What is the “optimal” number of U.S. States?

Map courtesy of Andrew Shears

Put differently, what would a map of the USA look like if all the secession movements in US history had succeeded? This beautiful map [*], created by Andrew Shears, a professor of geography at Mansfield University, provides one possible to answer to this question. Thanks to digg.com and Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post for this whimsical pointer.

[*] Note: The State of Colorado is still pretty much in one piece on this map because Professor Shears’ counterfactual map covers secession movements up to the end of 2011.

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