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One Nation Indivisible?

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.

Directions:

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

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