TITLE: SECTIONALISM IN EARLY U.S. AUTHOR: REX HEFNER; OKEMAH ,OK GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: 10 - 11 OVERVIEW: Most students have a problem relating to feelings and emotions of others concerning problems they are not interested in. This is especially true when the issues are removed from their experiences and references. They are much more at ease thinking of themselves as Americans than as Northerners, etc. PURPOSE: The purpose of this activity is to aid the students in putting themselves into a situation that demands a change of attitude from the 1990's to the early 1800's. Also to make it possible for them to stop the "I'd never ..." attitude and turn it to a "I can see where I might ...". OBJECTIVES: 1. List the major sectional differences in the areas of internal improvement, tariffs, taxes, slavery, etc. 2. To understand why people thought of themselves by sections more than Americans and how this slanted their views. 3. To see the purpose of compromise and value of talking about problems. 4. To see how Sectionalism eventually led to a united America. RESOURCES-MATERIALS: Library reference books, textbooks, any material that gives information about Sectionalism. ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: 1. Divide classes into three groups: Northeast, South, West. Explain that they are to represent those sections of the country. Lead discussion on what is important in or to those areas today. 2. Have the students research these areas in early American history and as a group prepare charts, graphs and reports explaining their needs and justification for these to be granted by a new national government. 3. Have the three sections convene to discuss their positions and why theirs are more important to America than the others. 4. If you have more than one section of American History, you may bring the sections together for a general debate of the issues. Use a panel or committee (like a Senate hearing) to conduct the meeting. We use our auditorium with the sections divided into three groups. They have met as a group with their counterparts from the other class and compared notes and plans. They also consider what they can and will compromise on and what they will not compromise on. 5. At the general meeting, each section is called upon to make an opening statement. 6. The chair then calls for open discussion and this is where the activity can become very active. As each group tries to push their view and deride the others. It can become heated as the students get more into their roles and forget their nationalism. 7. May have each group choose representatives for a meeting to try and work out a compromise. 8. Have representatives return and present their plan, if any, to their people. Let each group decide on compromise and reconvene. 9. Sometimes this second meet breaks down and several times the South has walked, in mass, out of the meeting with the other sections cheering and booing. 10. After, have students write their emotions about the incidents and how they reacted to the other groups' positions. Have them justify their position. Have them also include what they felt went wrong and what they felt they learned. 11. Have each section combine their individual reports into one general report to share and discuss. TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: Items 10 and 11 above give you the basis for group discussion during which students should be able to better relate to other times and other people. I have found that after this activity when I tell something some people did or didn't do my students better understand why.
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