The Green Papers
The Green Papers
State and Local Government

Traditional Sections and Regions
of the several States
an Explanation

Fri 3 Aug 2001

(data page)




The Sections and regions (subsections) of the United States of America to which each of the 50 States of the Union- along with the District of Columbia (the sole incorporated Territory of the USofA currently in existence)- is assigned are those Sections and regions suggested by each State's own history and culture. These are considered by to be the best division of the Nation for purposes of analyzing sectional/regional trends in Federal and Statewide election returns data.

However, it should be noted that these Sections and regions differ, in at least some respects, from those which well dovetail with the various divisions of the country utilized over the years by the U.S. Census Bureau. For example, for decades, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia were often considered to be more part of the "Upper [Border]" region of the SOUTH than the "Mid-Atlantic" region of the NORTHEAST, as is the case here.

While most of the several States are- without any real argument whatsoever- clearly part of a given region, the delineation of sections and regions might be further modified even from that provided within TEXAS- for example- might very well be considered to be, with Arizona and New Mexico, part of a "Desert" or "Southwest" region of the WEST with the remaining "Intermountain" States then being considered a "Rocky Mountain" region of the WEST, etc. Some might even consider Texas to be, instead, a "Great Plains" State (assuming Oklahoma is also included in that same region); in many cases, within which region- or even Section (as Texas so well shows!)- a certain "borderline" State is placed is subject to no small interpretation by the beholder.

We at have- in both our tables dealing with Sectional and Regional Politics- tried our best to provide the user of our site with our most educated determination as to which States should be in which region (and, hence, Section) for purposes of political, as well as historical, analysis and this section.phtml table represents our most concerted effort to have done so. The user is, of course, free to disagree with our determination, should he or she wish to do so.


Metes & Bounds

The 13 original States of the Union (from north to south: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia), States which a.) once were part of any of the original 13 and b.) were not ceded to the United States for purposes of organization as Territories (these would be: Maine- once a portion of Massachusetts; Kentucky and West Virginia- both once part of Virginia; and Tennessee- once part of North Carolina) and three States that were, at least ostensibly, independent Republics prior to being annexed to the United States (these being- in historical order- Vermont, Texas and Hawaii) are all so-called "Metes & Bounds" States. Simply put, these are the 20 States which were not surveyed under the rectangular Public Land Survey system of the Federal Government (though portions of some "Metes & Bounds" States may contain one-time public lands which were surveyed in rectangular surveys commissioned by the given State itself).

The term "metes and bounds" (a "mete" is a limiting mark on the ground- marked by a stake or post [or, prehaps, marked on a recognizable object- such as a rock or a tree], the "bound" being a line drawn between any two such "metes") simply refers to the fact that the limits of land in these "Metes & Bounds" States are- more likely than not- drawn without any reference to a more systematic division of the land, as would be that resulting from a rectangular survey. The District of Columbia- currently containing land that once was part of the State of Maryland- is, by definition, a 21st "Metes & Bounds" jurisdiction.

Public Domain

The remaining 30 States of the Union which are not "Metes & Bounds" states are the so-called "Public Domain" States which were authorized by Congress to be entirely surveyed under the Public Land Survey system of 6-mile-square "Townships", each divided into 36 1-mile-square (640 acre) "sections", themselves subdivided into "lots" ranging in size from 160 acres (a "quarter-section") down to 10 acres (a "quarter-quarter-quarter-section") in the initial division of land under the uniform surveying system first authorized by the Confederation Congress' Land Act of 1785 and supplemented by the Federal Congress' Land Act of 1796.

State and Local Government Outline

Created Fri 3 Aug 2001. Modified .