The Era of Good Feeling
“The Era of Good Feeling” was a time of increased nationalism and prosperity for the nation. This of course is not completely true, debates over many important issues created a crack in the outward appearance of harmony during President Monroe’s two terms. These issues include sectionalism, foreign policy of isolationism and the rights of states vs. the rights of the federal government.
During Monroe’s two terms, sectionalism, an excessive regard for sectional or local interest, increased greatly. This increase in sectionalism is due to acts like the Tariff of 1816. A tell tale sign that the Tariff of 1816 was going to cause sectionalism was that in the U.S. House of Representatives, the bill was passed by representatives in every section of the country except for the south. (In the south, “23 votes in favor, 34 against”.) The Tariff of 1816 was a protective tariff made to protect manufacturers from foreign competition. This protective tariff however, only helped the north because basically all of the United States’ manufacturing was being done in the north east. Since this protective tariff drove up the prices of foreign goods, the south wasn’t able to trade cash crops for manufactured goods of Europe for the same low prices that they had in the past. This of course caused great tension between the two sections of the country because the south viewed the north as the only ones being helped by the national government. Another issue that caused sectionalism was the debate over slavery. The authors of the constitution believed that slavery would eventually die out with the abolishment of the slave trade in 1808. This of course couldn’t be farther from what really happened. With the invention of the cotton gin, cotton production became a staple part of the American economy, with this mass production of cotton came an increased need for slave labor. Debates over slavery and whether it should be legal would cause...
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