Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Eric Longley — "States' Rights: Do We have It All Wrong?"

The Confederate States of America were for "states' rights" when it benefited slavery, and for Federal jurisdiction when that benefited slavery.

Look beneath the surface, however. Consider that, prior to the election of Lincoln, the Presidency had been held by a succession of Southerners and “doughfaces” (Northern men with Southern principles-a derogatory term coined by a Southerner, John Randolph). The South also controlled the federal judiciary and (for much of the prewar period) had significant influence in Congress. As we shall see, the Southern-dominated federal government asserted its authority on behalf of slavery, at the expense of the “states’ rights” of Northern states which opposed slavery.