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In Search of Explanatory Models

In Search of Explanatory Models

(p.83) 4 In Search of Explanatory Models
American Capitals
Christian Montès
University of Chicago Press

This chapter draws on a diachronic perspective to identify explanatory models putting the processes of capitals’ selection in the larger framework of the American territorial construction. It thus explores the validity of the causes proposed by the literature. Seven “causal elements” are successively analyzed and hierarchized. They are interrogated after the elaboration of a first model based on chronology. The first causes to be analyzed are perceptions, which allow to study the relationships between Americans and their cities (Puritanism and distrust of cities, the small town ideal). The economic explanations will then be studied (the booster and the gateway models) addressing the question of the development delay of capitals. Lastly, politics, the most often quoted cause will be studied with geography through the notion of centrality (representation), because they are often linked.

Keywords:   Puritanism, Boosterism, Model, Gateway, Small town, Representation

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