The Sectionalism Of The 19th Century

1330 words - 6 pages

Sectionalism can be described as loyalty specifically to one’s section or region. In terms of the United States, sectionalism refers to two major regions, the North and the South. It became a rising issue in the colonies in the 1800’s and undoubtedly aided in the start of the civil war. If one was to ask Northerners, they would blame the South and vice-versa. To be brutally honest, it was a combination of both regions and their extreme sectionalism that inevitably led to an American’s nightmare, a Civil War within the Union.
The North was based on industrialism and the South on agriculture. Perhaps one of the greatest issues ever faced by the United States was that of slavery. The South had become extremely content with their way of life with slaves and the North were very against it. This caused many disagreements between the two regions and ultimately was one of the main causes of the Civil War. They also had different views on tariffs due to the difference in the economies. The North was booming with industrialization and they didn’t like competing with the goods being imported. The tariffs provided protection for the northern industries and in turn had a negative impact they had on the southern economy. This only amplified the uneasy feeling that the South felt about the Union. They feared the Union would grow too powerful and the people would eventually lose their voice. It was the Missouri Compromise of 1820 that opened the door and unleashed the beast that was sectionalism in the nation. After the compromise the North and South had a hard time agreeing on anything.
The Missouri Compromise acted as a balancing act among the anti-slave states and the slave states. Since states generally entered the union in pairs, it stated that for each slave state admitted to the union, there would be a free state admitted as well. When Missouri initially tried to enter it posed a problem because they didn’t have a free state entering with it. With the North so strongly disagreeing with slavery this caused major tension between the two regions. In an effort to meet in the middle, James Tallmadge Jr. proposed an amendment that prohibited bringing any more slaves to Missouri and declared the gradual emancipation of all the slaves that were already in Missouri. Before the movement became final, Maine also petitioned to join the union somewhat resolving the issue of imbalance. Missouri entered the union a slave state with Maine as it’s free counterpart. Senator Jesse B. Thomas then proposed an amendment that prohibited slavery in any of the Louisiana Purchase territory north of the southern border of Missouri, also referred to as the 36°30′ parallel. Nationalist from both regions viewed this as “a happy resolution of the danger to the Union” (Brinkley 189). However, this drew a line between the North and the South and quite literally divided the Union and supported sectionalism in the states. The next supporting act of the rapid outbreak of sectionalism in...

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