The Role of Federalism, Foreign Tariffs and the Western Territories:
The period before the American Civil war coincided with the evolution of the modern American federal court system, particularly with respect to the nature of the relationship and the respective authority of the federal government and sovereign state courts (Murrin 2006). Landmark Supreme Court cases had begun chipping away at the rights of states to decide issues related to slavery, but equally serious were the other threats imposed by federal authority on the economic independence of the southern states.
In general, the concept of political democracy and government by the people was embraced much more in the American North than in the South. Specifically, the southern (white) population was largely uneducated poor who owned no land of their own but worked for wealthy plantation owners from whom they leased small parcels of land. The political climate of the South resembled...
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