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Archive for the 'USH: Balancing Nationalism & Sectionalism' Category

Which of the 11 American nations do you live in?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

North America can be broken neatly into 11 separate nation-states, where dominant cultures explain our voting behaviors and attitudes toward everything from social issues to the role of government.

Courtesy Tufts Magazine

I hail from West Yakeedom?

Slavery in Western Territories

Sunday, October 18th, 2015


A short essay from Daina Ramey Berry,  an associate professor of history and African and African diaspora studies, and the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Fellow in History, at the University of Texas at Austin

Student-Generated Klausuren, Fall 2013

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

I cleaned these up a bit (some more than others). All are legitimate klausuren and worthy of your consideration. You can and should use these to practice:

  • writing introductions and conclusions
  • thesis statements
  • outlines
  • topic and transition sentences
  • document analysis using APPARTS
  • pacing and timing (90 minutes flies)

To what extent is the Constitution a Democratic document?

To what extent does the Constitution provide a federal balance?

To what extent is power equally distributed among the three branches of government?

Thomas Jefferson: A complex Renaissance Man or a self-justifying hypocrite?

Was the American System good for America?

Was Civil War inevitable after the Crisis in Kansas?

Too much compromise? (compromise as a source of instability and sectionalism)

To what extent was slavery the primary cause of the Civil War?

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

Internal Improvements

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007


Madison’s Veto of the Public Works Bill of 1817

Andrew Jackson’s Veto Message, 1832

June 19-25, 1848 Congressman Abraham Lincoln Assails President Polk’s Veto of Internal Improvements

Henry Clay’s Famous Speech on The American System, 1832


Native Removal

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Wikipedia on Indian Removal

Statements on the Debate over Indian Removal from Colombia University

The House and Senate Journals on the Native Removal Debates

Treaties Signed between the US and Native Tribes

Chief Joseph Speaks

Secondary Source on Indian Removal from PBS

Catlin’s Notes on the Manners, Customs and Conditions of North American Indians, 1844

Andrew Jackson’s Seventh Annual Message to Congress

Worcester v. Georgia, 1832

The Removal Act of 1830

Sequoyah Research on the Trail of Tears

The Effect of Removal on American Indian Tribes


The Gag Rule

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Again I remind you, this is not a debate over the institution of slavery. This is a debate over whether or not petitions regarding slavery should reach the floor of this legislative body.

A simple summary of the narrative of the gag rule; and another sumary from senate.gov

A five-page essay on the Gag Rule

A more advanced summary from two political scientists, one from MIT, the other from Northwestern

A Review of the book, Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress

J.Q. Adams’ 1837 Speech on the Gag Bill

John C. Calhoun’s Speech on the Abolition of Petitions, 6 February 1837

The petition controversy from the Congressional Record, 1837

Here are excerpts from the Congressional debate from January and February 1837.

Resources on Slavery and abolitionism from yours truly

The Bank of the United States

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Wikipedia on the First BUS and  the Second BUS

Jefferson’s Opposition to the first BUS in a Letter to Washington, 1791

Hamilton’s Opinion as to the constitutionality of the BUS, 1791

The Charter of the the First BUS

McCulloch v. Maryland by Chief Justice Marshall (Opinion of the Court) | 1819

Andrew Jackson’s 1832 veto of the BUS


Large vs. Small Parcels of Western Land

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Wikipedia on The Preemption Act of 1841, the  Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, and the Homestead Act (1862)

A summary of the Preemption Act 

The fight for the Preemption Act 

Good summary of the Homestead Act from NARA  

Primary Source Document: The Homestead Act

Free homes for free men. Speech of Hon. G. A. Grow, of Pennsylvania, in the House of Representatives, February 29, 1860

Horace Greeley and the Western Land Debate: “Go West, young man, go forth into the Country.”


The Tariff of 1828

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Wikipedia links to the Tariff of 1828 and the Nullification Crisis

South Carolina’s Exposition and Protest, 1828 

The Tariff Act of 1828 and the Tariff Act of 1832 (the actual bills)

South Carolina Ordinance of Nullification, November 24, 1832

Daniel Webster: Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable (26 January 1830)