Sectionalism • Sectionalism is when a person puts the interests of his region ahead of the interests of the nation • The three main regions of the United States in the early 1800s were the Northeast, the South, and the West. • The three issues most hotly argued over were public land sales, internal improvements, and tariffs.
Public Land Sales • The federal government had a lot of land, and raised money by selling it. • Northeasterners wanted prices high, to keep factory workers from leaving for the West • Westerners wanted prices low, to encourage more settlers to move there, creating new states
Internal Improvements • Internal improvements meant building roads, bridges and canals • Both the West and the Northeast were in favor of it, because it opened new markets for them. • Southerners opposed additional improvements, because the government paid for them by raising tariffs
Tariffs • Tariffs, or taxes on imported goods, were the biggest issue that caused problems • In general: • The South opposed more tariffs • The Northeast favored more and higher tariffs • The West supported higher tariffs because it paid for internal improvements
Tariff of Abominations • In 1828, Congress passed a high tariff bill • Southerners were totally outraged – they felt like the interests of the Northeast were determining national policy • The tariff hit South Carolina especially hard, and some leaders even started to talk about secession, or leaving the Union.
Nullification Crisis • To keep South Carolina from seceding, John C. Calhoun proposed the doctrine of nullification • Nullification says that a state has the right to nullify, or reject, a federal law the state feels is unconstitutional. • The issue that nullification springs from is the idea of states’ rights: the theory that states have the right to judge (and ignore, if they choose) acts of the federal government.
Webster – Hayne Debate • One of the greatest debates in US history took place in the Senate over the doctrine of nullification • Daniel Webster, from Massachusetts, argued against nullification • Robert Hayne, of South Carolina, defended it. • The issue would only be settled by the Civil War, still 30 years in the future.