The Question of State's Rights and The U. S. Consitution: American Federalism Considered
Their system of government was described in the Articles of Confederation. In this It gave power to both the Federal Government and the state governments. Manage foreign relations; Oversee trade between states and with other countries. Unlike the current Constitution, all thirteen states had to approve the Under the Articles of Confederation, the power of the national government was in establishing the Federal Court of Appeals to resolve prize cases. Article IV of the US Constitution establishes the responsibilities of the states to each other and the responsibilities of the federal government toward the states.
A disagreement over the appointment of taxes forecast the division over slavery in the Constitutional Convention. With large numbers of slaves, the southern states opposed this requirement, arguing that taxes should be based on the number of white inhabitants. In the middle of the war, Congress had little time and less desire to take action on such matters as the slave trade and fugitive slaves, both issues receiving much attention in the Constitutional Convention.
Articles of Confederation - HISTORY
Its revenue would come from the states, each contributing according to the value of privately owned land within its borders. But Congress would exercise considerable powers: Decisions on certain specified matters—making war, entering treaties, regulating coinage, for example—required the assent of nine states in Congress, and all others required a majority. Although the states remained sovereign and independent, no state was to impose restrictions on the trade or the movement of citizens of another state not imposed on its own.
Movement across state lines was not to be restricted.
To amend the Articles the legislatures of all thirteen states would have to agree. This provision, like many in the Articles, indicated that powerful provincial loyalties—and suspicions of central authority—persisted. In the s—the so-called Critical Period—state actions powerfully affected politics and economic life. For the most part, business prospered and the economy grew. Expansion into the West proceeded and population increased.
National problems persisted, however, as American merchants were barred from the British West Indies and the British army continued to hold posts in the Old Northwest, American territory under the Treaty of Paris. The legislature of Georgia was so angered by the Court's decision that it passed a resolution declaring that anyone who tried to enforce it would be "hanged without the benefit of clergy.
Articles of Confederation
The 11th Amendment has been more broadly interpreted later on to prohibit suits against states for damages in federal court even by the state's own citizens. The cause of the rights of states had its champions in the first decades of the nineteenth century, including Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, among many others. So did the cause of building a strong national government, with its champions including John Adams and the chief justice he appointed, John Marshall.
Chief Justice Marshall's views were reflected in several important Court decisions broadly interpreting the powers of Congress under the "Necessary and Proper Clause" McCulloch v Marylandupholding the power of Congress to create a national bank and Gibbons v Ogdenand upholding the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause to regulate steamboat traffic between the states.
The Civil War, of course, was fought over the question of whether states should have the right to protect the institution of slavery. After that war, the ratification of the 14th Amendment imposed important restrictions on the rights of states to regulate the lives of persons within its jurisdiction.
The relationship between the states and the federal government
During the course of the twentieth and on into the twenty-first centuries, the Court turned again and again to the 14th Amendment largely through its doctrine that applied--or "incorporated"--the Bill of Rights to the states to overturn state laws restricting the rights of speakers, criminal defendants, private property owners, gun owners, members of racial and ethnic minorities, and others.
The Court has found in the Constitution other limitations on states as well. Most significantly, it has interpreted the Commerce Clause not just to be a positive grant of power to Congress, but also to be a limitation on the power of states to regulate interstate commerce in particularly burdensome ways.
The cause of states' rights has risen and fallen over the years. Generally, in eras of conservative Courts states have been given wide latitude to exercise their choices see Dred Scott v Sandford, for an extreme example.
Recently, the Court has recognized limits on the powers of Congress under the Commerce Clause, given fresh meaning to the 10th Amendment, and expanded the doctrine of state sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment.
Typically today, cases that pit the rights of states against the power of the federal government will be decided by a closely divided Supreme Court.