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 two parties¾both 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 than division.
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