Skip to content


Choose a Chapter | Purchase the eBook

1 The Collision Of Cultures
2 Britain And Its Colonies
3 Colonial Ways Of Life
4 The Imperial Perspective
5 From Empire To Independence
6 The American Revolution
7 Shaping A Federal Union
8 The Federalist Era
9 The Early Republic
10 Nationalism And Sectionalism
11 The Jacksonian Impulse
12 The Dynamics Of Growth
13 An American Renaissance: Religion, Romanticism, And Reform
14 Manifest Destiny
15 The Old South
16 The Crisis Of Union
17 The War Of The Union
18 Reconstruction: North And South
19 New Frontiers: South And West
20 Big Business And Organized Labor
21 The Emergence Of Urban America
22 Gilded-age Politics And Agrarian Revolt
23 An American Empire
24 The Progressive Era
25 America And The Great War
26 The Modern Temper
27 Republican Resurgence And Decline
28 New Deal America
29 From Isolation To Global War
30 The Second World War
31 The Fair Deal And Containment
32 Through The Picture Window: Society And Culture, 19451960
33 Conflict And Deadlock: The Eisenhower Years
34 New Frontiers: Politics And Social Change In The 1960s
35 Rebellion And Reaction In The 1960s And 1970s
36 A Conservative Insurgency
37 Triumph And Tragedy: America At The Turn Of The Century

Nationalism and Sectionalism - Document Overview

» Return to Document Reader
» Worksheet

Over the dozen years, from 1816 to 1828, that began with the election of James Monroe and ended with that of Andrew Jackson to the presidency, the American people reflected and acted upon such issues as national history, honor, and improvement. The revolutionary generation was dying off and a new cast of characters began to tread upon the nation's stage. As those who had played their parts bowed off into the wings, they tried to make sure that they would not be forgotten. Their endeavors were aided by transitional figures, such as Monroe and John Quincy Adams, who had entered adulthood during the Revolution and used the lessons of their youth first to support the leaders of the early Republic and then continue their work. Those arriving upon the stage applauded their predecessors even as they set about changing the setting, tempo, and temper of the play.

The transition was both gross and subtle, marked by significant changes in characters and quieter modifications of costume—Monroe wore suits "of somewhat antiquated fashion, with shoe-and-knee buckles" (as Adams recorded in 1821) at both of his inaugurations whereas most American men had begun to wear trousers, rather than buckled knee britches, even for formal events. Between 1816 and 1828 most of the remaining revolutionary leaders died: both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on 4 July 1826. Many of their compatriots also passed from the scene, but many others were still around, some in dire financial straits, to prick the nation's memory. Congress responded by passing legislation to provide pensions for the soldiers of the Revolution. The young nation also commemorated its past by feting General Marie Joseph Lafayette on his visit to the states during 1824 and 1825 even as it celebrated its present by showing him how much the country had grown.

The developing nation had indeed altered much, in form if not in substance. Americans had extended their country's borders and continued to stretch them. Within those borders, they argued over and then implemented internal improvements, such as roads and the development of waterways, to foster prosperity and power. While most, if not all, Americans looked at these transportation networks primarily as commercial necessities, a few leaders also saw them as contributing to the nation's security—they could thus move the military more efficiently to meet threats posed by Indian tribes and foreign nations. As Native American resistance grew, so too did the response of the United States: the Seminoles and Andrew Jackson illustrated the dynamics of this aggression. The nation was also intent on containing British imperial possessions to the north in Canada and pushing Spain off the continent altogether.

Territorial and economic growth, especially when added to the self-congratulation that accompanied the end of the War of 1812, stimulated the growth of American nationalism. As the Federalist Party disappeared and Republicans adopted and adapted some of its ideas and projects—including a national bank—as their own, some Americans could hope that political partisanship was a thing of the past. That quickly proved to be wishful thinking, for one party could not accommodate all beliefs or all political players. Schisms developed within the party as its leaders jockeyed for power and the intense rivalry and deal-making that marked the election of Adams to the presidency in 1824 split the party. Andrew Jackson stormed out of its ranks and helped create the new Democratic Party, and then went on to win the election of 1828.

Schisms also developed between sections of the country. By this time the old North/South tensions had faded somewhat, but there was the rise of new North/South issues that were related to or exacerbated by the rise of the West. The question of Missouri statehood awakened people to the fact that the states had not surmounted all the domestic dangers to their union. The result was that even as citizens celebrated the nation's power, they started to worry about national dissolution.

Sectional sentiments challenged nationalism, but the latter remained strong among the American people. Nationalism also prevailed due to the ideologies and actions of the country's leaders in the executive and judicial branches. Adams and Monroe secured the United States as a continental power and endeavored to extend it as a hemispheric one. Although the United States was not a leading world power, Adams and Monroe were determined to maintain its national honor and autonomy. John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was just as determined to preserve the power of the national government against encroachments from the states.


Section Menu

Organize

Learn

Connect

Multimedia

Norton Gradebook

Instructors now have an easy way to collect students’ online quizzes with the Norton Gradebook without flooding their inboxes with e-mails.

Students can track their online quiz scores by setting up their own Student Gradebook.