World War II
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What is State's rights and what did it serve during, before, and after the Civil War?

I would love all the help and thanks a lot.
replied to:  blove
Replied to:  What is State's rights and what did it serve during, before,...
Appears to be a school assignment here. Why did you post in the World War II Forum?

Okay, before there was a country known as the United States of America, there was first the sovereign thirteen 'nations'⎯formerly the thirteen colonies of Great Britain⎯which joined together to form the United States of America. (Bear in mind the term sovereign: independent, autonomous, self-governing, self-determining; nonaligned, free.) In forming a new nation within the articles of the Constitution, these sovereign states put forth a set of rules for their common good. A means for them to act or abide in concert with each other. In effect they bestowed unto the federal (look it up) government powers that would be above the powers of the sovereign state. They were giving up some of their inherent powers.

The powers of the federal government are listed in the original seven articles. It was soon followed by the Ten Original Amendments: The Bill of Rights. It was presented to the states to for ratification join or not under these rules. The tenth amendment reads, " The powers not delegate to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." This amendment in effect said that if a right was not given to the Federal Government or prohibited by it, then it is a state right.

To continue further in answering your question, I must point out that your phrasing, "what did it serve...." is abstruse. Perhaps, you meant 'how' instead of 'what.' On that assumption I will continue.

Apparently, your concern with 'state rights' is centered on the Civil War. Prior to this conflict the Southern states, whose livelihood depended on agriculture provided by slave labor, were concerned that a northern alliance in congress would abolish slavery. Slaves were considered property and the Constitution considered property sacrosanct and thus protected. However, when Southern states saw that the political balance in congress and the office of the president would tilt against them, they also thought a state had the right to leave the membership of the United States. Secede.

The Union victory of the war settled the issue that a state did not have the right to leave the Union. The thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendment which soon followed freed the slaves and made them citizens with equal rights settled the issue about looking upon humans as property.

There are numerous events since the Civil War until the present day that have pitted the Federal Government rights against state rights. One of the most notable is Brown vs. The Board of Education in the 1950's. It begin the end of segregation. It was held by some states that they had a right to live separate from African-Americans as long as they allowed them the rights granted by the Constitution⎯'separate but equal.'

Today there are several issues yet to be resolved that will pit the state against the Federal Government. For instance, Arizona legislating its own immigration laws, and same sex marriage allowed in some states and denied in others.

There is so much that has happen in this arena that could be included in your part of the question, "....and after the Civil War?" that fills volumes of books. Suffice it to say the powers of the Federal Government grew and became dominant and the state powers were less than what they were before the Civil War.

Michael Power