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The Civil War is sometimes referred to as the Second American Revolution. This is a suitable description because of the tremendous impact it had on our economic, political, and social development. President Abraham Lincoln succeeded in keeping the United States intact during this transition where many men would have failed. The origins of this disruptive war can be found in the framing of the Constitution and the century old debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists over the issue of states’ rights.
The Founding Fathers of our society were, almost to the man, thoughtful, ambitious, well-educated and discursive people. To the Fathers it was clear, that government should be limited not only in the number of powers it exercised, but in the extent of territory it ruled. The small and local were preferable to the vast and national. If one state or local government should exceed its proper powers, citizens should be able to escape it without leaving the continent. In the 1798 Kentucky Resolutions, Thomas Jefferson said that thefederal government must never be allowed to become the final arbiter of the extent of its own powers.? He felt giving all the power back to the nation would inevitably bring the United States back to square one; that is what the Americans had been fighting against in the Revolutionary War.
Federalism as a philosophical concept is appealing in its natural sense of fairness and support between the states and a unifying, supervising government. However, it is not realistic when applied in the governing of a nation because of the fact that one of the elements, either the states or the central government, must assume the dominant role. There is a necessary triumph of the states or the national government. This struggle for the upper hand in government is what brought about the Civil War. The conflict was inevitable because of the Constitution, itself, and its confusing wording pertaining to the balance of pow…

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