Die Welt: Nationhood Lab director on the challenges to U.S. nationhood

The Pell Center’s Colin Woodard talked at length with the German daily’s U.S. correspondent about the implications of the U.S. having always been a Balkanized federation of rival regional cultures

Nationhood Lab Director Colin Woodard, a historian of the U.S. regionalism and nationhood development, recently spoke with Die Welt, one of Germany’s leading national daily newspapers, about the crisis of U.S. nationhood and the Balkanized nature of the federation, which is composed of rival regional cultures.

The interview, which was published this past week, appeared under the headline “Die USA ähneln mehr Jugoslawien als einer Nation wie Preußen” or “The U.S. is more like Yugoslavia than a nation-state like Prussia.” In it Woodard discussed the ideas he laid out in American Nations, American Character, and Union and the work of Nationhood Lab, the project he leads at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy.

After the victory at the Battle of Yorktown, Woodard told Die Welt‘s New York correspondent Hannes Stein, people from the thirteen rebellious colonies “found themselves together in an entity called ‘the United States,’ but no one knew exactly what that was. An alliance like NATO? A union like the EU? Or a nation state like post-revolutionary France?”

Die Welt, founded in Hamburg by British occupation forces in 1946, is owned by the Axel Springer group, which recently purchased POLITICO. It has a print circulation of about 180,000.

Nationhood Lab, a project at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, delivers more effective tools with which to describe and defend the American liberal democratic tradition and better understand the forces undermining it.