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.