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Internet Resources for Learning About Manifest Destiny and Sectionalism

Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny
This list of links to articles by the From Revolution to Reconstruction project of University of Groningen in the Netherlands provides a history of the idea of Manifest Destiny and it relationship to the culture and development of the United States. A connection is made to later ideas such as imperialism. Standard 8.8.2

Manifest Destiny: Teacher Resource Guide
It took American colonists a century and a half to expand as far west as the Appalachian Mountains, a few hundred miles from the Atlantic coast. It took another fifty years to push the frontier to the Mississippi River. Seeking cheap land and inspired by the notion that Americans had a “manifest destiny” to stretch across the continent, pioneers by 1850 pushed the edge of settlement to Texas, the Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest. This site has readings, primary sources, and teaching resources. Standard 8.8.2


Antebellum Era
In the decades before the Civil War, diverging economies contributed to growing sectional differences between the North and South. Between 1790 and 1860, commercial agriculture replaced subsistence agriculture in the North, and household production was replaced by factory production. Massive foreign immigration from Ireland and Germany greatly increased the size of cities. In the South, slavery impeded the development of industry and cities and discouraged technological innovation. This Digital History site has readings. primary sources, teaching resources for providing effective lessons on this period in American history. Standards 8.6.0 and 8.7.0

Slavery Divides North and South: 1819-1854
When Northern writer Frederick Law Olmsted toured the South in the 1850's, he could not comprehend slavery. In Louisiana he interviewed a slave, and he asked him what would he do if he were free. The slave responded that he would work, save money, buy a house and land, and he would visit his mother back in Virginia. Olmsted asked how was it possible that slaveholders could handle simply as property a creature possessing such human passions and feelings. On the other hand, Southerners also had plenty to say about Northern society. George Fitzhugh, a self-taught Virginian, published several books during the 1850s about life in the North. Northern society, he said, was a failure. Wage labor was far more exploitative than slave labor. Free laborers, he claimed, had not a thousandth part of the rights and liberties of Negro slaves. Northern workers, he thought, were slaves without masters, subject to the moral cannibalism of capitalists. Learn more about the clash of views that led to sectional divisions and finally civil war in America in the 19th century. Standards 5.4.6, 8.6.3, 8.7.2 and 8.9.5

As the new American nation moved into it's seventh decade of existence it faced several crisis that threatened to tear down the very foundations on which it stood. Sectionalism plagued the land. Instead of looking at the nation as a whole, regional separatism took hold. Southerners, westerners and northerners began to identify themselves regionally and not as Americans. The regional differences that had served to build America now threatened to destroy it. Standard 8.6.0, 8.7.0, and 8.8.0

Politics and Sectionalism in the 1850s
This is a hotlinked set of articles by the From Revolution to Reconstruction project of University of Groningen in the Netherlands providing a history of the idea of Sectionalism The early years of the nineteenth century saw a rise in sectional differences as northern and southern regions continued to pursue very different paths to economic prosperity. Political leaders used the gray areas of federalism to pursue their interests so that compromise and threats were the main tools of diplomacy. By 1850, this process of government was virtually an art-form. At issue was states having the absolute right to control their destiny verses the right of the federal government to carry out policies in the interests of all citizens. This site looks at four pivotal events in that sectional conflict: the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Bleeding of Kansas, and the Case of Dred Scott versus Sandford. Standard 8.8.2

Sectional Conflict During the 1850s
Sectional difficulties were nothing new to Americans. From the end of the Mexican War to the beginning of the Civil War, however, the United States experienced turmoil on a massive scale that gathered momentum as the decade progressed. One source of this bitter debate was the conflict with Mexico in 1846. Mexico was forced to cede a vast amount of land including all or most of present-day New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. Americans now faced the question of whether these territories would be admitted as slave states or as free states.

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