Constitutional and Social Developments Between 1860 and 1877

Topics: Southern United States, United States Constitution, American Civil War Pages: 3 (1012 words) Published: January 30, 2008
Constitutional and social developments between 1860 and 1877 had a huge impact on American politics and life, resulting in a massive cultural, political, and social revolution. Added to these developments were continually changing goals and revolutionary ideas which helped furthered the revolutionary process. Such changes dramatically altered American lifestyles and trains of thought. As Senator Morrill said, "every substantial change in the fundamental constitution of a country is a revolution." Politics and states' rights, black suffrage, and civil rights issues all combined during this period of turmoil to create unrest and, eventually, a revolution, Civil War and Southern Reconstruction. Politics and states' rights were major issues that created hatred during the period of 1860 to 1877. Issues of concentrated power, interpretations of the constitution, state nullification, and currency issues all affected the American society. Americans argued over Constitution interpretation (loose or strict construction) and believed that the opposing view resulted in a concentration of power in the federal government. Many Southerners believed in delegated powers and sought to create a set of strong governments. Many Northern Unionists desired to strengthen and empower the federal government. Certain laws and taxes were created by the national government around 1860 that many Southern states objected to and wished to nullify. Unionists explained that the Constitution did not allow this. The first Southern state to secede (and eventually bring about the Civil War) namely South Carolina, believed certain taxes were being imposed and limited their delegated power. Unionists believed in preserving the Union and creating a strong, nationalistic, democratic society. They claimed that strong principles of states' rights, which may have weakened national authority and laws, had ruined the Union and could lead to financial and political ruin in the future. Currency...
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