11.3 - Expansion, Nationalism, and Sectionalism

From EngageNY

As the nation expanded, growing sectional tensions, especially over slavery, resulted in political and constitutional crises that culminated in the Civil War.

American nationalism was both strengthened and challenged by territorial expansion and economic growth.
  • Students will examine how the Louisiana Purchase, the War of 1812, and the Monroe Doctrine strengthened nationalism.
  • Students will examine the market revolution, including technological developments, the development of transportation networks, the growth of domestic industries, the increased demands for free and enslaved labor, the changing role of women, and the rise of political democracy.
  • Students will examine Jackson’s presidency, noting the ways it strengthened presidential power yet challenged constitutional principles in the case of Worcester v. Georgia (1832), including the controversy concerning the Indian Removal Act and its implementation.
11.3b Different perspectives concerning constitutional, political, economic, and social issues contributed to the growth of sectionalism.
  • Students will compare different perspectives on States rights by examining the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and the nullification crisis.
  • Students will investigate the development of the abolitionist movement, focusing on Nat Turner’s Rebellion, Sojourner Truth, William Lloyd Garrison (The Liberator), Frederick Douglass (The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass and The North Star), and Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin).
  • Students will examine the emergence of the women’s rights movement out of the abolitionist movement, including the role of the Grimké sisters, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and evaluate the demands made at the Seneca Falls Convention (1848).
  • Students will examine the issues surrounding the expansion of slavery into new territories, by exploring the Missouri Compromise, Manifest Destiny, Texas and the Mexican-American war, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Dred Scott decision, and John Brown’s raid.
11.3c Long-standing disputes over States rights and slavery and the secession of Southern states from the Union, sparked by the election of Abraham Lincoln, led to the Civil War. After the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves became a major Union goal. The Civil War resulted in tremendous human loss and physical destruction.
  • Students will compare the relative strengths of the Union and the Confederacy in terms of industrial capacity, transportation facilities, and military leadership, and evaluate the reasons why the North prevailed over the South and the impacts of the war.
  • Students will examine the expansion of executive and federal power as they relate to the suspension of habeas corpus within the Union and the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Students will analyze the ideas expressed in the Gettysburg Address, considering its long-term effects.

Supporting Materials


Freedom: The Underground Railroad

Early in the history of the United States, slavery was an institution that seemed unmovable but with efforts of men and women across the country, it was toppled. In Freedom: The Underground Railroad, players are working to build up the strength of the Abolitionist movement through the use of...


The American Civil War and Reconstruction, 1850 to 1890

Draws from primary source documents to examine events leading up to the Civil War, the secession and the war itself, and the Reconstruction period. Includes a glossary, illustrations, and an appendix of primary source documents.

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