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Rise of American Sectionalism
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Rise of American Sectionalism


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  • 1. Rise of American Sectionalism in the early 19 th century
  • 2. What is sectionalism?
    • Sectionalism – loyalty to the interests of one’s region (section) of the country as opposed to nationwide interests
    • Issue of sectional differences not new: consider conflicts between big states and small states in the early years of the Republic
    • In the 19 th century, sectional differences between North and South in particular became a major source of tension
  • 3. Money Money Money Tensions stemmed primarily from the economic differences that existed between each region… How do you think their different desires might raise problems? West South North Regional desires Type of Economy/labor Region
  • 4. Roots of sectional conflict
    • While economic differences were at the heart of sectional tensions, they tended to play out in debates over four key issues:
      • Slavery
      • Representation
      • Tariffs
      • States’ rights
    • These issues became even more important as Americans tried to figure out what to do with land they had gained in the 1840s…
  • 5. Slavery and Representation
    • Debates involving slavery and representation in government dates back to the Constitution!
    • In the 19 th century, the issue of representation shifts to concept of slave states versus free states: Congress needs to maintain balance!
    • First place where this becomes a problem: MISSOURI
  • 6. How do you solve a problem like Missouri?
    • Missouri applies for admission into Union in 1817 as a slave state …why is this a problem?
      • 11 slave states + 11 free states = balanced Union
      • Adding Missouri would upset the balance!
    • Result: representatives of Northern states want to ban slavery in Missouri
    • In response, Southern states claim that Congress does not have the power to ban slavery
  • 7. Missouri Compromise (1820)
    • Henry Clay offers Congress a compromise:
      • Missouri is admitted as a slave state
      • Maine is admitted as a free state
      • Slavery is banned in the Louisiana Territory north of 36 ˚ 30’ (Missouri’s southern border)
    But is this really a good compromise?
  • 8. The Tariff of Abominations
    • Tariff = a tax added to the cost of goods imported from another country (see page 364)
    • Northern states tended to support protective tariffs, but the South did not…why?
    • Differing opinions over the tariff issue ultimately led to conflict in 1828 with the passing of the “Tariff of Abominations”
  • 9. Nullification Crisis!
    • Leading state against the tariff:
    • South Carolina
    • To John C. Calhoun comes up with the doctrine of nullification , which asserted that a state has the right to reject a federal law deemed unconstitutional.
  • 10.
    • At the heart of Calhoun’s ideas was the concept of states’ rights vs federal control
    • Major debate emerges in U.S. Senate – do individual states have the right to nullify a law?
      • Senators Webster (MA) and Hayne (SC) represent the two major sides of the debate…
        • Webster people, not the states, make up the Union, therefore nullification is unlawful
        • Hayne nullification gives the states a lawful way to maintain a balance of power with the federal government
    • Where does sectionalism play a role?
    The Challenge of States’ Rights
  • 11. Nullification and Secession
    • Although Jackson tries to address SC’s concerns, the crisis almost leads to military confrontation when South Carolina threatens to secede
    • Violence is averted with a compromise by Henry Clay, but this is not the last time South Carolina will threaten the Union with secession….