The Midwest is a general term for the population and cultural center of the United States, in between the Northeast, the South and the West. The Midwest consists roughly of ten states bordering the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and Lake Michigan. Midwestern states include Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri. As a political unit, the conservative states of Arkansas, Kentucky, and even West Virginia could be included. Many farmers from Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Scandinavia settled in rural areas of the Midwest, thus Germanic influence is strong within several Midwestern states such as Wisconsin.
The Midwest founded and continues to lead the conservative movement, featuring a unique mixture of intellectual force and faith. The South tends to rely more on faith and the northeast more on liberal logic.
The Midwest is the breadbasket of the United States, not merely in food but also in innovation. The Midwest is the birthplace of the skyscraper and many other innovations that subsequently caught on nationwide. Its profitable auto industry, based in Detroit, sparked the race to construct the world's tallest skyscraper in New York City with the Midwestern Walter Chrysler competing against a former General Motors executive behind the Empire State Building.
Many of the greatest writers, painters, architects, and rock stars have come from the Midwest, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Frank Lloyd Wright, Grant Wood ("American Gothic"), Bob Dylan, Prince, and John Cougar Mellencamp ("This is where I fall into that Midwestern mindset. It’s not really an opportunity. You’re being used.”). Innovative American architecture nearly entirely originated as Midwest architecture.
Comedians from the Midwest have been particularly influential and popular, including Bob Hope (grew up in Ohio) and Johnny Carson (Iowa and Nebraska). More recently, comedians Melissa McCarthy and Cecily Strong are both from Illinois.
President Donald Trump's surprise victory in 2016 was due mostly to carrying Midwestern states previously won by Democrats, including Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Future presidential elections are likely to be won or lost in the Midwest.
Famous actors and actresses from the Midwest include Orson Welles (considered the most brilliant actor/director) Marlon Brando (dubbed the greatest movie actor ever), Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Charlton Heston (Illinois), Dean Martin (Steubenville, Ohio), Spencer Tracy (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Florence Henderson (Indiana, the matriarch Carol on The Brady Bunch), Jane Russell (Minnesota), and Harrison Ford (Illinois). Marilyn Monroe's mother was from a poor family in the Midwest.
Star athletes from the Midwest are too numerous to list, but include Gale Sayers (football, from Kansas), Roger Staubach (football, Ohio), Larry Bird (basketball, Indiana), LeBron James (basketball, Ohio), Roger Maris (Minnesota), and Jimmy Connors (tennis, from southern Illinois). The rising NFL quarterback star Joe Burrow was born in Iowa.
Companies and Think Tanks
Midwestern manufacturers the Phillips Manufacturing & Tower Company and the packaging firm Sixarp are two companies that filed a lawsuit, with the help of The Buckeye Institute, to challenge the Biden vaccine mandate in November 2021.
The Midwest generally has plentiful water, but even slight droughts can harm its agriculture. In 2022, the severe drought in the West has an impact on some regions of the Midwest, mostly Missouri and western Iowa.
Midwestern Democrats are more likely to stand against the pro-abortion position of the national Democrat Party. For example, in 2022 enough members of the DFL in the Minnesota House were pro-life to thwart attempts there by other DFL members to expand abortion.
Host of RNC
The Republican National Convention is often located in the Midwest:
New History of the Midwest
In November 2022, a new history of the Midwest in 1800-1900 was published to favorable reviews, although the book dwells too much on the issue of slavery. Jon K. Lauck's The Good Country: A History of the American Midwest, 1800–1900, is praised in the National Review. This new book is a welcome antidote to the distortions by Critical Race Theory that has infested the College Board Advanced Placement American history exam.