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American History: Meaning of Sectionalism Essay


A number of factors fuelled the benevolent empire of the antebellum period, one of them being sectionalism. The north considered itself an economically stable region. In this regard, it never saw any reason of associating itself with slavery, which was a controversial policy in the world. On the other hand, the south was reluctant to abolish the system it was relied in producing goods. In fact, slavery was the backbone of the southern economy.

The south could not manage to achieve anything economically without slavery. Due to this, the south could not let slaves free. A national debate emerged, with some individuals suggesting that the south should be forced to give slaves their freedom while others supporting the actions of the southerners. This angered the south to an extent of seceding from the union. With these new developments, the civil war was inevitable. Continued disputes between the powers of various states and the federal government were another factor that fueled the benevolent empire of the antebellum period.

The states and the federal government engaged in legal tussles to establish who was superior to the other, with the case involving Dred Scott serving as an example. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Missouri state since the federal government had no powers to force any of the southern states to abolish slavery. Many people believed that states had more powers than the federal government, which brought about conflicts and tensions. Differences in economic developments in the south and the north could also be viewed as one of the factors that fuelled benevolent empire in the antebellum period.

The north was in support of tariffs because it could give their industries and factories an advantage over foreign firms. However, the south was against imposition of tariffs since it could affect the prices of cotton, which was mainly exported to Europe. With this in mind, each region wanted the transcontinental railway to pass through their land. Since no agreement could be reached, the benevolent empire was inevitable in the antebellum period.

Many people who demonstrated at the time wanted the south to abolish slavery and adopt a sound economic policy that would encourage development without humiliating one group. Reformers were able to bring some reforms in the country. Blacks and women were given some rights that would allow them to exercise their political and economic rights. For instance, women were allowed to engage in politics as voters while blacks could also select a candidate of their choice.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "American History: Meaning of Sectionalism." January 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/american-history-meaning-of-sectionalism/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'American History: Meaning of Sectionalism'. 13 January.

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