The impact of states rights during the Reconstruction Era of the US.

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The issue of states rights is one that has been quarreled over since the birth of the United States. In 1787, debates arose on whether to ratify the Constitution, which would create a more supreme federal government, or to keep the Articles of Confederation, in which states had many more rights and powers (Batchelor 7-14). Shortly after the Constitution was ratified, Kentucky and Virginia wanted to nullify a federal law that they didn't agree with, but the Supreme Court established that the right to nullify a law didn't rest with the states (22-24). From 1819 to 1854, slavery as a states right was profoundly argued when deciding if the new states that entered the Union were to be slave states or free states (27-32). Tensions mounted between the North and the South, and after the election of 1860, the Civil War broke out (36). The South thought that the states had the right to secede from the US, but after they lost the war, they were proven wrong (38).

After the Civil War, the South faced devastating losses (Hakim 12). Reconstruction, the period of time in which the people of the South tried to reorganize and rebuild the region, began in 1865 (14). In order to restore the Union and to resolve all problems that had still existed, Congress passed laws, acts, and proposed amendments. Many of these pertained to slavery and states rights. The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 firmly established equal rights for all. The Fourteenth Amendment enforced the Civil Rights Act even more by granting citizenship to blacks (Roberts and Franklin 267). Furthermore, the Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed black suffrage (Roberts and Franklin 268). All of these amendments limited the rights of the states, and are evidence of the battle between federal...