American Farmer (not published until 1782), he celebrated thernregional differentiation that since Winthrop’s day had manifestedrnitself in the English colonies. In the course of severalrngenerations, he noted, European immigrants had become “notrnonly Americans in general, but either Pennsylvanians, Virginians,rnor provincials under some other name. Whoever traversesrnthe continent must easily observe those strong differences,rnwhich will grow more evident in time,” he wrote. “The inhabitantsrnof Canada, Massachusetts, the middle provinces, thernsouthern ones, will be as different as their climates.” Crevecoeurrnparticularly exalted Pennsylvania and the middlernprovinces, where he perceived a society of small republicanrnfreeholders living well within a bountiful natural environment.rnThis society, “the most perfect now existing in the world,” hadrnflourished under the “indulgent laws” of the Crown’s inefficientrnand decentralized empire, fostering a de facto libertarianismrnin America that Crevecoeur greatly praised.rnThe country’s motto, ErnPluribus Umm (Tromrnmany, one’), captures well whatrnany map of historical geographyrnmight reveal—that ours has beenrna nation of regions.rnUnfortunately, when the British government attempted tornstrengthen its imperial administration in the 1760’s, it provokedrna revolution from colonial subjects who had grown accustomedrnto being but lightly governed. For Crevecoeur, however,rnwho was branded a Tory and had to flee the country, thernRevolution tragically destroyed the libertarian framework thatrnhad nurtured his beloved regional communities of independentrnrepublican farmers. Instead, the patriots unleashed thernforces of democratic mob rule, grasping commercialism, andrngovernment coercion. In his imagination, Crevecoeur fledrnwestward out of the lost exceptionalist promise of the newrnUnited States to dwell on the frontier among the Indians, whornin his eyes yet lived as free men in communal harmony with nature.rnCrevecoeur’s writings along with Winthrop’s exemplify thernrecurrent preoccupation of regionalists to preserve the socialrnfoundations of American exceptionalism from the dissolutionrnof modernizing change. The good society for them and for laterrnregionalists had certain common characteristics: it was communal,rnsymbiotic, agrarian, small-town, traditionalist, and selfgoverning.rnThis conception of the good society was sited in thernregion because the processes of social, political, and economicrndevelopment occurred unevenly in the United States, particulariyrnin the first half of the 19th century: some regions becamern”modern” faster and more thoroughly than others. Industrializationrnand urbanization took hold earliest in New England andrnthe Northeast, tied by railroads and canals to the markets andrnfarms of the interior Northern tier of states out to Iowa and Illinois.rnYet in the South, despite its commercially advanced staplerncrop agriculture, many aspects of older, traditional societyrnstill reigned, preserved by isolation and the conservatism necessaryrnto maintain white supremacy. In the plantation districts,rnslavery perpetuated social hierarchy and the ancient code ofrnhonor; in the backcountry, yeoman farmers still devoted themselvesrnprimarily to subsistence rather than the market, and hogsrnand catde roamed the free-range of the forests. Much the samernsituation was true of the Western frontier. There as in thernSouth, towns and cities were small and few, and the traditionalrnagrarian rights of squatting, subsistence, and commons outweighedrnmodern commercial prerogatives. From North tornSouth and East to West, the degree and pace of modernizationrnwere thus regionally differentiated. In the eyes of 19th- andrn20th-century regional defenders of the South and West, the socialrnbasis of exceptionalism had consequently retreated southwardrnand westward out from the decadent, class-stratified industrialrncapitals of the Northeast and into the virtuousrnprovinces, where the “real America” yet persisted.rnThe defense of traditional regional folkways against railroads,rnreformers, and robber barons—the agents of the new—underlayrna good deal of the cultural conflict within and between regionsrnthat marked the remainder of the 19th century. As thernremnants of Puritan culture disappeared from industrializingrnNew England by the 1850’s, the famed regional renaissance ofrnEmerson, Hawthorne, Melville, and Thoreau both reflectedrnand decried the secularism, materialism, and conformity thatrnwere displacing the old village life. More overtly, divergent andrnclashing regional identities came to the forefront of nationalrnpolitics during the sectional crises precipitating the Civil War.rnSouthern intellectuals such as William Gilmore Simms andrnGeorge Fitzhugh attacked the heartless and dehumanizing freernlabor economy of the North while proclaiming the moral andrnsocial superiority of the slave system. In his 1854 book Sociologyrnfor the South, Fitzhugh acknowledged the cultural gulfrnthat now divided the regions of America: the South “is as ignorantrnof free society as that society is of slavery. Each section seesrnone side of the subject alone.” To Fitzhugh’s way of thinkingrnand that of other pro-Southern advocates. Northern free societyrnwas based on the modern “evils of universal liberty and freerncompetition.” The South, in contrast, was built upon an organic,rnpaternalistic communalism. Northern free society—inrnthe acrid terms of sectional debate—was a “monstrous abortion,”rnwhile Southern slavery was a “healthy, beautiful and naturalrnbeing.” The rhetorical broadsides of Northern abolitionistsrnand free labor spokesmen, needless to say, mirrored and reversedrnthese social critiques. And the war came—misnamed byrnSoutherners the War Between the States. It was a war betweenrnregions, each fighting to perpetuate its vision of the good societyrnand thereby preserve American exceptionalism.rnIn the decades following the Civil War, sectional conflictrnagain erupted out of the regionally differentiated advance ofrnurban-industrialization. During the I870’s and I880’s, the destructionrnand debt caused by the war spread the cotton economyrninto the Southern backcountry, and along with it came tenancyrnand sharecropping. At the same time, the frontier closedrnin the Plains states. First the open-range Cattle Kingdom metrnits demise, and then the homesteader’s frontier filled-up. Soonrnenough the Plains farmers found themselves in a state of debtrn16/CHRONICLESrnrnrn