State's Rights



States had always held a political power and the Federal government would have the final say when disagreements arose.

Sectionalism led Southern States to question the Federal government.

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10th Amendment

Passed in 1791.

Where no specific power had been granted to the Federal government, then the power laid with the individual state. 

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Southern Politician-John Calhoun

He argued that states were the ones to write the consitution, and that it should be within their rights to interpret it.

If the Federal government went beyong its consitutional powers, the states could leave the Union.

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The National government was weakened with the case of Dred Scott vs Sanford.

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Dred Scott

Was a slave who lived in a free state before returning to Missouri- entitled him as a free man but the Supreme Courts did not entitle him to US citizenship. 

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Futitive Slave Act forced free states to return escaped slaves to their owners- those asserted the authority that states had over one another.

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Murder Convictions of white Democrats who had killed Black Republicans were reversed. 

The 14th Amendment only applied to states and not individuals and outside the Federal government, individuals could act without fear of punishment against black citizens- left tothe states to prosecute these crimes.

Pro-slavery Southern states would not do this, protecting white attackers instead.

This fully undermined-1875, which gave black people equal rights in the public sphere.

And Southern states were free to roll out policies of segregation, this lasted into the second half of the 20th Century.

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