When the Roman Empire fell, it was preceded by about 200 years of Romans slowly abandoning the major western cities for the country-estates/smaller cities of nobles, who protected them and gave them positions around town. All these small, country-based areas worked very hard to avoid taxes, refusing to support the empire, as it was seen not as part of them, but something run by others. The cities were taken over by foreigners and those who felt no loyalty towards Rome’s past, but were interested only in her riches and plunder.
Eventually this system survived the fall of the western empire and gave rise to medieval feudalism, where local lords considered the peasants their personal protectorate and peasants felt more loyalty to them than whatever nation their province was a part of at the time.
Meanwhile, the west collapsed as the country people wouldn’t defend the now-foreign cities from invasion and foreigners in the cities wouldn’t serve in the army or protect the countryfolk, preferred to bribe invaders, and, eventually, just plain pay invaders a tax to rule over them.
For a thousand years after, in Europe, cities were seen as dens of inequity, vice, cowardice, and non-production. When Martel stopped the1st wave of Muslim invasions, he employed marches—country estates—to keep the Muslims at bay while the Reconquista occurred. He didn’t bother with city-by-city capture, since cities weren’t loyal in any way.
As people are starting to note nowadays,the red-v.-blue difference that has emerged since the 1960s is nothing more than country v. city all over again, re-emerging with a vengeance. Gun control, taxes, affirmative action, gay marriage, religion—I can predict your answer to each based on your population’s density (or your preferred population density).
In other words—rabbits these days go to the warrens (cities) while wolves roam the wilderness (country).
I can’t see 1000 years ahead of time, but perhaps those dudes buying large estates in Idaho, New Hampshire, Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming might just be setting up their progeny to be the power-broker wolves of the next millennium around here. We can at least see that the warrens of these times are unsustainable.