The years 1815-1825 were a time period of unification and sectionalism. The term “Era of good Feeling”, can be applied to Nationalism, but not the idea of Sectionalism. At this time we had no political parties, giving political icon’s the ability to discuss objectives freely with one another. With the North being a free state, and the South being a slave state, it caused tension between the two areas, debating if slavery was the “right” thing to do, or if slavery was the “wrong” thing to do. United States nationalism was at a strong high point after the War of 1812. We had successfully defeated the British for the second time, and had every right to have pride in our developing country. The Federalist party was then removed, leaving us with no political parties. Without these political parties, ideas could be expressed openly to anyone, people still had beliefs of course, but could be more open to everyone’s ideas, and not just the people in their party. John C. Calhoun stated in congress, “Let us, then, bind the republic together with a perfect system of roads and canals. Let us conquer space” (Doc. B). These were the lengthy internal improvements that needed to be made in order for us to sustain our rapidly growing population.
This was our way to stay powerful and keep from becoming a, “disunion”. It also gave us quicker traveling times, and a more efficient way of importing goods to the U.S, or exporting goods elsewhere. The 4th of July celebration in 1819 was truly a perfect display of nationalism (Doc. C). It was everyone gathered together to celebrate our country’s independence. We had a large group of people together just happy and enjoying the prosperous nation we were beginning to have. The Monroe Doctrine was a way of the U.S saying, we are extremely powerful, confident, and will not tolerate any countries trying to settle in North or South America (Doc. H). Sectionalism didn’t really go with the time period of the “Era of good feeling.” We had the northern and southern regions going in two different directions.
We had the northern people as more sophisticated and industrialized(Doc. E), and then the south much less industrialized, and more focussed on agriculture and slavery (Doc. G). The south had a staple crop in cotton, making slaves a priority amongst the growing plantations. With slave trade banned since 1807, now in 1815-1825 it was much more difficult for the south to obtain the slaves needed in order to profit from the cotton being grown, leading to natural reproduction of slaves on all plantations. When Missouri first gained admission as a state, the Tallmadge amendment was submitted by James Tallmadge Jr. Tallmadge is a proponent of slavery, and the idea was that it would slowly cancel out slavery in Missouri until it was gone altogether. The amendment passed in house, but the senate then agreed to a form of the Missouri Compromise (Doc. F) which didn’t include the Tallmadge amendment. So altogether the Tallmadge amendment was just brushed to the side.
The Missouri Compromise made all of the area gained by the Louisiana Purchase above the 36’30 parallel, non slave states, while every state below that parallel, was considered to be a slave state. Nationalism and sectionalism kind of go hand in hand. One can alter the other, for example splitting the north and south with the 36’30 parallel could have altered nationalism of the country because of the fact that all states were not abiding by the same rules, and had different cultures both regions. Another could be that one area believed in slavery, while the other was completely opposed to it and just paid the Irish and poor whites (still slavery in a way, you just get a small sum of money for the hard work you do). To sum it all up, the “Era of good feeling” was an accurate statement with our rising nationalism, but not so accurate when it came to sectionalism.