Nationalism and Sectionalism

Category: Politics
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Nationalism can be defined as a patriotic feeling in one’s own country. Sectionalism is when your interest is restricted to one specific area, group, clan, etc. of that country. Instead of focusing on the country as a whole, you have a more specific focus. I think America loves to flaunt Nationalism, but at the very heart we are a country defined by Sectionalism.

The Panic of 1819 was a financial depression started in part by Jackson and his dealings with the National Bank. The result was a sectional split with three sides and points of views. Those in the West blamed the banks and wanted harsher regulations put into place. Those in the North blamed our foreign trade policies and wanted to raise the protective tariffs to prevent future crises. The South resented tariffs completely and this gave them a healthy mistrust of future economic programs.

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The Missouri Compromise was another obvious sectional split in our nation. The North and South in their constant debate over slavery argued over the issue of Missouri as a slave state. The issue was solved by accepting Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state to maintain the balance of power. A line was literally drawn to prevent this issue in the future to show the boundaries between northern free states and southern slave states.

These sectional concerns were not new issues and they weren’t just temporary. Sectionalism began in the first days of colonization of the New World. The Puritans came to practice their own religion. As more and more people migrated to America their differences led them to establish the different states. Each of those original states were established because of sectional issues. Those people were uncomfortable and chose to focus on their own kind in their own area. This is the same way we settled the back-country. Even today we still draw a line between Northern and Southern and Eastern and Western. We call it our Heritage, but no matter what we call it, it’s still sectionalism.

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Nationalism and Sectionalism. (2020, Mar 31). Retrieved from