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American nationalism and sectionalism

Following the War of 1812, America began to assert a newfound sense of nationalism. This was achieved through women’s movement that overlapped it stressed the need for the civilizing influence of women in political life. Sunday schools were created to socialize children and attendance at common schools developed to educate the young systematically for conservative citizenship (Rossignol, 2004).

Party systems engaged in the extensive use of parades and public celebrations as a means of creating national unity, obtaining support, and overcoming divisions. Despite the American success against Great Britain, the new nation found it difficult to persuade its diverse citizenry to coexist peaceably within a legal framework. For instance, there was class conflict which came about by the economic differences between the industrial North and the agricultural South.

Trade and industry led to Northern urbanization, and transportation and communication advances were used by Northern industrialists (Rossignol, 2004). Society became even more fragmented between such groups as employers and laborers, immigrants and the native-born, or southerners and northerners, soon this escalated when crowds transformed what were supposed to be rituals of nationalism into protest demonstrations by those who felt excluded from a republic dominated by white middle-class and upper-class males.

These differences lead to Civil War. The greatest difference centered around slavery, which was legal and viewed as economically vital in the South, but illegal and viewed as problematic in the North. In conclusion, it seems that the effects of sectionalism were more felt than those of nationalism in the early 19th century. Reference: Rossignol M. J. (2004) The Nationalist Ferment: The Origins of U. S. Foreign Policy, 1789-1812. ohio. Ohio State University Press

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