Teaching Students About the History of Sectionalism in the United States
Sectionalism refers to the political and economic divide that existed between different regions of the United States in the mid-19th century. This divide ultimately led to the Civil War. As an educator, it is important to teach students about sectionalism and its impact on the country’s history.
One of the first steps in teaching about sectionalism is to provide a historical context. Students should understand the differences between the North and the South, including their economies, social structures, and political beliefs. Additionally, students should be introduced to the different events that contributed to sectional tension, such as the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
To help students understand the impact of sectionalism, educators can use primary sources. Students should read speeches from prominent figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis to gain a deeper understanding of their different perspectives. Additionally, students should examine political cartoons and literature from the time period that depict the differences between the North and the South.
It is also important to discuss how sectionalism led to the Civil War. Students should discuss how the election of Abraham Lincoln, who was seen as anti-slavery, prompted several southern states to secede from the United States. Additionally, students should discuss how the different economic and social systems in the North and the South ultimately created irreconcilable differences between the two regions.
In discussing sectionalism, educators should also emphasize how it still impacts the United States today. The North-South divide has continued to exist in some ways, particularly in regards to political beliefs. By understanding how sectionalism has affected the country in the past, students can better understand its influence today.