Sectionalism vs. Nationalism in 19th century America
Prompt: How could both Sectionalism and Nationalism exist at the same time and at the same place in America during the 19th century?
During the early 19th century there were many varieties in American nationalism. Many events posed a threat of sectionalism where as other events unified America as a whole. Both nationalism and sectionalism could have co-existed at the same time because although sectionalism always threatened nationalism, nationalism always found a way to with-stand the serious economical, political and social challenges of the time.
Many issues during this time period posed a threat to nationalism. The issue of slavery arose after the 1812 war that threatened the unity of America. The issue arose during the Missouri compromise when the government was to decide whether Missouri would be a pro or anti slavery state, this threatened the unity of the nation. The South wanted to build an economy was through the use of slavery. The North on the other hand opposed this idea and therefore based their economy off that of trade and manufactured goods. However this dispute came to represent a larger topic such that would hinder America for decades later: whether the new western regions would take after the southern or northern economy. Additionally politically-wise the two- party system broke the people up into parties and their government preferences that opposed each other, creating a population division threatened nationalism. Also the tariff of Abominations also created a form of sectionalism such that it was a tariff primarily aimed to the southern economy to protect the northern industry. It was a very high tax that caused a lot of frustration.
The influential factors that contributed to the vigorous economic expansion of America during the 1840’s through the 1860’s, consisted of the Industrial Revolution, the Improvements in Transportation, and Internal Expansion, all played a vital role in helping form the dynamic economy. The nations industry was rapidly growing more efficient, better quality products, with help of the ...
On the contrary, after the war of 1812 there was a growing nationalism of America. Internal improvements: improvements to the country as a whole, they were improvements on infrastructure, transportation, to make an overall better living for the American population. This gave a sense of national identity and pride that untied the nation. Economical-wise, the 2nd bank of the United States unified all the states into one national bank. This helped, again unify the nation. On top of that the Monroe doctrine, which proclaimed that European powers would no longer colonize or interfere with American affairs and as a result America would stay neutral in their affairs – again this unified America and gave America a greater sense of national identity. All this contributed the ‘era of good feelings that unified the nation creating a strong and profound sense of nationalism.
However although it is acknowledged that both nationalism and sectionalism could have occurred at the same time, the main question is how this could have been possible. The answer is simple, when forces were created to divide and break the nation apart, stronger bonds were always created to unify the nation as a whole, this is something that is still going on today, for example even though of America’s struggles, schools around the nation say the pledge of allegiance as a way to remind themselves of national unity. Also America shared sentiments that bonded the nation together such as the memory of the American revolution that truly bonded all the American people. However the strong nationalism was also simply a way to disguise the countries deep divisions. The deeper divisions were the constant dispute of whether America should have a strong central government concerned with economic development or whether the nation should remain an overall decentralized power that gave a lot of authority to the states and the people. Another long pondering issue that constantly threatened American unity was the constant dispute over the issue of slavery.
Nationalism Nationalism means devotion to one's nation. To some or most nationalistic people, this means that national interests, security, etc. are more important than international considerations. It involves the process of making a nation or nation-state into a definable country. But the concept of nationalism differs in different cultures.I will mention some of the controversial concepts of ...
Both nationalism and sectionalism could have co-existed at the same time because although sectionalism always threatened nationalism, nationalism always found a way to with-stand the serious economical, political and social challenges of the time. Although there were always constant treats, the nation always found means to counteract that sectionalism and impose a strong sense of nationalism and carries on to this day.