The presidential candidates of 1860 tear apart a map of
the United States in this period cartoon, symbolizing the
forces which threatened to tear the country apart and
ultimately led to the Civil War
Essential Questions
• How did sectionalism help shape the development of the
United States Constitution?
• What compromises did Congress pass in order to lessen
sectional conflicts in the early 19th century?
• What roles did John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, and Daniel
Webster play in early 19th-century sectional disputes?
• Why couldn’t politicians formulate a long-term solution to
sectional issues?
• How did the issue of sectionalism affect the development of
political parties and political theory in the 19th century?
• Why did North and South each have such strong
misconceptions about the beliefs of the other?
• Why did the election of 1860 signal the end of any possible
reconciliation between North and South?
Sectionalism and the
• Northern delegates: count
slaves for taxation, but not
• Southern delegates: count
slaves for representation, not
• Resulted in “three-fifths
• Congress agreed not to
interfere with slave trade
until 1808
Slavery and the Northwest
Ordinance of 1787
The Northwest Ordinance
• Ordinance created five
new states from
Northwest Territory
• Slavery and involuntary
servitude prohibited
• Did not affect slaves
already in Northwest
• Some still brought
slaves to territories
• Pressure to continue
slavery in Northwest
North and South: Differences
The North:
• Primarily industrial
• Mostly urban and small
• Supported tariffs and
internal improvements
• For strong central
• Relied on free labor
• Wanted to limit spread of
slavery in West
The South:
• Primarily agricultural
• Mostly small farms and
• Generally opposed tariffs
and internal improvements
• For “states’ rights”
• Relied on slavery due to
smaller population
• Supported extending slavery
in West
Early Sectional Disputes
• Hamilton wanted
government to pay off
states’ war debts; North
owed 80 percent of the
• Compromise with Jefferson
and Madison located U.S.
capital in South
• Controversy over creation
of National Bank
Alexander Hamilton
Early Sectional Disputes (cont.)
• Anger over Alien and
Sedition Acts led to
Kentucky and Virginia
• Issue of “interposition”
of state authority over
federal law would
continue into the 19th
Thomas Jefferson
The Hartford Convention
• Held in 1814–1815 by Federalists
opposed to War of 1812
• Protested war; called for
constitutional revisions; raised
concerns about secession
• Contended that states could
“interpose” their authority to
protect against unfair federal laws
• Treaty ending the war ended the
convention’s concerns
“Leap No Leap,” A cartoon
satirizing the Hartford
Discussion Questions
1. What sorts of compromises regarding sectionalism
did delegates to the Constitutional Convention
2. What references were made in the Northwest
Ordinance regarding slavery? If some could still
bring slaves into the Northwest Territory, how
effective do you think this provision was?
3. What aspect of the Hartford Convention raised
concerns about secession, and by which region?
Slavery in the Louisiana Territory
• Louisiana Territory bought from
France in 1803
• States admitted along similar rules
as the Northwest Ordinance
• Missouri applied for statehood in
• Most residents were Southerners
and slaveholders
• Admission of Missouri as a slave
state would upset balance between
number of slave and free states