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View Poll Results: Which is the Midwest more alike culturally, historically, functionally?
New England/Middle Atlatnic 22 44.90%
Great Plains 27 55.10%
Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
Old 05-12-2014, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Chicago
6,359 posts, read 7,928,038 times
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I'm going to ask a question about 3 regions, so I want to define what they are before I ask:

Midwest: Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio
(I left off any states that had a lineage as a slave state)

Great Plains: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma

New England/Mid-Atlantic: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, DC (I realize the last three have slavery roots, but I included them because they are culturally so much a part of the northeast corridor)

So here's what I'm thinking:

We know the Midwest and the Great Plains make up the North Central states. They are interior, not coastal, and both regions have a strong agricultural root and share a sense of the American heartland.

Yet the Midwest is highly urbanized and was the center of American industry which the Plains are not. The Midwest attracted a far wider range of peoples immigrating to America. And the Midwest got joined to the northeast by way of the Erie Canal/Great Lakes.

So, if you were to look at these regions from a historical and cultural and functional perspective and to see them as they really are today…


Would you consider the Midwest to have more in common with the Northeast (N. Eng/Mid-Atl) or the Great Plains?
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Indiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post

New England/Mid-Atlantic: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, DC (I realize the last three have slavery roots, but I included them because they are culturally so much a part of the northeast corridor)
Instead of answering your question right away, I'm going to ask one of my own. Why would you include slave holding states in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region but, leave Missouri out of the Midwest? One of the most historically significant states in the Midwest and you leave it out? Every state in these regions offers something different to the discussion, I'd include them all.
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:41 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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You need a third option: None of the above.

What's the point of this thread, anyway?
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:23 AM
 
Location: Paris
1,754 posts, read 2,404,573 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chadro77 View Post
Instead of answering your question right away, I'm going to ask one of my own. Why would you include slave holding states in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region but, leave Missouri out of the Midwest? One of the most historically significant states in the Midwest and you leave it out? Every state in these regions offers something different to the discussion, I'd include them all.
+1


As for the OP, I know you gave your definitions in your posts, but the "plains" states are in the Midwest. You can break it down further into the Great Lakes region and Plains if you want, or upper/lower Midwest; I guess I just find all the confusion about what is the Midwest really odd...

So then, is it question of the Great Lakes Region being more like the Plains or NE?
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:01 AM
 
Location: OKIE-Ville
5,514 posts, read 8,735,564 times
Reputation: 3216
Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
I'm going to ask a question about 3 regions, so I want to define what they are before I ask:

Midwest: Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio
(I left off any states that had a lineage as a slave state)

Great Plains: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma

New England/Mid-Atlantic: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, DC (I realize the last three have slavery roots, but I included them because they are culturally so much a part of the northeast corridor)

So here's what I'm thinking:

We know the Midwest and the Great Plains make up the North Central states. They are interior, not coastal, and both regions have a strong agricultural root and share a sense of the American heartland.

Yet the Midwest is highly urbanized and was the center of American industry which the Plains are not. The Midwest attracted a far wider range of peoples immigrating to America. And the Midwest got joined to the northeast by way of the Erie Canal/Great Lakes.

So, if you were to look at these regions from a historical and cultural and functional perspective and to see them as they really are today…


Would you consider the Midwest to have more in common with the Northeast (N. Eng/Mid-Atl) or the Great Plains?
Sorry, but Oklahoma generally is not listed with these states because of cultural distinctives. There might be some topographical continuity between the Central Plains (Kansas and above) with the Southern Plains (parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas), but that's where the continuity ends.

Culturally, Oklahoma has little similarity with the aforementioned Midwest states; and, it's history is much different given not only the Native populations but also the vast influx of Southern settlers which have influenced the overall culture of the state the most.

EDIT:
Again, like some of the other posters, your question raises more questions: Are you speaking of cultural commonality? Are you speaking of the land mass and strictly topographical traits? What comparisons are you drawing? These are all questions/insights that put more "teeth" on your original question.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:11 AM
 
Location: OKIE-Ville
5,514 posts, read 8,735,564 times
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Okay.

I read your OP again.

Here's my thinking:

1) From a historical/functional perspective the Midwest is more akin to the Northeast.

2) From a cultural perspective (excluding Oklahoma from the states you've listed as it is more Southern overall in its cultural orientation) the Great Plains are an entity unto themselves with some tie-ins here and there to the other Midwest states. Hence, the Midwest states (if we're going to bifurcate the Northern Plains states from the Midwest states) are probably more akin to the Northeast as well. This would certainly be true of cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Lansing, and to a lesser extent Indianapolis.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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As I've said numerous times in the past, in the northern U.S. the cultural boundaries run north to south, not east to west, due to the direction migrants traveled. Hence the Upper Midwest (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and extreme northern Illinois and Ohio - everything which touches the Great Lakes) is similar to New England and Upstate New York, whereas the lower Midwest (South-Central Ohio, most of Indiana, South/Central Illinois, and Missouri) are more similar to Pennsylvania.

The plains show a similar gradation. There are similarities due to the landscape and agricultural history, but North Dakota (particularly in the east) is a lot like Minnesota and not much like Kansas, while Kansas is a lot like most of Missouri.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,812 posts, read 5,263,481 times
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It's a difficult one to answer because really you left out a good chunk of the Midwest- South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska ARE in the Midwest- they are just as much a part of the Midwest as those other states you mentioned. I am from that area, and they refer to themselves 100% as "The Midwest"- and every business advertises themselves as "The Midwest's best..." or "The first in the Midwest to offer...", "Your Midwest Ford/Chevy dealer", etc.
So they are the Midwest- states like Ohio are just the far east end of the Midwest, whereas the Dakotas, Kansas, Nebraska are the far west end of it.
Sometimes I hear people on TV only consider that east end of the Midwest as "The Midwest", when it is no "more" Midwest than the other states mentioned. That always seemed odd to me.

As far as differences, I don't think there is much of any difference besides the western part having fewer trees and fewer big cities. The western halves of the western states have a drier climate as well and as a result you'll see different crops there and a lot of irrigation. But the eastern parts of those states, around areas such as Sioux Falls, Omaha, Lincoln, Kansas City, etc- it is a lush green, steamy, humid sea of corn fields just as it is over in places like Ohio.

Last edited by jm31828; 05-13-2014 at 09:36 AM..
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
1,314 posts, read 1,992,184 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
the Upper Midwest (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and extreme northern Illinois and Ohio - everything which touches the Great Lakes) is similar to New England and Upstate New York, whereas the lower Midwest (South-Central Ohio, most of Indiana, South/Central Illinois, and Missouri) are more similar to Pennsylvania.
This is the closest to reality I've seen so far. Ultimately, the real answer is that both Nebraska and Vermont are very different from Wisconsin, perhaps equally so. Though I pesonally feel more connected to the NE than I do the middle/southern plains, regardless of whether NE is a closer drive or not.
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:11 PM
 
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St. Louis is arguably the most eastern looking/feeling/historically connected city in the Midwest.
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