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The Issues of Sectionalism

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Sectionalism refers to the idea of giving one's primary loyalty to their state or section rather than to the Country as a united nation. In the early years of our country, differences in views concerning economics, commerce, human rights, namely slavery and politics among the states began to divide the nation.

American began to put their state's or sections interests above the interest of the federal government. The country was basically divided along geographical lines, the northern states, the southern states, and the western states.

The northern states were primarily industrial in nature and their major industries were shipping, fishing, farming, lumbering and manufacturing. The southern states were primarily an agricultural economy and although there were many small family farms, large plantations dominated the market. The large plantation owners primarily raised tobacco, sugar, rice and most importantly cotton for export. The western states were also emphasized an agricultural economy consisting of small family farms growing wheat, rye, corn and meat.

One of the issues which were debated among the states of each section involved national legislation to establish protective tariffs to protect against foreign competition of goods. The north favored a high tariff to protect their growing manufacturing industries from foreign competition. They also reasoned that a high protective tariff would be a major source of revenue to the federal government which could in turn help finance internal improvements to the nation's transportation system. The west also favored a strong protective tariff because although they disliked the higher prices on the goods that they manufactured, they believed a prosperous north would be able a stable market for their goods. The south was opposed to a protective tariff because they feared that foreign nations, especially England would retaliate by reducing purchases of their agricultural exports. Since countries in Europe were the principle trading partners for the south and they imported large amounts of manufactured goods, the high protective tariffs would make foreign imports very expensive which would severely impact their economy.

Another issue which divided the states was the legislation to create a national bank called the Second Bank of the United States. The north favored a national bank because it would maintain a sound currency and provide much needed investment capital for their growing industries. The west and the south were opposed to a national bank because they favored using state banks which provided easier to obtain credit loans. They also felt that a national bank would prevent state banks from issuing large amounts of bank notes, which would cheapen the worth of money and have the effect to inflate prices of agricultural goods for the west and south.

The issue of national legislation to federally fund internal



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