Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies



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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John Kurilecjmk@ofcn.org