The definition of political boundaries is often a complicated process. The majority of the borders today are hard to explain how they came to be the way they are. However, in cases of well-documented formation of borders such as is the case with the states of the US their appearance is easy to explain. The US is one of the many countries with straight lines forming at least one of their borders. This characteristic also features in its states. Out of the fifty states, all but Hawaii have at least one straight line forming part of their borders.
Definition of Borders
The Hawaiian borders are the only state boundaries in the US that are entirely defined by natural features. The borders of this state are its shores with the Pacific Ocean. All other American states have a mix of naturally defined boundaries and human-made borders. A majority of the states in the eastern end of the US have their borders primarily defined by natural features. The western states tend to have predominantly man-defined borders. The original 13 colonies vary greatly in both size and shape. This situation led to the initiative suggested by Thomas Jefferson that would bring about some form of equality and pattern to the borders.
Latitudes and Longitude Coordinates
Jefferson proposed to Congress to create all future states to be equal in size based on their latitude and longitude coordinates. He made propositions of what the states in the Northwest Territory should appear. In as much as Congress did not adopt his idea when creating the borders of the northwestern states; they created states that were almost similar in size and shape in the western end of the country. This idea translated into the states that are almost symmetrical in shape. Hawaii’s borders, however, are entirely asymmetrical because they are determined by its coastline.
The state of Hawaii was the last to attain statehood of the fifty American states in August 1959. It is the only one of the US states that is located in Oceania. Hawaii is made up of eight islands: Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, Kahoolawe, Kauai, Mau plus the Big Island of Hawaii. It is the only US state that is made up exclusively of islands. Hawaii’s population is the 11th smallest in the US; however, the state ranks as the 13 most densely populated among the fifty states as it is also the 8th smallest in size. It has a coastline of roughly 750 miles which is the fourth longest in the country after the shores of Alaska, Florida, and California.
Texas and California are the only two states that were allowed to determine their borders. The irregular portions of their borders also translate to the asymmetrical nature of the borders of some of the other states that they border. Although different in size, Colorado and Wyoming are almost similar in their shape. These two are the only states that have almost all four borders as straight lines.