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Debate: PatrickGarrow17 vs. Hefficide: New York is the most influential state in the US

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posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 10:08 PM
This thread will be a debate between myself and Hefficide in which I will argue in favor of the statement:

New York is the most influential state in the US

Thank you ATS for hosting this discussion, Heff for agreeing to the match, and all who spend time reading here.

When America was founded, it was the Federalist faction of political theorists that ultimately won the debate as to how the new country would function. This side was anchored in NY, championed by Alexander Hamilton more than any else.

New York had a strong financial and business history from it's beginning. The state was founded as New Netherlands at a time when the Dutch were in a Golden Age and had the most dynamic stock exchange in Europe, located in Amsterdam.

New York became a British state in the late 1600's, and continued to grow it's Dutch rooted economy along with the British Monarchy.

New York State was a center of business, thought, and culture in early America and remains so today.

Upon the founding of America, Hamilton and his associates founded the Bank of New York and advocated for a national bank. From there New York evolved into the financial center of the world.

6 of the top 10 holding companies in America are headquarted in New York City. No other city in America has 2.

Besides financing the majority of the country, New York became a center of popular culture in the 1800's and remains so today. From the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine to Time Warner Cable.

Financing and media are probably New York's most influential sectors- and through these it influences government disproportional to electoral votes.

But there have historically been successful businesses in nearly every other sector. Albany was one of the nations top producers of timber, alcohol, and printing among other things in the early 1800's.

Upstate New York has consistently been on the cutting edge of technology and engineering. The Erie Canal was a revolutionary project in the 1800's. New York was on the forefront of building railways and the accompanying technology such as steam engines.

Then in the 20th century General Electric, AT&T, and IBM were all started in New York and remain in the state to this day.

The Empire State, a fitting name.

Livingston, Van Renssalear, Hamilton, Vanderbilt, Astor, Rockefeller, Morgan, Edison, Roosevelt....

These are some families with connections to Dutch Colonial New York.

Maybe if a reader isn't well versed in early history some of these names are unfamiliar. The first listed refers to Phillip Livingston- who was a wealthy landowner in colonial New York, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and an ancestor of the Bush Presidents!.

By my reading of history, the aristocracy of New York state has been playing a bigger role than any in influencing American policy since the get-go, and it might be argued that the companies operating out of New York State make it the most influential province/district globally.

posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 03:29 PM
I would like to begin by thanking my opponent and the Fighters of ATS for all that they do in this forum! It is always an honor to engage in these debates. So thank you all.

Is New York The Most Influential State?

In order to address this question one has to step back and ask themselves just what the word "influence" truly means. There are so many nuanced interpretations, both good and bad, that can be inferred from this single word.

Is influence a cultural phenomenon? If so then an argument can be made that many other places might well qualify as "most influential". Historically Philadelphia factors into our early history as much, or more than New York - as well as the fact that Virginia seemed to be the real political hotbed for a large portion of our formative history. Later, as our nation began westward expansion, one might argue that there was more of a cultural influence from west to east, than from east to west. Later still, and into our own age - well if there is a cultural Mecca to be named, surely it would be Hollywood and not NYC. While it is true that NYC once held the title of most culturally influential, I think that the torch has now been passed west, a product of our nations expansion.

If we think of influence as a measure of power and wealth then my job becomes a bit more difficult, but not impossible. While NYC is home to the banking industry, the stock market, and a myriad of businesses, it is Silicon Valley, in California, where one might argue that real innovation lay. Silicon Valley is certainly where the most billionaires choose to reside. One might also look to the states the states of Texas and Alaska, both oil rich and influential in their own ways... Alaska increasingly so with each passing year. Where, once, NYC was the home of the money, increasingly one might suggest that it serves only as a temporary conduit these days - where money from elsewhere passes through as it journeys to the farther points on the globe.

Where NYC might well have an advantage of influence is in perception. The perception of people the world over. New York City is the American Paris, London, Beijing, and Moscow... it is the one city, I believe, that most people, from an international point of view, will imagine when they hear the words "United States of America". Even as a lifelong citizen of this great country, if I close my eyes and try to manifest images that I feel to be patriotic, most of the pictures that my mind produces are inherent to NYC. Lady LIberty, The Twin Towers, The Empire State Building... all quintessential American icons. For the record, since I am a bit of a rebel, I must also throw CBGB's into this mix. What could possibly be more American than an underground club where so much great American music came into being? Yet, even as I find myself wanting to yield on this particular point in the argument, my instincts kick in and I find myself having to accept that one of the major reasons that these iconic American images are burned so fully into my psyche is because... well...

Because Hollywood planned it that way.

This leaves me having to split my vote between NYC and California. It also leaves California in the lead by my scorecard.

A brief foray into history is required to understand why NYC became such a central fixture in the worlds psyche. The answer to that is relatively simple. NYC was the port of choice for those wishing to come to the US in the days previous to air travel. Lady Liberty famously said "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." and then she watched as those who heeded her call filtered through Ellis Island - in her very shadow... and into NYC. Thus NYC always held a special place in the hearts and minds of those immigrating to our great nation. It was their first taste of the USA - and for many, their permanent home. They needed look no further as they'd found their freedom with their first steps upon our soil.

This is a powerful thing to be sure. But can we think of sentiment as influence? A question worth asking.

This is also why NYC became a major business center. As the port of first call it was just convenient to those with International interests - to banks, manufacturers, and speculators.

With the advent of modern travel and communications, however, this advantage has been completely nullified.

Looking at all that I have researched and read in preparation for this debate, I am left with a single conclusion. For a period of time, certainly NYC was the center of American business and, therefore, influence in this country. But all modern indicators lead me to a single conclusion...

California, between Hollywood and the SF area have taken the title in the modern world.

posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 10:43 PM
In response to the argument that California is more influential than New York, I will once again frame my position from a historical standpoint.

In the internet/tech age, California has been a leader in innovation. But, like nearly many major events in the history of America there are distinct historical roots connecting back to New York State.

The rise of Silicon Valley has been intertwined with the superior research programs of Stanford University.

In 1939, with the encouragement of their professor and mentor, Frederick Terman, Stanford alumni David Packard and William Hewlett established a little electronics company in a Palo Alto garage. That garage would later be dubbed "the Birthplace of Silicon Valley."

The founder of the University, Leland Stanford was born into a family that settled in New York's Capital Region in the 1700's. Stanford was born in Watervilet, a town a few miles north of Albany. His brother Charles was a New York State Senator.

Stanford University, a primary driver of the California tech boom, was started by a son of a New York colonial family.

California's historical roots being intertwined with New York is a theme throughout history, particularly in Northern California where much of the technology development has taken place. This is the result from the fur tycoons that originated in Albany hunting beaver populations to near extinction and continuously moving westward. John Jacob Astor, one of the wealthiest Americans ever, is a prime example of this. His fur company was headquartered in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but his New York roots remained firm as he became a major real estate mogul in Manhattan later in life.

Essentially, the Northern portion of what is now the United States was "Americanized" by business people with roots in the original company associated with Fort Orange. It is my position that these roots remained firm throughout the course of history and that many families of influence moving west from New York are in fact agents of the same families that originally controlled the empire state.

For example: Cincinnati, Ohio was named for Alexander Hamilton's Society of Cincinnati. Hamilton was married to the daughter of a descendant from the first mayor of Albany, Pieter Schuyler.

This is a pattern in many states, and in fact much of the land in the states across northern America came to be controlled by associates of the fur trading companies. It was also these companies that had probably the strongest alliances with the Native Americans in the country, which proved to be a key advantage when it came time to expand America from the original 13 colonies to what we have now.

A clear expression of the New York influence expanding across the country is US Route 20.

U.S. Route 20 (US 20) is an east–west United States highway. The "0" in its route number indicates that US 20 is a coast-to-coast route. Spanning 3,365 miles (5,415 km), it is the longest road in the United States[

Route 20 begins on the east coast in Boston, and goes west to Albany, NY. It then continues all the way to the Pacific where it's last major junction is in Albany, Oregon. The Oregon city is named after the New York Capital because the pioneers who first made the journey across the country were from New York.

Why is all of this relevant?

To understand the influence of New York state it is important to understand the deep roots of power exerted by New Yorkers on America throughout our entire history.

To return to the excerpt from Stanford's website and further highlight New York's influence in creating the California we see today, it is noteworthy that David Packard worked for General Electric in Schenectady, New York before co-founding HP in California. Hewlett was born in Michigan, and as I've noted there are deep connections between New York and Michigan as well.

These are not irrelevant facts, these are important as historical background in understanding that New York State has been driving the development of California.

A more current and easier argument is to point out that most of these major technology companies operating out of California are corporations with shares being traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. The historical parallel is the New York media and financial complex's involvement in promoting and profiting from the Gold Rush in the 1800's.

On August 19, 1848, the New York Herald was the first major newspaper on the East Coast to report the discovery of gold.

With regard to Hollywood as a superior cultural influence to anything in New York, I will argue in my next post that it too has NY roots.

posted on May, 1 2013 @ 08:36 AM
( Apologies all, for the long pause in this debate - real life can be a heck of a thing sometimes. So mea culpa to all )

As we wind through this debate the word "influence" and its' context factor heavily for me. From a historical perspective I can easily agree that the Big Apple, NY NY certainly is a monolith of Americana. Then again, I can go even deeper and argue that Virginia probably holds more sway as a genesis point for the abstract ideal that we tend to perceive as "American". Moreover, I can then trace that ideal back to places like London, England, Amersterdam in the Netherlands, Holland, Wittenberg, Florence, Rome... and the list goes on and on back until few clues remain. The saying that "We stand on the shoulders of giants" is a truism... and New York city is certainly a giant.

Still... as we press on, I find myself wishing to understand what shoulders the world will be standing on when my grandchildren are adults. As I ponder that question, the answer is crystal clear to me... it is surely California - for better or for worse.

Right now it is easy to look at California and to marginalize it. After all, it is a state in much worse shape than most others. The social problems there have come to a head and they are buckling under the pressure. However I do not see this as a marginalizing factor at all. I was a resident of California during the 1980's and very clearly remember that, after I moved east, it took years for my new home to catch up to the trends that I had been exposed to in Cali. Given this reference my conclusion is that, at some not too distant point in the future, the balance will tip and the rest of America will be in the same dire straights that California is now suffering under, and we will all be looking to their example for ways to get past it. I predict that California, soon, will be the most functional state in the Union, and not the least functional. They are simply ahead of the curve and are going through the crucible before the rest of us.

If this isn't the very definition of "influential" - then I do not know what is.

This is not to say that I totally admire the influence that California has upon us. To the contrary - much of that influence I feel is negative. Thanks to Hollywood we have nearly an entire planet that possesses unrealistic expectations of beauty and wealth. Hollywood feeds us a steady stream of idealism that is culturally damaging and morally bankrupt. In movies even the ugly people are gorgeous and even the poor people are well fed. I personally long for a world where the poor are all well fed... the sin is that, thanks to Hollywood, we have a tendency to simply assume that they are. After all... on TV and in movies, hunger is never an issue. Thanks to Hollywood we think nobody should settle for less than a "10" when seeking a spouse and that beauty is a quality of the external only... and not a reflection of the person beneath the skin.

New York is not innocent in this regard... but they are not the tip of the spear. Hollywood certainly is. The formula is base and simple. Invent the lie in Hollywood and commit it to film, hire Madison Ave ( NY ) to sell it and to handle the banking, then task Beijing with manufacturing the accessories. I could even argue that Arkansas is as big a player in the game as New York is today... as Madison Ave is pointless without Wal Marts around to conveniently provide the products that New York markets.

The direct chain of custody in the above is simple and plain to see. The action comes from the west coast, the reaction from the east. Thus it is California that exerts the influence.

Even the above dynamic is currently changing. For example, Toronto may well become the future home of cultural influence. Many media companies consider Toronto to be a darling and a preferred home for their media operations. My own home of Atlanta is another contender, though to a lesser degree. And tech? Tech may well be moving away from California and off to far more exotic reaches, such as Bombay or Beijing. Having said that, the influence still is not returning to New York. New York. in a modern context, is more like the warehouse - not the point of genesis or manufacture. The role of New York is important, to be sure... but is now, and for the foreseeable future, secondary in nature and lacking in influence.

As an American, obviously I have great love for New York city. It is an icon. As a film lover, I cannot separate myself from that city and the geniuses that it has given us... names like Scorsese and Allen. But even in their cases... they had to follow the advice of Alger and go west to find their vehicle of influence.

Sadly, the days of Gotham holding sway, while romantic in scope, have passed. We live in a global world now where NY is no longer THE place... but, rather, one of the places. It has lost its' mojo.

posted on Aug, 10 2013 @ 09:39 PM
To all who have read this debate, to those involved in the forum, and to my opponent I apologize for not responding in a timely manner.

New York is the most influential state in America.

When comparing the Empire State's reach with others, it is important to note the historical depth of the influence. California and the West were not even a part of America for decades after New York was a member of the 13 original states.

This is important because the Westward expansion was spawned out of the initial Union of America. As the heart of the country's financial industry, New York was particularly important in the building of California. California is today an influential state of the US in large part thanks to New York.

Holywood's influence is the center of my opponents argument and the film industry can also be linked to New York. Thomas Edison and his film company revolutionized motion pictures and he, of course, was partnered with JP Morgan. New York has always been a major center of writing and theater (Broadway), and these are the precursors to Hollywood.

Movie studios like Warner Borthers, Universal, and 21st Century Fox can serve as a symbol of my argument. Headquartered in California, sure, but ultimately a subsidiary of NY media companies- Time Warner, NBC, NewsCorp.

All in all, when looking at media and entertainment it is NY that reigns supreme. Major TV networks, record labels, and news outlets can all be found in higher numbers than anywhere else.

California is certainly a rival in this sector, as well as technology. In the tech world, California probably is the most influential but once again it's greatness is built on foundations that started in NY with GE, AT&T, and IBM.

And even with these strong points for California, can they really be enough to overcome the financial influence in New York when making a comprehensive comparison?

There can be no argument against Wall Street's dominance in business and the New York Stock Exchange as the nervous system of our economic body. My opponent has stated that this is a declining or illusionary influence, but I would disagree. The financial sector has grown rapidly in recent decades. Our economy is built on loans and credit from the individual level to the corporate. And, for the major corporations the stock price is priority number one.

As my opponent has questioned the impact of California in terms of positive/negative, it is easy to do the same for that of the financial sector of NY. Should our economy really be built around mega-banks and investment houses? Probably not, but it is.

Hollywood's influence is out in the open compared with Wall Street's shadowy hold on America. Politics is poisoned by lobbying and campaign contributions coming from the bottomless checkbook of NY big business. Every person who might be considered in the "elite" class of America likely is directly financially connected to the NYC business complex.

In conclusion, I'd like to examine the general direction of America as an exercise in pointing out which factions are prevailing in creating the future.

America is trending toward social liberalism and accepting an expanding federal government as the mechanism to achieve this. The ironic part of an argument between California and NY for most influential is the fact that these are solid blue, liberal states- generally speaking. Hollywood is notoriously liberal, and New York is the classic democratic machine state that produced the progressiveness of both Roosevelt presidents.

The fact of America trending this direction, especially when looking at the big picture of the last 100 years, is what I believe eliminates Texas from the argument of most influential state. America at large is just not accepting the Texas paradigm of governance, but choosing instead the NY or California version.

California and New York having a similar style of influence brings me right back to my theme that California was in many ways conceptualized and built by the NY establishment. This is an aspect of my argument that I hope readers and judges consider, that the initial federalist progressive New York vision of governance is what has driven America since it's founding to this very day. New York media has consistently been progressive when compared to the national and the state government continues to try and lead the nation. In February, NYS once again attempted to bring the nation to their vision with sweeping reforms on gun laws.

Combined with the power carried by the banking and financial industry, the historical political ideology of New York and it's consistent impact on national policy makes it the most influential state in America.

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