Civil War Legality

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The United States legal system experienced immense change caused by the Civil War. The main causes of the war included the obvious issue of slavery, but also that off states rights and brought to question exactly how much power the federal government had. Despite the obvious moral reasons for removing slavery, the process to do so faced issues in regards to legality. The legality of slavery was discussed throughout various issues including property, state, and of course human rights. The institution of slavery violated the due process rights to life and liberty of the enslaved, however the removal of the institution of slavery violated the due process rights pertaining to the property of the slave owners. The issue regarding the strength of…show more content…
In President Lincoln’s proposals, slave owners would have been given a fair market price for their slaves. As dehumanizing as this may be, it is argued that a slave purchased in the eighteen hundreds cost about as much as a car would today. As the cost of a car would vary so would that of a slave. Not only were slaves expensive but they were also the sole source of profit for slaveholders. Lincolns proposition of compensation would have ideally helped to stimulate the southern economy and potentially develop and modernize the South. The South at the time depended primarily on agriculture however; this only financially benefitted the planter class, while leaving the white lower class citizens rather poor. The prevalence of white superiority in the southern states helped to ensure the support of slavery from poor white southerners. As the North progressed in terms of economy and industry, along with the acceptance of diversity, the South kept with their traditional agrarian state and an overwhelming sense of racism (McPherson, 28). The offer of emancipated compensation was never accepted by the southern states prior to or during the Civil War despite its potential benefits. The southern economy remained dependent on slaves as their main source of labor and income. The…show more content…
This also relates to the idea of southern states rejecting progression and modernization and seeking to keep a traditional society. An example of states exercising their rights is The South Carolina Ordinance of Nullification, enacted in 1832, which abolished tariffs on slavery put in place by the federal government. It was argued that the federal government was acting unconstitutionally despite significantly lowering the tariffs, and that “states could nullify federal law” (Hall, 246). This then led to the ordinance of nullification (Hall,
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