Was Federalism Designed to Protect Slavery? [No. 86]
Articles,  Blog

Was Federalism Designed to Protect Slavery? [No. 86]


You know, of course, at the founding, there
were deep differences on a number of different dimensions, but none was deeper or more contentious
than that of slavery and if the Founders had not found a way to form a nation that accommodated
both sections’ views upon slavery, there wouldn’t have been a nation. In a sense, you could say that the federalism
that they adopted was the first step toward abolition, rather than just protecting slavery. It created a nation with the potential of
eventually abolishing slavery. All of the civil liberties issues connected
with slavery; slavery itself, but also freedom of speech and of press and of religion and
movement connected with opposition to slavery, showed that the state governments were more
dangerous, really, than the national government. And when you think about it, this is also
the theory that James Madison put forward in Federalist 10, uh in particular, in which
he argued that the extended union would be safer for individual liberty than individual
states. The reason for that being that states are
more likely to be homogeneous ah with respect to particular religions or interests or ideologies. The national government would be more diverse
and therefore less likely to align itself with any particular oppressive ideology. And the constitutional solution to that, after
a civil war and and made possible by the Civil War, was the adoption of amendments like,
most importantly, the 14th Amendment, which now make the national government the principal
protector for civil liberties, rather than the states. Although maybe the more accurate way to think
about it is that we have system in which both the national government and the state governments
both have a role in protecting ah civil liberties and the division of power, not only between
the three branches of the federal government, but also between the national government and
the 50 states. It exerts a pull away from the potential for
tyranny.

One Comment

  • Mister Sauga

    People that think that the us Constitution was first and foremost an instrument to protect slavery don't know wtf they talk about. There were some clauses designed to appease the South but the structure as a whole had little to do with it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *