One of the United States' problems was the issue of tariffs. This was one of the biggest sectional issues because the different regions of the United States were so different in commercial issues. For example, the south was really big in agriculture while the north was really big in manufacturing.
Originally all but one section of the US agreed with the tariff; the North because it was the manufacturing center, the South because they were planning on building up their own manufacturing using their own raw goods, and the North West because it helped out the farmers and small manufacturers. The only section that didn't support the tariffs was the South West. However, later on the South changed its mind because the planned growth of manufacturing didn't happen so instead of helping them all the tariff did was hurt them by raising prices. Congressmen traded votes with other congressmen similarly situated and thus created massive "support" for the tariffs.
When a new tariff was drafted by the House Committee on Manufacturers, the south was hopelessly out voted. The new tariff definitely was designed to protect northern manufacturers from foreign competitors, and it also helped the west's agricultural interests; but what about the south. The new tariff had nothing in it to help the south out. There was no way that the south could turn things around on their own. Vice President Calhoun warned the president that the new tariff would "impoverish" the south unless something was done to relieve them.
This was not to be the last issue that would separate the regions of the nation, but it should have taught the politicians of the day that they should balance the interests of all the regions when making laws. However, it did not. Hopefully our country has learned form it's...