American System

By: Siddhi Patel


The American System is a plan to strengthen and unify the nation. In the simplest terms, the goal of the American System was to assist the United States in becoming self-sufficient economically, while spurring massive market growth throughout the nation. Most people hoped that this growth would eliminate regional boundaries and draw the country together. This plan was intended to allow the United States to grow and prosper.

Nationalism v. Sectionalism

Nationalism is a feeling of pride, loyalty, and protectiveness toward one's country. In contrast, Sectionalism is loyalty to the interests of one's region or section of the country, rather than a nation as a whole. Sectionalism may be dangerous for a country because it can lead to conflicts within the nations and eventually lead to the separation of a country. For example, the south cares about cotton and slaves, north cares about manufacturing and trade, and west wants cheaper land. This can lead to all three regions within the country to have many disagreements and it can eventually lead to a civil war.
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Key Components Of the American System

The American System ensured that America would be economically self-sufficient. The American System included the following:

  • A tariff encouraged Americans to buy cheaper products that are made in America. It also made U.S. money which was used to improve things in the country.
  • National Bank was established to promote a single currency, making trade easier and faster.
  • Roads and Canals were built to improve the transportation system in the country.

Henry Clay

Henry Clay was born on April 12, 1777, in Virginia. Belonging to the Jeffersonian- Republican party, Clay became interested in politics in Kentucky. He supported emancipation of slaves and voiced opposition to the Alien and Sedition Act. After he was elected a speaker of the House, Henry Clay was a prominent War Hawk, pushing for expansion and war with Britain. He also served as a peace commissioner in Ghent in the negotiations ending the War of 1812. Henry Clay is considered the architect of the "American System", the first government- sponsored attempt to invigorate the national economy.
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