Sectionalism and the Breakup of the U.S


Stephen Glynn
Civitas Midterm
2-28-96 Fallon

Throughout the early 1800\'s the country was split in many areas over
many issues. Some of the more severe clashes between differing groups resulting
from such issues as slavery, expansion, and internal improvement. With all of
these controversial topics to worry about along with the vast diversity in the
nation, caused separation and tensions throughout the country.
The most prominent of the previous topics was slavery. This was an
issue in the days of the bible and continues to be an issue in the middle 1800\'s.
The divisions in the country brought about by slavery seem to be categorized
into two main groups, abolitionists, and slave holders. These two groups also
were divided geographically for the most part due to the South\'s need of slaves
for cheap, and reliable man power, and the North, as it was not an
agriculturally based economy and needed little in the way of unskilled laborers.
It was very easy for the North to bash the South\'s slavery because their economy
did not depend upon slavery. They had no slaves, no need for slaves, and saw
slavery as inhumane and unlawful. The south, however, depended upon slavery as
a basis of production, and the only way to operate large farms at the time,
primarily being the large cotton plantations of the south.
Several people tried to resolve the issue of slavery with compromises
and bills that set clear rules and laws to appeal to both sides. The most
prominent being the Missouri compromise. This document set the standard for
slavery at the time. It also managed to further divide the country into two
opposing groups geographically separated by the 36 degree 30 minute line. The
bill clearly stated that no states above the proposed line shall have slavery,
with exception to those already in existence. This meant that all new states
being brought into the country from the west had a choice to have slavery if and
only if they laid below the line. Obviously, the south did not really like the
idea, as it allowed the northern non-slave states to outnumber the southern
slave-states in the south as far as representation in the government was
concerned.
Another part of the slavery controversy was the moral issue and weather
or not it was inhumane, and an injustice to the Negro. I don\'t see how the
North cared about the southern salve, because they failed to recognize slaves as
people, and much less as citizens. So, that raises the question of how you
could treat another human as if they were non-human, but still complain about
their enslavement by other people for the benefit of your own country. Two
pieces where this argument is seen are "Appeal to the women of the south" and
"Slavery as it is." These two articles discuss slavery in the light that it is
wrong, and should be abolished. They completely see it from the standpoint of
Christianity, and do not see it as accepted by the Bible. In "Appeal to the
women of the South," many quotes are used directly from the Bible citing
specific examples of slavery as being wrong and not accepted.
The next area of national division was expansion and the issues
pertaining there to. The nation was a young one, with a rapidly growing
population, and great ideas of world supremacy. Peoples views were basically
divided into two groups, the expansionists, and the non-expansionists. These
two groups were not as geographically separated as the North and the South of
the slavery issue, but none the less were partially divided by the Mason-Dixon
line. When people tried to rally for interaction in the war of 1812, they
campaigned with the idea of new found land, and how our country could expand.
As people thought about the prospects of war, and acquisition of new land, they
found the struggles of war, along with the fact that our country was young and
relatively weak, not very promising. There was not a great need for land, and
people were not very enthused about the war with England. Sure many people
would have liked to stomp England in an easy war which netted us complete
disaffiliation with them, but we weren\'t sure that we could really win at the
time. The people with these ideas tended to be in the North, where cities were
the norm, rather than small farming communities. The South, on the other hand,
had a great deal to gain if we acquired more land. Since they were a
predominantly