We’ve Always Been A Divided United States


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You could say all 50 states are in something of a long-distance relationship, and it’s long past the honeymoon phase. But if we’re so divided, should we just break up already?

Whether it’s political disarray, an ever-changing spectrum of state laws or social unrest, some may feel like the United States is more divided than ever. But, history shows that our country’s actually been divided from the start. Host Kai Wright talks with author Richard Kreitner about his book, Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union. They discuss the history of American secession movements and what’s still keeping us together.

Companion listening for this episode:

Can America Be Redeemed? (7/05/2021)

Eddie Glaude and Imani Perry consider the question through the work of James Baldwin and Richard Wright. Plus: How our country could enter a period of “post-traumatic growth.”

This episode was was originally published as “The Myth of A ‘United’ States” on November 22, 2021. Listen to more episodes here.

“Notes from America” airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on notesfromamerica.org or on WNYC’s YouTube channel.

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256 episodes