Nationalism was a unifying factor in the 1820s. How did this nationalism influence foreign policy? What were the effects of nationalism on American foreign policy during this period, and what forces, if any, tended to negate its influence?
After the War of 1812 a new spirit of nationalism and
expansion was evident, and the nation, led by a president determined to heal
old wounds, embarked on an "era of good feelings"¾party
and sectional divisions forgotten. This spirit of unity did not last. The 1820s
and 1830s were highlighted by two forces, one divisive and the other unifying.
The first appeared during the Missouri debates and brought the issue of slavery
and its expansion to the forefront. The immediate question¾which
section would control the Senate¾was dealt with through the Missouri Compromise, but the
underlying problem was more difficult to resolve. What the debates revealed was
that some of the nation saw the addition of slave states as a threat. Southern
politicians (and many of their northern counterparts) had come to equate the
expansion of slavery with the expansion of a southern political power. Countering
this sectionalism was the growing spirit of nationalism and the emergence of
with a national following. These developments seemed to overshadow sectional
concerns, and with the election of Andrew Jackson, one of the most popular political
figures since George Washington, the nation seemed more concerned with unity
Nov 21st, 2014
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