chapter  Chapter 8
47 Pages

Variations in State Political Cultures and Their Political Meaning

WithDaniel J. Elazar

Understanding political cultural differences is particularly useful because of what they reveal about the differences in meaning of apparently similar actions that occur in states and civil communities across the nation. Minnesota stands in great contrast to Illinois in almost every respect. The Minnesota political culture also allows and even encourages local communities to extend their control over matters involving public morality. Another central feature of Minnesota’s political culture is its implicit acceptance of the legitimacy of politics. Colorado’s primary urban political problems are not those of Illinois—achievement of urban reform to eliminate political corruption, the “two cities,” or governmental lethargy. Iowa presents a public image of internal homogeneity and overall stability unexcelled among the other states of the Union. The bundle of values colloquially known as “good government” represents the essence of the political culture of Wisconsin, a state with a national reputation for “good government” and progressivism for better than two generations.