The Rise of Sectionalism in the U.S.

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The United States has changed a lot from the 1800’s up until now. Many of the ways the country has changed are positive, helping the economy, changing the social aspects, as well as changing the way politics are. During the 1800’s slavery was a huge part of everything. Nowadays, obviously slavery isn’t still part of the society, but slavery has helped shape the country to where it is now in many ways. Not only has slavery brought the country to where it is today, but it has helped contribute to the rise of sectionalism throughout the country. Sectionalism is the loyalty to one's region, rather than the country as a whole. There have been many examples of how sectionalism has been embedded in their daily lives, including slavery, but also with all the improvemnts happening to the country, and also through results of what slavery brought. But the ways that sectionalism has been brought throughout the country didn’t always result in peace and unity. It, a lot of the time, lead to war among the country, and among regions along the country, due to different viewpoints.

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There were many factors that lead to the rise of sectionalism, including many economic factors. During the industrial revolution, many new technologies were being introduced, such as the cotton press. When the cotton press started being used, it created lots of job opportunitues for people, which opened the route for slavery. As more cotton was being produced in the United States, the population of slaves was also increasing. People with high wealth would take slaves, to do the work in their fields, or whatever work that needed to be done. As the population of slaves was increasing, the states in America were changing according to this. The northern states were becoming more industrial due to these changes. Things in factories started to shift from doing almost everything by hand, to using machines to help make the process easier and faster, so in the northern states, there was no need for slave work. Yes, there was still work to be done by hand, but most of it was now being done with the help of the machines being created. Over 1 million slaves were being transferred from older states to the “Deep South”. The states towards the south of the country were becoming slave states, and the northern states were not slave states, due to the Missouri Compromise, which was implemented due to the north becoming more industrial. Slavery in the Southern United States was starting to become a more common thing, and as it became more and more popular, it starts to take a toll on American life. While the population of slaves is booming, many advancements are also being made to the southern states. During the Market Revolution, many over the land transportation improvements are being added. Roads are being created, steamboates are being bettered, and railroads and being stimulated. Almost 900 companies up until about 1830 are created these roads(Kelly, Theresa. “The Market Revolution”.(RHAM High School, September 25, 2019, Lecture)), which helped the economy in many ways, along with the steamboats. They are creating more ways to travel from one place to another, and also they are linking the farmers to world markets. By creating these ways for the southern farmers to spread their products, it not only is helping the economy, but it is helping the population. By helping to bring money into the states, but it helps bring more people down south. Because slavery is accpepted there, people would not want to move north, this become a part of this lifestyle, and it has many benefits to it.

As slavery in the United states becomes more common, problems start to arise among the country. The states did not all agree on slavery, some states favored it, but then some did not want any part of it. As the states start to expand, and become more industrial, diversity is created. Diversity is being created due to unbalance the states, meaning the number of slaves vs the free states. In 1818, there are 10 free states, and 10 slave states, so at that time it was balanced. But in 1819, when Missouri applied for admission as a slave state, it became unbalanced(Kelly, Theresa. “The Era of Good Feelings.(RHAM High School, September 11, 2019, Lecture)). An agreement needed to be come to, so the Missouri Compromise was put into place. The Missouri Compromise would be put into place to decide which states would be free, nd which would be slaved. They decided that slavery would be prohibited north of the 36°30 parallel, and it would be allowed south of this line. But due to this line, it did create many issues, which is proven in the Dred Scott v Sanford case in 1857. This case was a very important case involved with slavery and the 36°30 parallel. Dred Scott was a slave that lived with his owner in the save state of Missouri. When his owner moved to Illinois and Wisconsin, he went with because they were both free states at that time. Then after a period of time, his owner decides to move back to Missouri, but that meant that he would return to being a slave. But there was a question posed, that Scott went to court with, which was whether or not slaves held in free territories or states should be free or not. The court ruled against this, which did not make sense, considering Dred Scott did spend some time in a free state, so he shouldn’t have to go back to being a slave. The court decided that slaves or free blacks were not considered citizens, so they had no rights as any other American would, so they were unable to petition the court for their freedom(Kelly, Theresa. “Sectionalism”.(RHAM High School, October 7, 2019, Lecture)). Scott was then forced to return with his owner to the slave state, and go back to being a slave, because he couldn’t fight for his own right. Slavery was starting to deny the rights of all human being, and starting to replace these humans with the objectability of being property. In the court, the ideal of sectionalism was a big impact on their ruling, not only because he was black, but because he had to stay loyal to his region he was originally from also. He had been in a slave state for many years, more years than he was in the free state, so he was going to end up staying a slave for however many more years to come.

As Sectionalism started to become more of an ideal in the United states, it also brought problems with it, problems that would ultimately lead to war. Sectionalsim due to slavery started problems, for those who did not favor it. In October 1859, an abolitionist named John Brown attempted to seize a fort in Virginia. He got a group of militia and local citizens, and tried to get the help of slaves, but none came to his support. His initial goal was to take control over Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, and attempt to start an armed slave revolt(Kelly, Theresa. “Sectionalism”.(RHAM High School, October 7, 2019, Lecture)), but didn’t succeed. He was caught, tried, and hung. The abolitionists at the time did anything they could to try and stop slavery in the area, and return the country to anti-slavery throughout every state. Overall, the outcome of these wars from sectionalism impacted the country in many ways, but where we are today, it is seen as positive changes.

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