The debate of states’ rights versus federal supremacy is one that affects America today and has since the country was founded. It started with the writing of the Constitution in 1787 and the formation of Federalists and Anti-Federalists, who had opposing views on the document. The two major arguments were that a strong central government would eventually become tyrannical, and that a strong central government was needed for the nation to move forward. Years of conflict between the two sides occurred, over what form of government was best and what rights should be given to the states and government. continuing until the end of the Civil War when the power of the Federal government was finally cemented. The Constitution was written in 1787, …show more content…
Different methods were used to decide if slavery would be legal in a territory, such as the Compromise of 1850 to balance the slave and free states, or the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 which implemented “popular sovereignty” and allowed people to vote on the issue of slavery themselves. However, proslavery Southerners found this to be unconstitutional. They believed outlawing slavery in any territory by the government couldn’t be done and it was a choice of the states to decide if it would be allowed or not. This disagreement between the southern states and the North contributed to the secession of the South. The 1860 South Carolina Declaration of Causes of Secession states, “The people of the State of South Carolina… declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union.” This shows what role states’ rights played in secession. The Civil War would later break out and bring the South back to the union after their loss, when the federal government would establish control once …show more content…
The writing of the Constitution, which the United States still operates under, was an important point in this dispute but did not end it. It was only the beginning, as the topic was sparked once more over slavery and territorial expansion. Because slavery wasn’t legal in the North and most people were loyal to the federal government, it wasn’t an issue. In the South, many people felt their way of life was threatened. Over the years the arguments turned into secession, where the Confederacy built their government to reflect their beliefs on slavery and wrote as much in their new Constitution. In the North, it was never referred to as a separate nation, showing the ultimate goal to reunite the union. This did happen when the South was defeated, slavery was officially outlawed in the United States, and powers were given back to the Federal Government as written in the US

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