Once in awhile people write to me to ask why I put Missouri on the Southern States list rather than the Midwestern States list. They have a point: Missouri is smack almost dab in the middle of the country, right in line with Kansas and Nebraska, which are listed as midwestern. Looking back, I think it was a mistake to place it where it was, but after seven years, if I change its location I’ll have a bunch of people writing to me to ask where Missouri’s listing went. I shall stick to well-established precedent, no matter how nonsensical it is.
Anyway, the reason why Missouri listed as a southern state is the fact that when I started this site, I was a freshman at a college in Arkansas. Many students came from Missouri. (In fact, I think the majority of the student population was from Arkansas, Texas or Missouri. Though they came from all over — there were one or two that I know of that were from Hawaii, my roommate Vanessa came from Connecticut, and the girls in the room across the hall were from California and Minnesota.) Most of the Missouri students came from the southern part of the state and considered themselves southerners rather than midwesterners. I suppose it was a cultural thing rather than a geographic thing.
This is hardly unique: Minnesota and Maine, for instance, are both as far north as Washington state or Montana, but I’ve never heard anyone call either of them a “northern state.” (In fact, a northern states listing doesn’t exist on Charley.) The Dakotas are in line with Minnesota but I listed them as western — though south Dakota kind of straddles the line in my opinion. I suppose a western state is defined as “both very far north and has lots of mountains.”
If my ex-friend Molly had had her way, Oklahoma would have been listed as a western state, in spite of its position right below the midwestern state of Kansas. She’s from Arkansas herself and claimed that any state that did not secede from the Union during the Civil War was not, technically, a southern state, no matter what its’ geographical location was. This would have knocked Kentucky off the list, and as far as I know most Kentuckyans consider themselves southerners. I’m glad I didn’t listen to her. Meanwhile, my still-a-friend Brad said states like Ohio, Michigan etc., and probably Kentucky too, were not from the Midwest, but rather from the “Old Northwest.” I’m glad I didn’t listen to him either. I doubt many Charley Project readers are all that familiar with, or care about, American geography in the 1700s and early 1800s.
I didn’t place territories in their own section because there aren’t very many of them, the are situated far apart from each other, and all of them (unless I’m mistaken) are situated south of the Mason-Dixon line. Of course, Alaska and Hawaii are in a class by themselves, really, but they are both very far west and not at all close to each other. I mean, we’e got Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands, and then the Northern Mariana Islands, which are about as far apart as you can get.
Anyway, that’s the answer to the Missouri question, if any of you are dying to know.