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date: 30 March 2017

Race, Sectionalism, and Religion in America

Summary and Keywords

Sectionalism denotes the division of a country, such as the United States, into sections based on shared cultures, religions, and racial, economic, and political identities. These sections then compete, putting their interests over those of the other sections. In the case of the United States, one of the most significant sectional conflicts was the Civil War, where North and South battled due to conflict over racial, economic, religious, and political differences. However, sectional conflict can be seen as early as British colonialism during which time the colonies competed with each other and with their governments in Europe and later as other sections such as the West developed its own characteristics and interests. Religion and race were frequently at the core of sectional conflicts, in everything from the Revolutionary War, the drafting of the Constitution, the failure of compromise regarding slavery, and the intermittent battles with Native Americans over land and religious practice to the emergence of the West and the great immigration and religious innovation that took place there. In all these cases, sections constructed identities in which race and religion were fundamental and were also significant points of contention. Even today, at the beginning of the 21st century, sectionalism continues with geographic sections still battling for dominance, and cultural sections square off in what is commonly called the culture wars.

Keywords: sectionalism, race and religion, slavery, Native Americans, religion, colonialism, sectional conflict, identities

Defining Sectionalism in Reference to Religion and Race

The terms “religion,” “race,” and “sectionalism” each represent complex and contested historical subjects, even more so when combined. While the historical constructions and disputed definitions of religion and race are common discussions within studies of religion, sectionalism is less common and can easily be confused with regionalism. Sectionalism, as a field of historical inquiry, was primarily established by Frederick Jackson Turner in the 1920s and 1930s in reference to his ideas about the West and the closing of the frontier.1 Sectionalism examines the ways in which geographically bounded spaces intersect with political, cultural, and economic interests, and how these interests are negotiated with competing sections. Other scholars have built on and broadened Turner’s ideas, applying them to historical and sociological studies, emphasizing the differences between regionalism and sectionalism. Sociologist Howard W. Odum highlighted these differences in his work on southern culture. He wrote that “regionalism envisages the Nation first” and that its interests are the “final arbiter” in regional conflict. In contrast, sectionalism “sees the region first and the nation afterwards.” He adds, “Sectionalism features separateness, regionalism connotes component and constituent parts of the larger national culture.”2

Turner stresses that the United States has been sectional since its founding and that much of the U.S. Constitution and the organization within it were designed to negotiate sectional differences. For instance, an early sectional conflict arose in the Constitutional Congress over taxation and representative apportionment, especially in regards to slaves and the census. The South wanted slaves to augment population totals in relation to congressional representation apportionment but minimize taxes in relation to their designation as property. The three-fifths compromise written into the Constitution was the short-lived solution. Similarly, Governor Morris, who represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Congress, argued that the eastern states should always have greater representation in Congress because those in the West were backwards and uneducated. “If the Western people get the power into their hands they will ruin the Atlantic interests. The back members are always most averse to the best measures.”3 Morris’s statement not only illustrates his disdain for “Western people,” but it also reveals his fear that western states could grow so large that they could dominate Congress.

When sectionalism is applied to the history of religion in the United States, it not only takes into account geography, culture, economics, and politics but also religious difference and sectarianism. Differences between Christianity and Judaism, or Protestants and Catholics, are also considered as part of the make-up of the geographical section and contributing components to the conflict. Thus, religious conflict escalates when it is aligned with other sectional interests. One of the earliest sectional conflicts related to religion and the founding of America was in regard to the Establishment Clause. Some of the first members of Congress did not think the Establishment Clause was necessary. Moreover, some interpreted the clause to be an impediment to established religion in each state. This was a particular concern for New England because all the established state religions outside New England were Church of England, also known as Anglican, whereas New England was Congregationalist, with the exception of Rhode Island. Benjamin Huntington, representing Connecticut in the U.S. House of Representatives during the first Congress, opposed the Establishment Clause. He thought that it might be interpreted with “such latitude” that it ultimately would “be extremely hurtful to the cause of religion.” As an example, he noted that “congregations to the eastward were maintained by contributions.” He worried that if a member did not pay and “was brought before a federal court on any of these cases, the person who had neglected to perform his engagements could not be compelled to do it; for a support of ministers or buildings of places of worship might be construed into a religious establishment.”4 He did not want those outside of New England using the federal power to interfere with the New England religious establishment.

Sectionalism is frequently motivated by contentious issues such as race, and religion, but it can also be motivated by nationalism. For instance, when North America was first colonized, the colonies faced a variety of pressures leading them to act in ways that were advantageous for their purposes but did not serve the interests of the European empire of which they were a part. As a result, American sectionalism does not begin with Independence, but with the establishment of the thirteen colonies, and their responses to pressure unique to their presence in North America.

British, French, and Spanish Competition for Land and Native Allies in the 17th Century

Because the American sectional conflicts that arose during the late 18th century had their roots in nationalist battles by the European powers, it becomes important to look at the colonial tensions and encounters in 17th-century North America. Both British and French colonists settled territories east of the Mississippi and both nations competed for land and resources, as well as influence over the various native tribes. Religion was a significant part of this negotiation. The French Catholics attempted to convert or at least build alliances with various native tribes, as did the Protestant British. However, the French strategy was to incorporate Catholicism into the existing native traditions while the British colonists, especially Puritan New Englanders, attempted to replace native traditions altogether. Even when the Puritans were seemingly successful in conversions, they never fully trusted the native converts. One result was native “Praying Towns” built on the edges of British colonial communities in New England in the mid- to late 17th century. Here the Puritan colonists insisted the native converts abandon their past traditions and clothing and live as Europeans. Yet, even when hundreds of natives did meet these demands and took residence in the dozen or so praying towns, they were treated as second-class citizens due to their race and suspicion that they were not sincere in their conversion.

The tension between the colonists and natives came to a head in the King Phillips War, also called Metacom’s Rebellion, in 1677. Natives, who had been allies of the British, rebelled against continued British encroachment of land and a series of conflicts and treaties that put the natives at a disadvantage. Many of the natives in the Praying Towns sided with the rebellion and rose up against the colonists. At the rebellion’s end, the British were victorious and the tribes who participated in the conflict were decimated. However, the colonists also suffered great losses which included damage to their fragile infrastructure. No longer trusting the natives, ten of the fourteen Praying Towns were closed. In the four remaining, suspicion and tension arose between the British colonists and the natives in the communities. These tensions continued and occasionally erupted into struggle between the Puritan colonists and the natives, often encouraged by the French.

In other colonies, interactions with the natives varied. First, many of the colonies that were established late in the century inherited preexisting political, economic, and religious relations. Second, there was no established British institution dedicated to missionizing the natives until 1701 when the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts was established by the Church of England. In contrast, Roman Catholic Jesuit priests were making great inroads among the native populations. The French had taken a different approach to introducing Catholicism. Instead of insisting that the natives abandon their previous religious practices, the French encouraged the natives to incorporate Catholicism into their existing traditions. Moreover, French Catholic settlements and forts aimed to better incorporate natives, establishing trade outposts along rivers to facilitate interaction with natives not directly in contact with their settlements. They described their relationships with North American natives as “alliances.” These relationships, they claimed, were entered into with native consent. While the French did not necessarily consider the natives their equals, they understood them to be a separate people who although not necessarily French subjects would still show reverence to the French Crown. The exception to this was when a native became a Christian. Then, the convert would automatically become a French subject. Patricia Seed notes that while all the European colonists attempted to foster relationships with natives, “only the French described the basis of their on-going political relationship to natives as an alliance, created by visible evidence of native consent.”5

Finally, in addition to the French and British, the Spanish also competed for land and influence over the natives. The Spanish were the first to begin colonization in the New World, starting with the Caribbean and large parts of South and Central America. In the 18th century, they made their way up the West coast of North America establishing a series of missions along the Pacific coast of what is now California. However, prior to their activity on the West coast, they traveled up the Atlantic coast of what is now the Florida peninsula and established outposts and forts along the way. The most northern of these cities was St. Augustine, established in 1565 and located 70 miles south of the modern Georgia‒Florida border. From St. Augustine, the Spanish continued to colonize parts of Florida including the establishment of Mission San Luis in 1633, located near present-day Tallahassee, the modern capital of the state of Florida. Along with their efforts to establish settlements, the Spanish partnered with various native tribes, incorporating them into their new communities and attempting to convert them to Catholicism. However, these missions were also seen as a threat by the British Colonists and would eventually lead to war.

International Wars and British Colonial Conflict in the 18th Century

The Spanish claimed the British were occupying land that Spain owned, and the British saw the Spanish presence as a threat both militarily and religiously. While the Spanish did not have the military power to directly challenge the British colonists, they disrupted and undermined southern commercial operations. This included encouraging slave insurrection and escape as early as the 1680s. While the Spanish also had slaves, in many ways their policies were much more liberal. Moreover, they treated escaped British fugitive slaves better than their previous owners, frequently paying them wages.

While the first fugitive slaves from British colonies arrived in St. Augustine as early as 1688, it was not until the beginning of the 18th century that skirmishes between Spain and the southern British colonies became frequent. Fugitive slaves were given asylum and their presence precipitated the politically motivated decision to offer sanctuary to any fugitive slave who could make it to St. Augustine. Such an offer unsettled British colonists and led them to attack St. Augustine and occupy it in 1700. This conflict lasted until 1702 when the Spanish brought in reinforcements and pushed the British back north. Skirmishes between the Spanish and British continued, with one side or the other raiding plantations, stealing slaves, and generally attempting to terrorize and destabilize the other. For instance, Mission San Luis was evacuated in 1704 because of an approaching militia composed of South Carolina colonists and Creek natives. Continued tensions led to the establishment of the colony of Georgia as a buffer between South Carolina and Florida in 1733. In the same year the Spanish King, Phillip V, signed an edict explicitly offering freedom to any fugitive slave who escaped from the British colonies. Both slaves and their owners in the South were aware of this edict and it heightened anxiety within the colonies fearing slave rebellion. This anxiety was realized in 1739 when a slave revolt erupted in Stono, South Carolina. Approximately a hundred slaves attempted to escape south to St. Augustine, breaking into houses and killing between forty to fifty whites as they went. However, the governor rallied a militia which put an end to the uprising, killing about forty slaves and dispersing the rest, some of whom returned to their previous masters, hoping their absence went unnoticed.

The Middle Colonies and New England faced sporadic native conflict with no end in sight. The French and the British in New France and northern New England continued battling for decades after the end of Metacom’s War. Attacks were frequently facilitated by the French using native allies, particularly the native Wabanaki Confederacy, composed of five tribes located in present-day Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and a portion of Quebec south of the St. Lawrence River. Numerous small wars arose between the British and the French and their native allies all along the disputed western borders of the colonies. However, in 1754, the local conflicts in North America escalated into an international conflict, the French and Indian War, also called the Seven Years’ War in Europe. This conflict lasted almost a decade and geographically spanned from Nova Scotia to Virginia and as far inland as what is now Ohio, predominantly affecting New England and the Middle Colonies.

The war began in May 1754 when, a young Lieutenant Colonel, George Washington led a Virginia militia to attack the French. They had attacked British colonists constructing a fort, causing the Battle of Jumonville Glen. The attack quickly escalated to hostilities between France and Great Britain, leading to a mutual declaration of war in the spring of 1756. Battle after battle raged between the French and British, both on land, in various parts of North America, and at sea. Initially the Spanish were neutral, but in 1761, the Spanish king, Charles III, the son of Philip V, and second cousin of the French king, Louis XV, entered the conflict and sided with France. The French achieved early success in battle; however, over time both the French and Spanish suffered great losses and sued for peace. With the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the hostilities ended and Britain gained all the land east of the Mississippi, and the French held Canadian territory. As provisions of this treaty, the western portion of the newly acquired British land was designated for the natives. All the land east of the Mississippi river and west of the newly designated Proclamation line was to be occupied by natives. Moreover, the treaty obligated Britain to respect and protect the religious rights of Catholics in its new territories.

British Colonial Sectionalism, Self-Governance, and Internal Conflicts of Interest

During the French and Indian War, British colonists cooperated with the British government as subjects of the Crown, but were accustomed to self-rule. In many ways, the colonies attended to their own business, interacting with the British government and other European colonies only when necessary. As John Ferling writes: “Each colony had a long, unbroken history as a separate entity. Each had its own charter, institutions, history, statutes, and identity. Each was independent of the others, generally liked it that way, and hoped to remain unfettered by ties to anyone, save the mother country.”6 Nevertheless, there was recognition that certain colonies shared interests with others. The result was an internal sectionalism that divided the colonies into three: New England, the Middle Colonies, and the South.

The internal sections within the thirteen colonies were based on a number of factors including race and ethnicity, religion, class, and economics. New England was the most homogeneous, consisting predominantly of Puritan British North Americans, although Rhode Island was much more religiously diverse. Nevertheless, religion and government had close ties in New England and the residents were keen to protect their system of governance and freedom to practice their Puritan religion, in contrast to the Anglicanism that was dominant in the other colonies.

The southern colonies consisted primarily of Anglican British North Americans, although there were other Protestant denominations, and a vast number of African slaves. By the early 18th century, African slave populations were on the rise. This increase was due to both the indigenous slaves, born in the colonies, and from imports from Africa and the Caribbean. South Carolina had one of the most active southern ports. By the early 18th century, the state imported 1,500 to 2,500 slaves annually.7 The large increase in slaves, coupled with higher infant mortality rates and a shorter life expectancy in the South, when compared to the rest of the colonies,8 resulted in blacks outnumbering whites by huge ratios. Not surprising, this imbalance pushed race issues and their connections to labor and the economy to the forefront of southern concerns.

The Middle Colonies, situated in between New England and the South, were characterized by their religious, racial, and ethnic diversity. Joseph Tiedemann notes that by the mid-18th century, the Middle Colonies were host to a large variety of religious traditions including Anglicans, Presbyterians, assorted Calvinist traditions, different forms of Lutheranism, Quakers, Moravians, Methodists, Anabaptists, Baptists, Jews, and Catholics. He also observes that both race and ethnicity were diverse including Africans and African Americans, both free and enslaved, Native Americans from different tribes and nations, Dutch, German, French, English, Welsh, Scottish, Scots-Irish, Irish, and Swiss.9 As a result of this diversity, the Middle Colonies were often discordant, whereas the interests of the South and New England were much more uniform.

These internal differences, however, were challenged after the French and Indian War, leading to greater cooperation of the states. This was because the war doubled the British government’s debts and they sought ways to diminish its burden. The British Parliament imposed a variety of taxes on the colonists who they saw as the main beneficiaries of the war. The initial tax, the Stamp Act of 1765 required the colonists to pay a tax for each printed item they purchased. The colonists understood the matter differently. Having a history of self-governance since their inception, the colonists resented the imposition of taxes without any representation in their passing. They were used to electing their own governing bodies who implemented laws and taxes and not to being governed from afar.

Internal Sectionalism Suspended for National Sectionalism

As the tension between the colonies and the British government escalated, the colonies began to cooperate among themselves more and recognize their own self-interests in contrast to those in Europe. Trans-Atlantic relations deteriorated in the 1770s with the British Parliament passing additional taxes, and colonists resisting them through protests. One of the notable acts of resistance was the “Boston Tea Party,” where, in December 1773, colonists seized cargos of tea from ships and threw them into Boston harbor, protesting the Tea Act of May 1773. Hostilities continued to increase with a series of punitive laws passed by the British Parliament. Called the “Intolerable Acts” by colonists, the laws closed Boston harbor, radically changed how the colonies were governed and court venues were determined. They also expanded the land controlled by the French-speaking Quebec, causing it to border parts of New England and established Roman Catholicism as a state religion, guaranteeing Catholic practice, including the ability of the Church to collect tithes. This establishment of Catholicism was seen by the colonists as rewarding their former enemies and threatening the Protestant hegemony found within the colonies.

In an attempt to resolve the disputes with the British homeland, the colonial governments sent delegates to the central state of Pennsylvania to form the Continental Congress in 1774. Together they were able to organize an economic boycott of Great Britain and petitioned the British Crown for a redress of grievances. Yet, cooperation had its limits and the accomplishments of the congress were hindered by sectionalism, pitting the colonies against each other. This was illustrated by the fact that Georgia did not send any delegates because it was in need of British military assistance to counter attacks by native tribes. The following year, in May, a second Continental Congress was convened and eventually delegates from all the colonies were in attendance, Georgia sending its delegates in July.

This second Continental Congress oversaw the initial responses to the increasing violence between the colonists and the British military. In the month prior, the British had opened fire on the colonists in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, both in Massachusetts, beginning the American Revolutionary War. With the issuing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the revolution shifted to the War for Independence and was overseen by the Continental Congress, who placed George Washington in charge of the colonial military forces. Over the course of the conflict, the British found resistance increasing and victories few. By the spring of 1776, France and Spain had declared war on Great Britain, becoming allies with the Americans. Hostilities continued but the combined efforts of the American revolutionaries alongside the efforts of the French and Spanish resulted in few gains for the British. By 1782, the British government voted to end the war with the formal peace treaty being signed in 1783.

Independence, Confederation, and Ultimately Constitutional Unity

Toward the end of the War for Independence, the Continental Congress shifted to become the Congress of the Confederation. This body, which began in 1781, was tasked with governing under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union adopted by the Continental Congress in 1778. The provisions of the Articles of Confederation generally favored the sovereignty and independence of the states while reserving the rights of international relations, declaring war, signing treaties, and appointing ambassadors. In areas of taxation and commerce, the powers of the Congress of the Confederation were limited. It could not levy taxes and depended on the states to contribute funds to the congress to pay for expenses and debts related to the war. Many states failed to contribute funds because they deemed their own needs greater than the congress’s or the confederated government’s needs.

The inadequacy of the Congress of the Confederation and Articles of Confederation became clear when in 1786, Secretary of State John Jay negotiated a treaty with Spain that would have given them exclusive navigation rights on the Mississippi for twenty-five years. The Spanish had closed the port of New Orleans to the Americans and Jay was attempting to address this. However, as the American position was weak, he ended up capitulating to Spanish demands for access to the river in return for Spain’s opening European and Caribbean seaports to American shipping, which primarily benefited the northeastern states. Few of the states supported Jay’s treaty, and it failed to be ratified thus demonstrating the inability of the congress to challenge the interest of the states.

By 1787, it was clear to all the states that the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were inadequate to serve their needs internationally and to overcome the self-interests of the states and their sections. A convention was called in Philadelphia to adjust the articles and remedy many of their defects. However, many of the attendees realized that the Confederacy was not salvageable and a new form of government was needed. Once the delegates were convinced of this reality, they began the process of drafting a new Constitution. The majority of the debates revolved around the executive and legislative branches. The judiciary was left as a framework for the initial congresses to fill in. One of the first votes taken within the convention was a secrecy rule. No copies of the convention documents could be taken from the meetings, no discussion of the proceedings could be shared with anyone from the home states, and no one could consult outsiders regarding the provisions debated. This allowed all the delegates to fully debate the various aspects of the proposed Constitution without the interference of the public or the intrusion of sectional differences into the debates. The result at the end of the convention was a draft Constitution sent to be ratified by the states.

The process of ratification began shortly after the draft was completed in 1787. Unlike the Articles of Confederation that required unanimous agreement, the Constitution was passed and considered binding within all states, if nine of the thirteen states ratified it. Three of the Middle States, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey ratified the draft the same year. In 1788, all the New England states, except Rhode Island, followed suit as did the remaining Middle States and all the southern states, except North Carolina. The nine-state threshold was met by mid-1788 and the new government began organizing for the first U.S. Congress operating under the U.S. Constitution. It met in New York in March 1789. During its meeting, it set the electors for president and vice president, who elected George Washington as the president and John Adams as vice president. They were sworn into their office in April 1789. While the majority of the congressional members were Federalists, there were still quite a few anti-Federalists who had grave concerns about the coercive powers of the new government. As the ratification of the Constitution by many states was based on the promise of a Bill of Rights, the new Congress began to work out these provisions. Meanwhile North Carolina ratified the Constitution in November 1789 and sent representatives to subsequent congresses. Rhode Island was the last to ratify the Constitution in May 1790. This is not surprising, as it had also opposed the revision of the Articles of the Confederation, not sending any delegates to the convention. Congress sent twelve constitutional amendments for consideration by the states. Ten of these were ratified by 1791 becoming what is now called the Bill of Rights. With the establishment of a stable and strong central government, the United States was better able to moderate interstate conflicts and to cope with international negotiations. Yet, even in this time of unity, the issues that caused greatest controversy between the sections remained unaddressed. At the core of these conflicts were the issues of race, including both slavery and Native Americans, and religion, including religious diversity and establishment.

New Religious Institutions and State Governments for a New Country

As the country was transitioning from the 18th century to the 19th century, Americans also had to reinvent their religious institutions. Protestant churches had to adjust their relationship to European congregations and the parent ecclesiastical organizations. One of the most significant was the Episcopal Church. Connecticut sent Samuel Seabury to England to become a consecrated bishop. However, the consecration included an oath of allegiance to the English crown. Unable to make such a commitment, Seabury obtained consecration in Aberdeen, Scotland, and began to consecrate American Episcopal bishops in 1785. By 1789, the Episcopal Church had adopted a new constitution, a revised Book of Common Prayer, and completed its reorganization to be an independent church. Nevertheless, it remained in communion with the Church of England. Around the same time, other Protestant churches began to reorganize themselves, adapting to the new American context. The Methodist Episcopal Church in America was founded in 1784, with Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury as its initial bishops. In 1788, the Presbyterian synod met in Philadelphia to form the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.

Philadelphia was also the location where freed blacks founded the Free African Society in 1787. This movement eventually led to the formation of the independent Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1793, under the leadership of Rt. Rev. Richard Allen. White Methodists in Philadelphia insisted the church could not be independent and had to remain under white control. Allen took them to court twice, in 1807 and 1815, to obtain institutional independence. The result was the founding of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1816, the first independent Protestant church in America created for blacks. The oversight of Roman Catholicism in North America shifted from England to America in 1784 when the Holy See created the Apostolic Prefecture of the United States and Pope Pius VI appointed Father John Carroll head of the Catholic Church in America. Other churches, such as Congregationalists, Lutherans, and Baptists, already had independent institutional structures. Baptist churches were generally independent, although they frequently joined non-controlling associations, conventions, and conferences. Lutherans established a variety of synods based on geography and theology. Congregationalists had established their independence in North America, especially in New England, during the colonial period and were the established church in many New England states. Some churches, such as the Moravians, maintained strong European connections, even after the founding of America. Judaism continued to be focused on the local or regional level, with temple and synagogue congregations attending to their community’s needs. Nevertheless, with the country’s adoption of a new Constitution, American Jewish temples and synagogues rewrote their governing documents, substituting the term askamot, meaning agreements or covenants, for constitution, and including other language regarding freedom and democracy.10

With their emergence as a new country, Americans began to adjust to their new government. Initially the states had to determine what rights they retained and what rights were reserved for the federal government. In terms of religion, most people assumed that the Bill of Rights, in general, and the First Amendment, in particular, applied only to the federal government and not to the states. This was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1833 with the case of Barron v. Baltimore.11 Many, in fact, thought the amendment was to protect the states against congressional interference with state establishment. They interpreted the amendment to prohibit the U.S. Congress from “disestablishing” religious preference and religious tests for office established by state governments.

This was particularly important for New England because all of the states that composed it, except Rhode Island, were the only states to exit the Revolutionary War with a state-established religion intact. For some this was short-lived. For instance, Vermont ended its system of religious support in 1807. But for others, establishment continued well into the 19th century. Connecticut left its ecclesiastical taxes and state support for Congregationalism in place after the war, not even adopting a new constitution. Instead it simply amended its Royal Charter to reflect its new independent status. This persisted until 1818 when a state constitution was adopted and Congregationalism disestablished. Similarly, New Hampshire did not modify its laws of ecclesiastical support until 1819 when it passed a law instituting religious toleration. However, the law allowed towns to use public funds to support Protestant ministers. This law would stay on the books, although rarely enforced, for most of the 19th century. Massachusetts retained its state establishment the longest, eventually repealing its state support for Congregationalism in 1833.12 The conflicts between state and federal government continued, with each stressing its superiority in numerous contentious issues, with slavery and Indian removal being two of the most difficult.

The Missouri Compromise, Westward Expansion, and Sectional Realignment

The two-thirds compromise, as defined in the Constitution, attempted to solve the problem of how slaves were counted in regard to the census. It did not, however, address the problem of legislative representation and balance between states that allowed slavery and states that did not. In 1789, five states were considered “free” states, that is, they passed laws to outlaw, or at least phase out slavery. In contrast, eight states were considered “slave” states allowing slavery within their territories. However, by 1800, there were nine free states and eight slave states. In 1819, continued westward expansion saw the establishment of more and more states which exacerbated the ongoing contentions over slavery in Congress. To resolve future conflicts and maintain a balance of free and slave states, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise. The Compromise established Missouri and Alabama as slave states, excluded slavery from the Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north, the southern boundary of Missouri, and admitted the state of Maine as a free state. When completed, the results were a balance of twelve states for each side.

In terms of sectionalism, the Missouri Compromise is also a useful marker to note how the sectional divisions of America were changing. No longer were the three divisions of New England, Middle States, and the South useful. Now it was shifting to become the North, the South, and the West. As America continued to expand toward the Pacific, it created more states, and continually encroached on Native American land, resulting in ongoing conflict between the various Native American tribes, and the state and federal governments of the United States. While land was always a contentious issue between settlers and natives, it was under President Andrew Jackson that the Indian Removal Act of 1830 was signed into law. This act allowed the president to allocate unsettled land west of the Mississippi River to natives within existing states. This began the forced removal of natives from eastern states which included the “Trail of Tears,” a forced relocation of Cherokee Indians that resulted in over 4,000 native deaths. Natives were then given reserved lands, or reservations in different parts of the West. However, over time, as more states formed in the West, land composing these reservations became contested, and it was not uncommon for Americans to illegally settle reservation lands, for Native Americans to lose the land to dishonest speculators, or find the state and federal governments seizing it for their own use.

In addition to conflicts over land, there were contentions over Native American religion. The general American view of natives was that they were savages that needed to be Christianized. The federal government established the Office of Indian Affairs, which cooperated with churches to send missions to the Indians in an attempt to “civilize” them. It was not uncommon for the mission societies to set up communities where natives would learn Christian worship along with English and work skills. The native children frequently were taken to boarding houses where they were forbidden to speak native languages, wear native clothes, and practice native customs. To “save” the child, the missionaries believed they needed to remove the “savage” from them. But as the natives adopted Christianity, they were also participating in the missionizing. As such, native religion became an amalgam of different Christian and indigenous traditions and beliefs.

Another cause for increased tension over land in the West was gold being discovered in California in 1848. Newspapers reporting this discovery initiated a gold rush beginning in 1849 with 30,000 traveling to the state with hopes of making it rich. Another congressional compromise added California to the union in 1850. Americans migrating to California frequently encountered and had conflicts with natives. California, in retaliation against native attacks on Americans, issued bounties for native scalps, enslaved natives to work in mines and logging, and trafficked native women and children. By 1855 the gold rush cooled down, but California continued to have an influx of people. It became associated with new beginnings and new opportunity.

Slavery, Divided Churches, and a Divided Country

The Missouri Compromise was short-lived, as were the subsequent compromises aimed at maintaining a balance in Congress between slave and free states. While the 19th century unfolded, those in the North cultivated urban and commercial industries. The South remained predominantly agricultural in which slavery was a foundational part of the economy. As a result, slavery, its spread, and its place within the economics of the country became a primary point of contention between the North and the South. This conflict did not leave the churches untouched either. As the North condemned slavery as a moral evil, national church organizations would include anti-slavery language in their governing documents, pass rules prohibiting members or clergy from owning slaves, and would take active positions on abolitionism. In 1844, after a decade-long internal debate within the Methodist Episcopal Church of America, the church passed rules barring slave ownership. Southerners took issue with this and withdrew from the national organization, creating the Southern Methodist Church. Similarly, when a national call to take a stand against slavery was issued during the creation of the American Baptist Anti-Slavery Society in 1840, Southern Baptists self-organized, creating the Southern Baptist Convention. Presbyterians in America had already had numerous disputes, causing the fracturing of its national organizations. However, in response to northern Presbyterians calling for the end of slavery and the ongoing war between the sections, two of these groups in the South reconciled to create the Southern Presbyterian Church in 1864. C. C. Goen argued that these “denominational schisms, as irreversible steps along the nation’s tortuous course to violence, were both portent and catalyst of the imminent national tragedy.”13

With the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, southern states feared that the balance in Congress that had been so painfully maintained for three decades was about to end. Lincoln promoted a platform that included keeping slavery out of the western territories. He also promoted a strong federal government, diminishing state governance, whose authority the southern states favored. Since Lincoln was able to win the presidency without any southern electoral votes, the southern states understood that they no longer could oppose the North politically and thus sought to secede so that they might maintain their sovereignty. The Civil War began once South Carolina passed legislation seceding from the United States of America and began seizing important forts, arsenals, and other points of defense within the state. When South Carolina demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay and the commander refused, they began shelling the fort. This continued for thirty-four hours until the fort surrendered. Within months, additional states seceded. Together Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and South Carolina created the Confederate States of America. Later they were joined by Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, and Kentucky.

Sectional politics, the conflict over slavery, states’ rights, and political dominance drove the weaker national section into secession and began the Civil War. This is illustrated in the secession document for Alabama, which identified, in their view, “a sectional party,” that is the Republican Party that elected Lincoln as President, has been “avowedly hostile to the domestic institutions and to the peace and security of the people of the State of Alabama,” and that this hostility was proceeded by “many and dangerous infractions of the constitution of the United States by many of the States and people of the Northern section.”14

The North, in turn, understood the secession as the final step in a series that attempted to protect slavery from the growing economic, political, and moral pressure to end it. Some politicians attempted to find compromise with southern states, even open to the possibility of a constitutional amendment securing slavery. Still others were unconcerned about the secession and thought the states had a right to leave. The last group, which included Lincoln, saw the action as illegal and against the Constitution which bound the states to the union once adopted. However, to understand these perspectives, the context of the moment should be understood. As the industrial North was growing, the South was stagnating. This meant increasing power in the House of Representatives and Senate for the North, and with the addition of each state to the union, the potential to become more unbalanced. Northern churches were continuing their abolitionist crusades and helping slaves get to Canada through the Underground Railroad, subverting the unpopular Fugitive Slave Laws. In March 1857, the Supreme Court issued the Dred Scott15 opinion, which declared a black man a nonperson regardless of the status of slavery in the state. This caused abolitionists to increase their efforts to get slaves to Canada. In 1857, a series of economic problems caused a panic in the stock exchanges resulting in the closures of businesses in the North and West, thus causing thousands to lose their jobs. This resulted in calls in Congress for more tariffs to protect northern jobs, a call that the South rejected. Finally, in 1859, when John Brown, a northern abolitionist, attempted to lead a slave uprising in Harper’s Ferry, southerners quelled the uprising and hung Brown, but feared it was just the beginning of northern violence against the South due to slavery. Each section saw their needs and position as more important than the others and thus acted upon it. Each side desired war. The South saw a protectionist need to secede and the North saw a need to maintain the union. When Lincoln called for 75,000 men to help suppress the Confederate insurrection, and Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president, called for 32,000 men to resist a Union invasion, sectionalist interests were driving their formation. As a result, the Civil War commenced and tens of thousands died before the union was reestablished by the defeat of the Confederate States of America.

Reconstruction, the Lost Cause, Jim Crow, and the Black Church

When Lincoln took office as the president, he had no intention of abolishing slavery in the United States. However, with the war it became a political necessity. The Emancipation Proclamation made on January 1, 1863, freed all the slaves in the rebellious southern states. Of course, a proclamation is only the beginning. After the defeat of the South, thousands of former slaves would have to be helped. Many went back to work for their prior owner, but now as share croppers. Northerners flocked to the South, looking for postwar economic opportunity and the defeated southerners found some solace in religion. Charles Reagan Wilson argues that after the war, southerners aligned southern Christianity and southern culture into what was called a “Lost Cause” social identity that championed conservative values and a mythology of civility and virtue, recasting the war as redemptive and an atonement, sanctifying the future.16 But this veneer of virtue and civility was built on a foundation of violence, threatened and real. Former slaves may have had their freedom, but exercising it was difficult. As Reconstruction ended in 1877, southerners began to institute restrictive laws that curtailed the rights of blacks. These so-called Jim Crow laws blocked blacks from voting and kept blacks segregated throughout the South. White southerners also participated in a variety of forms of enforcement including vigilante lynching. Thus, while the Civil War made blacks free, they remained second-class citizens.

Although blacks were denied a prominent place within most of society’s institutions, they organized their own religious institutions. As a result, black churches became central in their lives. During slavery, blacks would sing spirituals to help endure the workload and calamities of life. Now free men and women, blacks created institutional churches that began to flourish in the latter half of the 19th century. The African Episcopal Methodist Church grew tremendously during this period, reaching a membership of 40,000 by the mid-1880s. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, founded in 1821, reached nearly 300,000 members. During this period, other black churches and denominations were founded, including the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, and numerous black Baptist churches, which joined national associations and conventions. Other denominations, such as the Presbyterians and Episcopalians, were more tolerant and allowed black churches to be established within the larger denomination. Black churches took a dominant position within the black community, and thus became a major force within southern religion.

Railroads, Asian Immigration, and Native Resistance

While the Civil War was raging, the union was also looking to expand into the West. One pivotal project was the Intercontinental Railroad. Competed in 1869, the transcontinental railroad would allow a person leaving New York to arrive in San Francisco in less than four days. But the railroad also brought more Americans from the East out West, competing with natives for land and resources. It also created an environment which promoted Asian immigration, particularly the Chinese and Japanese. The Gold Rush from 1849 to 1855 not only brought Americans from the East, it also brought Asians across the Pacific looking for opportunity. When the Pacific side of the railroad needed labor to help construct tracks, build bridges, and blast tunnels through mountains, they turned to Chinese immigrants. When there were not enough Chinese already present in California to meet the labor needs, the railroad companies began importing the labor from China. With them they brought their religious traditions and cultural practices, all of which were strange to Americans. Because the Chinese were willing to work hard and for lower wages, they also aroused resentments. The Japanese immigrants fared slightly better. America had cultivated a closer relationship with Japan, and its immigrants (though still seeming exotic to Americans) did not suffer as much discrimination. Moreover, Japan sent Buddhist monastics to California to minister to Japanese immigrants in 1893. They in turn helped establish the first Buddhist temple and organization in North America, Buddhist Missions of North America, located in San Francisco in 1899.

With the ending of the Civil War, the United States had a large, well trained, and battle-tested military that they redirected toward the natives. There were large groups of natives that refused to stay on the reservations, roaming the western parts of North America, violently resisting any attempts to control their movement. Add to this, new prophetic visions, such as those of native shaman, Wovoka, who envisioned a pan-Indian nation, and a ritual dance, the Ghost Dance, which would restore native lands, resurrect the dead, and banish the white man. Using the newest in military technology, and the extensive manpower of the U.S. Army, the natives who resisted were either killed or disarmed. The end of the Indian Wars came in 1890 when, on December 29, 1890, at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, hundreds of native men, women, and children were killed by the U.S. Army during an attempted disarmament. Such a horrific and brutal event caused the remaining natives to surrender and settle in the reservations. This cleared the way for America to set reservation boundaries and for the final states to enter the union. Thus, within just a couple decades, Utah (1896), Oklahoma (1907), New Mexico (1912), and Arizona (1912) would be the last continental states to enter the union.

Gilded Age, Western Populism, and Southern Discontent and Migration

As Reconstruction ended, the northern states were experiencing a period of rapid economic growth, dubbed the Gilded Age, by Mark Twain. Wealthy industrialists and financiers, sometimes called “Robber Barons” by their critics, were building massive industries at the expense of their workers. In the West, the working classes felt their interests were not being represented. In the South, discontented southern whites were also resentful of the North and the diminished social and political position of the South. Both the West and South turned to Nebraska congressman William Jennings Bryan in 1896 as a presidential hopeful. Bryan presented a populist and Christian platform at the Democratic convention, ending his speech saying, “Having behind us the producing masses of this nation . . . we will answer . . . them: ‘You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.’” With his popular message, he secured the Democratic nomination. Despite his strong appeal to the working classes, the Republican William McKinley won the election, supported by the wealthy, middle-class, and urban voters of the North.

McKinley continued policies that favored the North, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry, and maintained the gold standard, which benefited the financial establishments of the Northeast. However, McKinley was assassinated in 1901, which led to the vice president, Teddy Roosevelt, being made president. Roosevelt favored a progressive agenda and, having spent time in the West, identified with the workers there; thus, he instituted policies that addressed many of their concerns. He also instituted the National Park system. By the beginning of the 20th century, the vast majority of land east of the Mississippi had been claimed by private ownership. Roosevelt saw an opportunity to create national parks, allocated large sections of western lands to the federal government, conserving them for the rest of the nation. This culminated in the National Park system which was founded in 1916.

As the 20th century opened, southern blacks faced daunting challenges due to segregation, lynching, and other forms of oppression by southern whites. This inaugurated a massive migration of backs from the South to the North and the West. From 1910 to 1930, over a million and a half, or 10 percent of blacks in America relocated from the southern states to the North. This event is often called the Great Migration. While the South treated blacks poorly, they were dependent on their labor. The Great Migration exposed this weakness. In response, Southerners rescinded some of the more severe Jim Crow laws, paid blacks higher wages, and addressed some aspects of the poor living conditions. The migration tapered off in the 1930s as the United States entered the Great Depression. Blacks migrating North and West brought with them their religious worship. As a result, in the places where large populations of migrating backs settled, new black churches formed, maintaining their important place in the black community.

The Frontier Closes, Immigration, and Shifts in Sectionalism Identity

When Frederick Jackson Turner declared the frontier closed in 1925, he was acknowledging that there was nowhere else for America to expand and that it had to reckon with its bounded spaces. Moreover, Americans also had to recognize that others were seeing America as a place to begin anew and there was massive immigration from all over the world. This kindled nativist tendencies among white Protestants. The influx of Roman Catholics and Jews was especially troubling to nativists. This was especially true for the northern states where the vast majority of immigrants entered the country. While Catholics and Jews were always present in America, the beginning of the 20th century saw an influx that alarmed many. In Atlanta, Georgia, in 1915, nativist bigotry led to the reestablishment of the Ku Klux Klan as the first incarnation had died out in the 1870s. While the Klan certainly was opposed to blacks and Jews, their primary targets were Roman Catholics who they saw as a direct threat to the Protestant Christian heritage of America.

Yet, despite some who feared the influx of different religions, others welcomed it, seeing America as a place for all religions to flourish. Liberal Christians, particularly in the North, celebrated pluralism and religious tolerance. The South took a conservative position, favoring Protestantism, frequently Evangelical Christianity. Having few established religious traditions, the West became a region of religious experimentation and atheism. It is where Pentecostalism became established, promoting the inclusion of both whites and blacks worshiping together and, much later, the rise of many new religious movements.

After World War II, with the returning veterans, and the increased immigrations, especially after the change in immigration laws in the mid-1960s, sectionalist pressures diminished. Internal migrations within America also contributed to diminished sectional pressure. For instance, many southerners migrated West, bringing with them the conservative Evangelical values they then introduced, helping realign the Midwestern part of America to be more in line with the traditional South. In contrast, those in the Central and Pacific Northwest became less religious, as did many in northern urban environments. As a result, by the end of the 20th century, sectional conflict took on a religious, social, and political context. In the 1980s, this became known as the “Culture Wars.” At the close of the 20th century, the “New South” was no longer as agricultural as it used to be. It is true that Americans still see the nation divided into sections, southerners, Californians, Pacific Northwesterners, Midwesterners, easterners, or New Englanders, but these often have more to do with identity politics, than with sectional conflict.

Review of the Literature

Sectional studies began with the work of Frederick Jackson Turner. Throughout his work, he repeatedly mentions American sectionalism as a significant factor in his historical narrative about parts of America.17 Yet it was his 1925 essay, “The Significance of Sections in American History” within the in-house journal of the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Wisconsin Magazine of History where he fully explained the theoretical basis of the term. Turner’s theory was further spread after his death in 1932 when his essays were collected and published as an anthology with the same name as his seminal essay. Turner’s sectional thesis was embraced initially by political and economic historians looking to make sense of the bitter divisions that led to so much conflict in the 19th century. This does not mean, however, that Turner invented the term or was even the first historian to utilize it. Instead, he was the first to use it as a theoretical model to examine how one section competed for resources and influence at the expense of other sections.

Many scholars have adopted sectionalism as a model of analysis with the largest number of works coming out during the 1920s and 1930s. However, as the Great Depression was developing, scholars adopted other models and shifted their research interests. By the middle of the 1930s, there was a shift from sectionalism to regionalism. One advantage to regions versus sections is that regions change dynamically, resisting the fixed borders that sectionalism promotes. For the next forty years, sectionalism was not a significant influence on American historiography.

In the 1970s, there was a resurgence of interest in sectionalism. Established sectional topics such as economics and politics were covered but also newer topics were analyzed, such as race and religion. Martin Mary’s Righteous Empire examines the complexities of sectionalism, race, and religion, focusing specifically on mainline Protestant denominations. Allan Kulikoff’s essay, “The Origins of Afro-American Society in Tidewater Maryland and Virginia, 1700 to 1790” is an early example of a focus on sectionalism and race. C. C. Goen’s Broken Churches, Broken Nation was a critical analysis of how Protestant institutions contributed to national disintegration, sectional conflict, and the Civil War. Michael Snay’s Gospel of Disunion analyzes the way ministers in the South attempted to negotiate slavery and its connections to southern religion. Snay writes, “The relationship between religious and political discourse was one way in which religion shaped the development of antebellum Southern separation.”

Until recently, the West was the least studied of the 19th-century sections. One significant aspect of its study is the role of missionaries sent from the East. Henry Bowden’s early volume, American Indians and Christian Missions: Studies in Cultural Conflict, looks at missionary efforts directed at natives and so does Constructing Lives at Mission San Francisco by Quincy Newell. In Religion and Society in Frontier California, Laurie Maffly-Kipp details how missionaries were also sent from the East to bring eastern emigrants back to church. Susan Yohn expands the scope of these missionaries, in A Contest of Faiths, by showing how Protestant women attempted to convert and “Americanize” the native Hispanic-Catholics. There was also the missionary work of the Mormons, a religious tradition which found prosperity in the West. Jan Shipps’s classic, Mormonism, notes the history of their migration from upstate New York to the founding of Utah. More recently W. Paul Reeve documents the ways race is continuously redefined in Religion of a Different Color and how for much of the 19th century, Mormons were not accepted as being white.

Another defining feature of the West is it place in the transnational migration of Hispanic-Catholics, often called borderlands and frontier studies. One provocative example is, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away, by Ramón Gutiérrez, which examines the roles of marriage and race mixing as part of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. More recently, Luis León, in La Llorona’s Children, traces the transnational networks of Guadalupe devotion and other traditions that span from Los Angeles to Central America.

Because the West was populated so quickly, it lacked the religious foundations and networks in the East and South. This facilitated great religious diversity and innovation. Within the Native American community, this diversity invoked conflict with the American government. Gregory Smoak illustrates this in his Ghost Dances and Identity, showing how prophetic religion and native racial identity combined to create a religious resistance practice. Tisa Wenger, in We Have a Religion, documents how, in the early 20th century, this came to a head when Pueblos challenged restrictions on indigenous religious practices in the West. Tamar Frankiel shows how the West, in particular California, became a place of religious innovation in California’s Spiritual Frontiers, and Michael Engh demonstrates how Los Angeles became a city of great religious diversity due to its diverse immigration in Frontier Faiths. The West’s religious diversity is also covered in an excellent anthology, Race, Religion, Region, which looks at the variety of practices in the West in light of race diversity. Finally, one of the surprising religious changes in the West arose due to migration of whites from the South, relocating to the Southwest, particularly southern California, changing the metaphor of the religious distribution of Evangelicals, as Darren Dochuck titles his book, From Bible Belt to Sunbelt.

In all these examples, sectionalism is an important component in understanding the context and boundaries of the studies. While each focuses on specific religious and racial aspects, together, they form a foundation of understanding regarding the intertwined roles of race, religion, and sectionalism from the early conflicts of colonialism to the modern culture wars.

Primary Sources

As sectionalism recounts the divisions of sections and their conflicts, primary sources are often divided up by section, time period, or topic. As religion and race are integral topics, there are no archives that concentrate on these topics; instead they are integrated among the many primary documents available within collections. Many collections are found online. For instance, one excellent resource providing primary documents about the American South is the University of North Carolina’s Documenting the South project. Another great resource that focuses on African American History is the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture. The University of Maryland hosts the Freedmen & Southern Society Project, chronicling the process of emancipation.

Unlike the South, which often had a cohesive identity constructed in contrast to the others, the North was often understood as that which was not the South or the West. As such, it is difficult to find archives organized around “the North.” Instead, its documents are found throughout archives in general. Thus, to find documents relevant to northern sectionalism, one should look in general archives. Numerous primary sources about the Civil War can be found at the Civil War Trust, which has histories of important events in the Civil War and a large variety of Civil War Primary Sources. The US National Archives has a vast collection of primary source sets online that are organized by time period or topic. Sets include The Constitution—Tracing the Process of its Drafting and Adoption, Abraham Lincoln: Rise to National Prominence, The Civil War: The Nation Moves Towards War, 1850‒61, Civil War Music, Hispanic Exploration in America, American Immigration and its Challenges, Jim Crow and Segregation, Mexican American Migrations and Communities, and Westward Expansion: Encounters at a Cultural Crossroads. Similarly, Digital History, hosted by the University of Houston, has sections on Native Americans, the Colonial Era, American Revolution, Early National Period, pre‒Civil War, slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, and much more.

The collections of digital sources relating to the West are often broken up by states or regions within the West. For instance, Nebraska Studies has an excellent collection of documents, images, and other media that span from the 1500s to the present day. The Kansas Historical Society has a diverse collection of resources online as does the Online Archive of California. The Mountain West Digital Library covers Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and portions of Wyoming, billing itself as: a central search portal for digital collections about the Mountain West region.

So much primary material exists that relates to sectionalism, it is difficult to list. Nevertheless, the way that the archives are divided, the labels they are given, and the topical organization of exhibits and sections attests to the way that sectionalism is deeply rooted in the minds of Americans.

Further Reading

Botham, Fay, Sara M. Patterson, and Laurie Maffly-Kipp, eds. Race, Religion and Region: Landscapes of Encounter in the American West. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Bowden, Henry Warner. American Indians and Christian Missions: Studies in Cultural Conflict. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.Find this resource:

Dochuk, Darren. From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism. New York: W. W. Norton, 2011.Find this resource:

Engh, Michael E. Frontier Faiths: Church, Temple, and Synagogue in Los Angeles, 1846–1888. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1992.Find this resource:

Ferling, John. Leap in the Dark. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.Find this resource:

Frankiel, Tamar. California’s Spiritual Frontiers: Religious Alternatives in Anglo-Protestantism, 1850–1910. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.Find this resource:

Goen, C. C. Broken Churches, Broken Nation: Denominational Schisms and the Coming of the American Civil War. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1985.Find this resource:

Gutiérrez, Ramón A. When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500–1846. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991.Find this resource:

Hesseltine, William B. “Sectionalism and Regionalism in American History.” Journal of Southern History 26.1 (1960): 25–34.Find this resource:

León, Luis D. La Llorona’s Children: Religion, Life, and Death in the U.S‒Mexican Borderlands. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Maffly-Kipp, Laurie F. Religion and Society in Frontier California. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994.Find this resource:

Newell, Quincy D. Constructing Lives at Mission San Francisco: Native Californians and Hispanic Colonists, 1776–1821. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Reeve, W. Paul. Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Shipps, Jan. Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987.Find this resource:

Smoak, Gregory E. Ghost Dances and Identity: Prophetic Religion and American Indian Ethnogenesis in the Nineteenth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Snay, Mitchell. Gospel of Disunion: Religion and Separatism in the Antebellum South. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.Find this resource:

Tiedemann, Joseph S. “Interconnected Communities: The Middle Colonies on the Eve of the American Revolution.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 76.1 (2009): 1–41.Find this resource:

Turner, Frederick Jackson. “The Significance of Sections in American History.” Wisconsin Magazine of History 8.3 (1925): 255–280.Find this resource:

Turner, Frederick Jackson. The Significance of Sections in American History. New York: H. Holt, 1932.Find this resource:

Wenger, Tisa Joy. We Have a Religion: The 1920s Pueblo Indian Dance Controversy and American Religious Freedom. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Wilson, Charles Reagan. Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause 1865–1920. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1983.Find this resource:

Yohn, Susan M. A Contest of Faiths: Missionary Women and Pluralism in the American Southwest. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.Find this resource:


(1.) While the ideas of section influenced much of his writing, Turner first clearly articulated his ideas about sectionalism in 1925, published in an essay in the Wisconsin Magazine of History. After his death, this essay and others were collectively published under the same title. See Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Significance of Sections in American History,” Wisconsin Magazine of History 8.3 (1925): 255–280; and Frederick Jackson Turner, The Significance of Sections in American History (New York: H. Holt, 1932).

(2.) Howard W. Odum, “Regionalism vs. Sectionalism in the South’s Place in the National Economy,” Social Forces 12.3 (1934): 338–354.

(3.) John R. Vile, The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of America’s Founding, vol. 1 (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2005), 752.

(4.) Library of Congress, “Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session,” A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774–1875, August 15, 1789, sec. 758.

(5.) Patricia Seed, Ceremonies of Possession in Europe’s Conquest of the New World, 1492–1640 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 65.

(6.) John Ferling, Leap in the Dark (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 15.

(7.) Darold D. Wax, “‘The Great Risque We Run’: The Aftermath of Slave Rebellion at Stono, South Carolina, 1739‒1745,” Journal of Negro History 67.2 (1982): 137.

(8.) Robert V. Wells, “The Population of England’s Colonies in America: Old English or New Americans?,” Population Studies 46.1 (1992): 97.

(9.) Joseph S. Tiedemann, “Interconnected Communities: The Middle Colonies on the Eve of the American Revolution,” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 76.1 (2009): 2.

(10.) Jonathan D. Sarna, American Judaism: A History (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004), 42–43.

(11.) Barron v. Baltimore, 32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 243.

(12.) Michael McConnell, “Establishment and Disestablishment at the Founding, Part I: Establishment of Religion,” William & Mary Law Review 44.5 (April 1, 2003): 2105–2159.

(13.) C. C. Goen, Broken Churches, Broken Nation: Denominational Schisms and the Coming of the American Civil War (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1985), 6.

(15.) Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857).

(16.) Charles Reagan Wilson, Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause 1865–1920 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1983).

(17.) For instance, at a 1909 meeting of the American Historical Association, Turner responded to a number of papers that looked at sectionalism within states or small regions. The meeting review states, “Professor Turner of Wisconsin pointed out that often the political history of a minor division of America is misunderstood or deemed erratic because that division consists of diverse and balanced sections and has not been analyzed. Now that a fair number of studies of sections had been carried out, he urged the importance of correlating them and of thinking in terms of economic areas rather than of states.” “The Meeting of the American Historical Association at Washington and Richmond,” American Historical Review 14.3 (1909): 436–437.