Nationalism Vs Sectionalism Essay Examples

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The first six decades of the 19 th century in American history are witness to the rival, contending forces of nationalism and sectionalism. Nationalism, a devotion to the interests and culture of ones nation, played a major role is shaping our economy. The idea of expanding America had triggered a major movement to go west. The Monroe Doctrine, which was introduced to Congress by President Monroe himself, was an outcome of this great idea of expanding the nation.

The Missouri Compromise had divided the slave states and the free states once and for all. Sectionalism, placing the interests of one region ahead of the welfare of the nation as a whole, offers two great examples in which the country was split. The National Bank, which was proposed by Alexander Hamilton, brought up a lot of controversy in the south, as well as in the west. Not only did the National Bank disgruntle the southerners, but the Tariff of 1816, proposed by James Madison, did as well. Sectionalism challenged nationalism, but the latter remained strong among the American people. On December 2, 1823, President Monroe addressed a message to congress.

In his message, James Monroe was informing the powers of the Old World that the American continents were no longer open to European colonization. He also stated that the outside powers shall not try to overthrow the newly independent republics in the Western Hemisphere. Any effort to extend European political influence into the New World would be considered by the United States "as dangerous to our peace and safety. " At the same time, the United States would not involve itself in European affairs or interfere with existing colonies in the Western Hemisphere. These principles became known as the Monroe Doctrine. In 1819, settlers in Missouri requested admission to the Union. Its settlers came largely from the South, and it was expected that Missouri would be a slave state.

The government did not want to have an unequal number of slave states and free states because of representation in the senate. Until 1818, the United States consisted of ten free states and ten slave states. The government admitted Illinois as the eleventh free state in 1818 and therefore southerners expected Missouri to become the eleventh slave state. Before Missouri could become a state, Congressman James Tallmadge amended the Missouri statehood bill to require the state to gradually free its slaves. In between all of this controversy, Alabama was admitted into the Union and now Missouri's status became crucial to the delicate balance. Under the leadership of Henry Clay, Congress managed to temporarily resolve the crisis with a series of agreements collectively called the Missouri Compromise.

Maine was admitted as a free state and Missouri as a slave state, thus preserving the sectional balance in the Senate. The rest of the Louisiana Territory was split. The dividing line was set at 36 30 ' north latitude. South of the line slavery was legal. North of the line, except Missouri, slavery was banned. President Monroe signed the Missouri Compromise in 1820.

For a generation, the problem of slavery in federal territories seemed settled. The National Bank, which was proposed by Alexander Hamilton, aroused a storm of controversy. Hamilton's idea of the National Bank aroused a storm of controversy. James Madison claimed that the bank would forge an unhealthy alliance between the government and wealthy business interests. The National Bank would be funded by both the federal government and wealthy private investors.

The North would want the bank because they make a lot of money through industries and the South, on the other hand, opposed the National Bank because they just lived by what we say, from paycheck to paycheck. Madison also argued that it is unconstitutional because the constitution says nothing about having a National Bank. The National bank was needed because the government had a debt from the Revolutionary War and each state had a different currency. In the end, Hamilton convinced Washington and the majority of the congress, which resulted in the establishment of the Bank of the United States. Ever since the end of the War of 1812, British goods, such as iron and textiles, were sold far below the cost of American made goods. Consequently, few bought American-made merchandise.

If a tariff would be put on imported goods, the price of foreign merchandise would increase, thereby eliminating the price advantage. Tariff revenues would also help with internal improvements. As a result, President James Madison proposed the Tariff of 1816. Most of the north welcomed this tariff but the South and the West, whose lives did not depend on manufacturing, disliked the tax on European imports. People in Congress, who were either from the South or the West, like Henry Clay and Calhoun, wanted to improve the Tariff of 1816 in a national interest. The American economy was changing drastically.

The Monroe Doctrine had stopped from any European colonization in the Western Hemisphere, the Missouri Compromise had settled the controversy about slave states and free states, the National Bank would finally organize the currency and financial issues that the country had, and the Tariff of 1816 had boosted the manufacturing industries. Nationalism and Sectionalism had challenged each other throughout the first six decades of the 19 th century. These are just few of the many issues of nationalism and sectionalism that our country went through to be what it is today.


Free research essays on topics related to: 19 th century, monroe doctrine, alexander hamilton, henry clay, missouri compromise

Research essay sample on 19 Th Century Monroe Doctrine

Sectionalism Versus Nationalism And The Era Of Good Feelings

After the war of 1812, there was a strong sense of nationalism since the young United States had won a war against the powerful British Army. However, the loss of thousands of southern slaves and the British embargo led both the north and the south to lament over the cost of the war. The time period from 1815 – 1825 that some historians call the era of good feelings was not as positive a time period as the title implies; factions ran rampant on the verge of causing an implosion for our country’s political system.
The United States began to dissatisfy some of its citizens and so the concerns of sectionalism, or the split of the country began to arise. There was a continuous riff between the south and the north over a few issues, a major one being slavery. The south argued that the slaves were necessary to support the southern economy. According to document A, the south were angry that the north was creating taxes that hurt the southern economy, thus increasing the need for slavery since they had to make up for the expense of the taxes. The south felt that the north was able to take advantage of the south since, according to document E, the north was more densely populated and thus had more representatives. Another display of this was when the southern states wanted to add Missouri as a slave state, according to document F, the north only would agree if the north was able to add Maine as a free state, continuing to imply that the north and south would always disagree and be on other sides of an issue. Unfortunately this came about since the fall of the Whig political party, the Democratic-Republicans had all the power so the states decided on presidents based on state interests rather than party interests. According to document I, this worked in the beginning as Monroe was almost...

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