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Sectionalism and States’ Rights. 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.
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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.