The Science of States

During the time I took Puerto Rican History class in high school, my teacher would always remind us that the imposition of the word “America” as a way to refer to the United States was wrong. He argued that America is a continent, not a country; therefore, it seems egocentric that we would adopt the name of a continent as if no other countries besides ours make it up. I always thought it was a valid point. But if we’re not America, then what exactly is the United States of America? Well, it’s just that. A bordering group of states sheltered under the umbrella of a democratic government. The definition of a state is a territory, nation, or organized political entity ruled by one unified government. Summarized: a state is any piece of land with some sort of authoritative figure.

Our country is made up of 51 federally dependent but locally independent states; each state has its own individual government, but shares a single federal government. Each of these local governments holds a certain amount of power over the federal government, making both bodies mutually dependent. However, what would happen if the one central government was abolished? Would each of the 51 states that compose our country be economically, socially, and politically stable enough to withstand the implications of being their own country? This is the science of states.

If we follow the steps of the scientific method, we will find ourselves at a standstill. Because there is no realistic way to scientifically test our theory of the states, we are stuck with our hypothesis. We could, however, apply this theory to scenarios where the government of the United States isn’t necessarily or directly involved- a smaller-scale situation. Let’s apply it to something we’re all familiar with: the Pennsylvania State University. Our university is split into 24 different campuses– much like our country is split into 51 states. Following this analogy, we could also think of the colleges that make up the campuses as the towns that make up a state. Now that we’ve drawn parallel lines, imagine that the collective entity that is Penn State dissolved and instead turned into separate academic institutions based on what were once campuses. Will these newly-formed institutions be stable enough to reach self-sufficiency?

I find this an interesting concept, seeing as something that does not necessarily have to do with biology, chemistry, or physics can still be considered science. One might even be able to apply the scientific method by creating a hypothesis (“Yes, if the federal government were to vanish, the states that make up the United States of America are stable enough to be their own countries” or the opposite). Carrying out an experiment would be very interesting, but it is highly unlikely that we will ever see it happen; the closest we can get is by applying different political science concepts and creating a model. Ultimately, I don’t think it can ever be proven; the actual testing of this statement would require the eradication of our government, and although some people would love to see it happen, it’s not the greatest idea.


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2 thoughts on “The Science of States

  1. Jeffrey Sherman

    While I found your blog applying actual science to political theory rather interesting, would it not be prudent to simply analyze other forms of Government in history in which unitary states made up the entirety of the country? The easiest example I can think of off the top of my head is the United States under the Articles of Confederation, where each State had one vote in legislative affairs. Under this system, States weren’t necessarily bound to the federal government and there was no figure of authority to force States to comply with law. Therefore, discrepancies in forms of currency began to occur and States even imposed trade embargo’s on other States. You can find more information about the United States under the Articles here – , but I think it would be quite interesting to see what would happen if States were left to their own laws and devices. I think we currently value the uniformity in law quite highly in the United States, and I personally believe the Federal Government is necessary in this day and age where laws transcend State lines. Interesting post though!

    1. Arianna L Del Valle Post author

      Hey Jeffrey, thanks for commenting! I’ve only recently started learning about more elaborate political analyses and theories. I think your point of view is very interesting and valid, and I definitely agree with you on the importance of the federal government. I’ll definitely be reading more into the rules and regulations of state embargos and similar subjects. I hope you enjoyed my post and I look forward to reading some of yours as well!

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