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Student’s Name Chongshi.Wang 2/21/2013

Role of Sectionalism in the Civil War

The causes of the civil war are varied and different people cite distinct causes. One of the most notable cause, according to many historians, is sectionalism that was existent the United States from around 1800 to 1860. The fact that many think that it is the cause of the war beckons for more insight into the matter. This paper assesses the credibility of the assertions.

The term sectionalism is a term used to depict a scenario where the desires and needs of separate identities become more important than the welfare of the greater whole. This is the situation that the US was faced by in the lead up to the Civil War, the Northern and the Southern States. The two had very distinct ideologies of how to run their own economies and instead of bringing ideas together to conceive a mutual agreement, they opted to run their own economies. Their divide was not only apparent in the issue of economy, rather in other spheres such as social, political, and developmental. Both side ultimately refuted to concede with the other on these specific issue. Many cite this as the cause of the Civil war, and it is rightfully a debatable perspective.

It’s generally believed that slavery is a evil system. It split the family of black. It was a killing machine. And the slave owners were the devil who created and dominated this machine. It is like what the “uncle Tom’s cabin ”saying as cruel as it really was. But , in fact, the slavery was a product that was created by the development of the world economy. The fertile farmland was suitable for mass production of cotton that was the crop needed by the world. Used of slaver to planted cotton could save cost and increate the production to support the textile industry. Whether south or north needed slavery was there.

Sectionalism is very detrimental to a country’s development. It dispersed the power of the central government (federal). Every states had too much power and wealth. Historical, the example of country divide was uncommon.

Sectionalism in the United States is used to describe the separate customs, social make-ups, political values and economies of the North and South in the early 1800s. the trend escalated for the first sixty years of the decade as the north; industrialized, lacking slavery, industrialized, and with rich farmland while the South placed more emphasis on plantation agriculture with the use of slave labor along with subsistence agriculture for the poor whites. The south territory occupied more land in fertile lands of the southwest (from Texas to Alabama). Nonetheless, slavery was on a decline across the bordering states and could just about persist in urban centers such as Louisville, St. Louis, and Baltimore. With the passing of time slavery was only practiced in the rural areas of the southern territory. This was a period later marked by soaring prices for slaves as the demand for cotton was escalating.

Historians contend that the cultural and social establishments were very distinct in the North compared to the South. Rich men owned all the fertile land in the south, the poor white farmers had to be content with the low productive ones. As the south largely depended on slave labor, any suspicions of slave revolts were dealt with in a hostile manner.

The south maintained that the north was changing into foreign ideologies, while it upheld the true historic values of the founding fathers such as Madison, Jefferson, and Washington who owned slaves. The issue of slavery was so contentious that it separated the religious institutions in the country into Northern and Southern denominations. Some of these denominations included the Baptist, Presbyterian, and the Methodist churches. The fact that the north was more industrialized meant that a large number of immigrants from Europe settled in the Northern territory. It also led to the mass movement of whites from the South to the North, which ultimately made the South to exhibit the defensive-aggressive political conduct.

The Kansas –Nebraska Act was a curtain raiser to a terrible drama and it was one of the most momentous measures ever to pass Congress.By one way of reckoning , it greased the slippery slope to Civil War. Many southerners who had not conceived of Kansas as slave soil, rose to the bait . Here was a chance to gain one more slave state. The pliable President Pierce ,under the thumb of southern advisers, threw his full weight behind the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. It broke the Fugitive Slave Law and the Missouri Compromise. One more slave –state was established in the world. It meant the sectionalism tended to enlarge and spread. The Kansas – Nebraska broke the balance and stirred up the anger of people. The literary and religion incendiaries’ s finger pointed at slavery.

It is factual that sectionalism played a part in the Civil War, to what extent is debatable. The fact that there held very different perspective fueled the war.


1.The slavery was production of economic growth. The particularly of manufacturing need

cotton. Northern , Britain and other Europe were all need cotton that depend on Plantation

Slavery. Actually the slave traffic was banned in 1808.But following the increasing number of

factories ,the slaver was needed again. Because the South was the biggest yieldly in the

world ,the government used cotton ‘s position of the industrial revolution to rebith the slavery.

They didn’t worry about the warship of the North .The North also need cotton from the planter.

2.The Yeoman Myth was the planter who supported production of the cotton of the world.

They used the power of this land, promoted the rapid development of the economy. If the

slavery were never existed , the economy of world would stop developing. They thought

“Cotton was King,’’ the gin was his throne, and the black bondsmen were his henchmen.

3.After 1808 , there were many free slavers in the North and they had freedom of marriage. In

the South ,planter aristocracy concentrate their chattels together without gender distinctions.

And in the time ,there was no effective way to control them. So the population of black

increased so quick.

4.what is the sectionalism. It is a devotion to the interests of one geographic region over the

interests of the country as a whole. The differences between the Northern and Southern states

was one of the primary causes of the Civil War. The different part has different economy

system. Cotton or other production was transported to north even the whole world .This was a

chain of world economy. The slavery was the base.

5.The government did not care the life of slaver .But under the pressure of literature and public

opinion , they had to do something to deal the contradiction. In another hand ,the states of

south didn’t obey orders of federation.

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