By Nathan Barton
In a previous commentary, I discussed the FedGov acquiring Greenland from Denmark, much as (102 years ago) the FedGov bought the US Virgin Islands. While Greenland would almost certainly not be admitted to the Union (become a state), the VI (which has about 110,000 people, or about twice that of Greenland) has been content to be just a territory.
As I pointed out in the first article, none of these overseas territories are likely to ever be admitted to the Union, primarily because of population. Except for Puerto Rico (3.3 million), every other territory (even if Greenland were included) together barely come close to half a million people, including Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Marianas, and Wake. Many are uninhabited completely.
In order to get Congress to admit another state, there would have to be some strong political reasons and a whole lot of horse trading. This is hardly new: that has been the reason for many admissions. For example, Maine got its freedom from Massachusetts and became a state as part of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, to keep slave and free states balanced. Thirty years later, Texas’ admission (directly from independence) as a slave state was “balanced” by also admitting free California, and allowing popular sovereignty in territories carved out the Mexican cessions to decide their slavery status. (That was a messy compromise, but outside my discussion now. Note this map incorrectly shows New Mexico’s southern boundary. A big chunk (the Gadsden Purchase) was not acquired until 1854.)
West Virginia was split off by Lincoln to weaken rebellious Virginia, and Nevada admitted to also provide an even greater majority of loyal states in the Senate to counteract Democratic politicking in 1864 and after the War. Even after the War between the States, the admission of states was very political. For example, in 1889, Dakota was split into two states to ensure dependable Republican majorities in the Senate. New Mexico and Arizona, together or separately, were denied admission for almost seventy years for multiple partisan, political issues.
The old standard was that a territory or land with 60,000 or more people (not counting “Indians not taxed”) was eligible. Today, with the push for Democracy (and its worship), that will just not fly. Wyoming (population 583,000) is the smallest state (by population). It is unlikely that any nation or territory with less than a million would be admitted. Language is of course another factor: although Spanish might be acceptable today as well as (or even, by some preferred to) English, French or Portuguese or Icelandic is not likely to aid chances. But the real difference will be the so-called “political spectrum” of Conservative (“Republican”) to Liberal (“Democrat”) as currently defined.
Almost certainly, any modern admission would have to be of two States at nearly the same time: one “Conservative” and the other “Liberal” to balance each other. Theoretically, a “purple” State could be a singleton, or two purples as a package. But those political leanings would be purely perception and probably not reality. What is labeled a “conservative” in California, for example, is very different than a “conservative” in South Dakota, for example. But populations and perceptions shift, sometimes faster than other times.
That said, there are few “conservative” populations out there likely to be interested in getting admitted to the Union. This may be one reason that PR is nowhere close to getting the nod. Hispanics are reputed to be “liberal” – whether they are Puerto Rican, Mexican, or some kind of CentroAmericano. (The only exception is Cuban-Americans, and not those still in Cuba, as even the dissidents against the Communist Castro regime are probably “liberal” by most Yankees.)
There are other factors, as well. We (or rather, the FedGov) care little for the opinion of other nations. Still, the elections seeking to be added to the Fifty would have to be “free and open” or an incredibly good counterfeit. World opinion (and opinion of the One-Worlders in Congress) are likely to be incredibly negative.
In addition, there is probably enough sense left (uncommon as it might be) to not admit anyplace that is totally a basket case. Something with an indigenous terror (excuse me, insurgent/fundamentalist/liberation) problem. And something that is at least somewhat industrialized and with at least some natural resources. And a well-educated population (which, given the problems with mainline American education, isn’t too hard). It will have to be a country (or part thereof) that id up for it, but not TOO much. Or it will scare people off.
So, to be honest, I don’t think there is much chance of adding a few states.
Not unless things are really, really bad. As in end of civilization bad. Or near that: the breakdown of the international order and a situation so dire that it breaks the stalemate that otherwise exists in Congress.
Still, what (who) could be admitted to the Union? Purely speculative, now, consider:
- Mexico or at least Mexico’s northern States? Since Spanish is the second language of the Fifty States, language might not pose that much a barrier. Especially if the Mexican Federal Government collapses, as Mexico’s economic importance to the Fifty States grows. Adding seven to nine states is at least a possibility. Though in general a low one.
- Some or many of the independent nations (and even remaining colonies) in the Caribbean and Atlantic? A complete collapse of post-Fidel Cuban communism is one scenario. With 11 million + people. Jamaica has nearly 3 million, and speaks English. Expanding the US Virgin Islands to include many other English-speaking islands, even Bermuda and the Bahamas, as one or two states might be likely if things go bad in the UK.
- Most likely, however, will be the collapse of Canada and applications for admission by multiple Provinces. This I’ll discuss in a third installment of this long commentary, along with other possibilities.