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Civil War: Slavery vs. States' Rights

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Kochers - I love the state's rights argument as is is so comically self-serving...the article actually gave it much more due than was warranted to the issue. So what rights did the states fight to keep? The right to let the states decide if slavery is legal and the right not be taxed for goods made with slave labor..both issues are basically slavery rephrased.

 

Wiz - I don't even know what you mean!

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Kochers - I love the state's rights argument as is is so comically self-serving...the article actually gave it much more due than was warranted to the issue. So what rights did the states fight to keep? The right to let the states decide if slavery is legal and the right not be taxed for goods made with slave labor..both issues are basically slavery rephrased.

 

*Kajdav starts a chant

 

DE-BATE, DE-BATE, DE-BATE!

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Kochers - I love the state's rights argument as is is so comically self-serving...the article actually gave it much more due than was warranted to the issue. So what rights did the states fight to keep? The right to let the states decide if slavery is legal and the right not be taxed for goods made with slave labor..both issues are basically slavery rephrased.

 

"The constitution of the Confederacy was modeled after the US Constitution, but it provided a non-successive six-year term for the president and vice-president and presidential item veto. Its constitution denied the Confederate congress the powers to levy a protective tariff and to appropriate funds for internal improvements, but it did prohibit the foreign slave trade. President Jefferson Davis tried to increase his executive powers during the war, but southern governors resisted attempts at centralization, some holding back men and resources to protect their own states. At one point, Vice President Alexander H. Stephens, in defense of states's rights, even urged the secession of Georgia in response to the 'despotic' actions of the Confederate government." -US History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Exam. Page 268.

 

The two main causes of the Civil War were 1) Protection of slavery and 2) States' Rights - See slavery and economic issues at state level.

 

Now, let's look at Effects of the War:

1) Political

a. Power of the Federal government is supreme

b. Republicans will take control of Congress

c. 13th Amendment

 

-Source: Kocher's AP notes titled "All You Need to Know About the Civil War part II"

 

 

Was slavery the primary issue? Yes. But the entire state's rights argument, while used primarily to support the slavery position, is still relevant. Before the Civil War, the US was referred to as a "Union" of states. Afterwards, it was spoken of as a country, because it had obviously been demonstrated that once states joined the country, they could not succeed.

 

The states' rights argument is often times used when a state disagrees with the federal position. "You don't have the Constitutional ability to mandate this" etc. Personally, I concur with the states' rights argument, often times because I believe the intent of the Founding Fathers was to create a nation where the government had limited powers, in contrast to the British Empire from which they came out from. In the instance of slavery, though, I believe that the actions of the Union were necessary. Slavery is too controversial an issue to be decided at the state level, for that time period and the situation surrounding it "Bleeding Kansas, the Dred Scott decision, etc."

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Talk about a debate...does this need to go into the Debating Society?

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Man, do you know how many decades it had been since I was in class! I'll have to rely of the good old Wikipedia to point me to the best response.

 

Pulitzer Prize winning historian James McPherson writes in "This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War" concerning states' rights and other non-slavery explanations:

 

While one or more of these interpretations remain popular among the Sons of Confederate Veterans and other Southern heritage groups, few professional historians now subscribe to them. Of all these interpretations, the state's rights argument is perhaps the weakest. It fails to ask the question, state's rights for what purpose? State's rights, or sovereignty, was always more a means than an end, an instrument to achieve a certain goal more than a principle.

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Wiz - My suggestion is instead of moving this thread to the Debating Society, lock it as it is PI VII's mea culpa, separate from the ensuing discussion. Further debate will be in an appropriate forum.

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