the european continent will not submit to an almighthy superstate then, as our offspring, i see no reason why you should too.

  • RobertSF

    The American dollar has lost its value significantly in recent decades, fallen by 1000% since 1950. In other words, goods which cost $10 to purchase in 1950 cost $1000 today.

    Excellent article! It was very informative. I caught a minor typo — that $1,000 should be $100. But it’s a typo, not an error. Good work!