Log inskip to content

Archive for September, 2011

One Nation Indivisible?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Nationalism refers to an ideology, a sentiment, a social movement, and an approach to governance that focuses on the nation. It fosters a collective identity. In the specific case of the U.S., nationalism refers to devoting primary loyalty to the United States as opposed to a region or a state. As a corollary to this, the U.S. government, according to nationalists, should reign supreme over state and local governments.

Sectionalism refers to an ideology, a sentiment, a social movement and an approach to governance that focuses on the sovereignty of one section of a country. In the specific case of the U.S., sectionalism refers to devoting primary loyalty to one’s state or region as opposed to the “United” States. As a corollary to this, state governments, according to sectionalists, should wield considerable powers vis-à-vis the national government.


Throughout the Antebellum Era (1789-1861) numerous events took place which led to struggles between advocates of nationalism and advocates of sectionalism. In most cases these are complex issues which can only be properly understood in the context of the antebellum milieu.

Your task is to, describe and analyze each issue:

  1. Describe the issue: tell the story. Describe the basic facts: who, what, when, where, and why.
  2. Analyze the impact of this issue: thoughtfully explain how this event contributed to nationalism, sectionalism, or both. Your explanation requires an argument about whether this event contributed primarily to nationalism or sectionalism.

You may bullet point your responses to the summary in part A; you must explain your analysis in part B in full sentences.

You may use your textbook and/or the internet.

This will be a time consuming endeavor which, if done carefully and methodically and thoughtfully, will give you a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by the new nation and the causes of the Civil War.

Here is your assignment. Enjoy

A Story of Ap Bac

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

These are the words that the 93rd Helicopter Company wrote in January ’63 after The Battle of Ap Bac. They were sung to the tune of “On Top Of Ol’ Smokey”.

George Orwell: You and the Atomic Bomb

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

This George Orwell piece was originally published by the Tribune on October 19, 1945 within two months after atomic bombs were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan by the only country ever to have used them to kill people and destroy cities, viz., the U.S.A. Orwell had written enough about the same (re: A. Bomb) but this particular piece was exceptional for the insights it shared about the world dispensation that lay ahead in the age of atomic weaponry. In addition, it was clear that the groundwork for his novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four had been completed by this writing.

The Melian Dialogue

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Here is Chapter 17 of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. This excerpt cuts to the core of the questions surrounding the Athenian Empire. Clearly, the Athenians are demanding the submission of the Melians. It seems simple: surrender and offer tribute to Athens, or prepare to fight.

Dr. Seuss: The Butter Battle Book

Sunday, September 18th, 2011
Dr. Seuss – The Butter Battle Book – Part 1 of 2

Crazy Bet, the Scourge of Civil War Richmond

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

In the second episode of our monthly audio series “Civil War Stories,” radio producer Nate DiMeo tells the story of Richmond resident Elizabeth Van Lew, better known as Crazy Bet. Her odd behavior (freeing her family’s slaves, visiting Yankee POWs in prison) made tongues wag in the Confederate capital. But Richmond society couldn’t begin to guess what was really going on:

Cold War International History Project

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

The Woodrow Wilson School offers this tremendous resource

NSA Archives on the Cuban Missile Crisis

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the NSA published this

Thomas Powers, “Who Won the Cold War?”

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Excerpt from From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War by Robert M. Gates. Simon and Schuster, 604 pp.

The Soviet Union and the Atlantic Pact

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

FOREIGN SERVICE DISPATCH 116, of September 8, 1952
SUBJECT: The Soviet Union and the Atlantic Pact