Presentation on theme: " Dispute over tariffs fueled another burning issue which was under the federal system of government, what rights and powers belonged to the states? "— Presentation transcript:
Dispute over tariffs fueled another burning issue which was under the federal system of government, what rights and powers belonged to the states? The question of how much power the national government should have over states had been debated during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and everyone agreed that in ratifying the U.S. Constitution, the states delegated certain powers to the federal government. But did the states retain all powers not specifically granted to the new national government?
Americans differed greatly on this question and they also differed on whether states which had joined the federal union voluntarily could leave voluntarily. The belief that states are sovereign- that is subject to no higher power except powers specifically granted to the national government in the U.S. Constitution came to be known as states’ rights. The term became widely used in the 1800s and Georgia even had a political party in the 1830s known as the State Rights Party.
Southerners generally favored the doctrine of states’ rights but the view was less popular in the mountain regions of Georgia, Tennessee, and Carolinas. Some believed so strongly in states’ rights they argued states had the power of nullification, which is the right to determine if a law passed by Congress is constitutional or not. If a state believed that a federal law violated the U.S. Constitution, then it could declare such law “null and void” within the state.
In the North, there was much less support for states’ rights and most northern leaders opposed this theory of nullification arguing only the Supreme Court could declare a law unconstitutional. The strongest support for nullification came from South Carolina and there special convention of 1832 wen so far as to nullify the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 while at the same time discussing succession from the Union. Many Georgians wanted to join South Carolina, but found themselves in a difficult position because Pres. Andrew Jackson, who was popular in Georgia because of his removal of Indians, strongly opposed nullification.
Also many Georgians felt a strong desire to stay within the Union so Georgia backed away from the idea of nullification. Another states’ rights issue dividing the nation was a disagreement over the nature of the Union because many southern politicians believed that the U.S. Constitution was a compact among independent states. So, just as they joined the Union voluntarily they could leave whenever they chose to do, but northerners on the other hand argued the secession was illegal.
Another point of sectional conflict was the United States territories in the West. A territory was a frontier area that belonged to the United States but had not yet become a state. As the United States acquired vast areas of land, the North and South developed different ideas about the future of the new territories.
Who should settle there? How quickly would they be developed? Under what conditions would they be admitted to the Union? As states, would they up politically with the North or the South?
Generally, southerners favored distributing western lands as cheaply as possible because this way they could develop them quickly into large agricultural holdings like those in the South. Northerners preferred that the U.S. government sell the public lands at a good price in order to bring in revenue because some northern factory owners feared losing workers if the West were made too attractive to settlers.
Northerners favored the idea of developing the West which included building roads and canals at government expense while the southerners opposed such ideas because they did not want to be taced in any way to support the government doing that. As the West grew, its inhabitants developed their own sectional views even though settlers would come from both North and South. Views of the settlers were mixed with their main difference being the question of slavery.