Sectionalism In 1800s

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From the early 1800s, slavery was becoming more of a sectional issue meaning that the country was being divided by regional lines. Northerners were becoming more opposed to slavery, and Southerners were becoming more united in their defense of slavery as an institution. The North and the South not only differed in their view of slavery, they also adopted different lifestyles, political views and customs which made it hard for both sides to understand each other. The North was urbanized and industrialized while the South was full of plantations with slaves. Abolitionists arose in the north seeing the inhumane morals of slavery. They grew more and more powerful, and they opposed the extension of slavery as America kept expanding to the west. …show more content…
The government splitted the country evenly between free and equal states. This was the beginning of sectionalism in America. In 1819, a problem occurred. Missouri’s 1819 request to become a slave state threatened to destroy the balance between slave states and free states (Clay, Missouri Compromise). At that time, Monroe who was president wrote, "The idea was that if the whole arrangement, to this effect, could be secured, that it would be better to adopt it, than break the union" (Monroe, James Monroe Papers: Series 1, General Correspondence). Monroe and the congress believed that to keep the peace he needed to grant Missouri’s request but also admit Maine as a free state. This shows the inability of the government to choose a side which allows the country to become more conflicting and split. A map from 1820 shows the regional split between the North and South after The Missouri Compromise (Redway, Slave and Free Areas after the Missouri …show more content…
Throughout the early 1800s, sectionalism was rising as the North and South were getting more split and America was unbalanced. The Kansas-Nebraska Act would allow settlement into the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska but the government were not sure whether to make it a slave state or a free state. Stephen A. Douglas who proposed the act believed strongly that the bill would bring America together and make the nation strong. He stated, “It (The Kansas Nebraska Act) will triumph & impart peace to the country & stability to the Union” (Douglas, Douglas Letter to Cobb). The goal of this act was to cover up the rising sectionalism in the nation. However, it did the opposite. It called for a popular sovereignty where the people of the states themselves could decide whether they want to be a free state or not. This again is a passive decision by the government as they let the people make the decision when there is clearly two opposing sides. In order to enact this, the Missouri Compromise from 1820 was removed because Kansas and Nebraska trespassed the border of free states. This angered the Northerners because it seemed like an aggressive move to advance slavery more North (McGee, Forcing Slavery Down the Throat of a Freesoiler). The Southerners also had propagandizing cartoons as the Hurly Burly Pot

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